As of 2021, nine states in the US require some form of LGBT education in their public schools. This is a significant increase from just a few years ago, and it shows that the fight for equality is making progress. However, there is still a long way to go. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at the states that require LGBT education and what the requirements are.
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As of 2021, only two states in the US – California and Illinois – have laws mandating that public schools include LGBT-inclusive education in their social science curricula. While a handful of other states have made progress towards implementing similar legislation, the majority of US states do not currently require LGBT-inclusive education in public schools.
This lack of state-level mandates leaves it up to individual school districts to decide whether or not to include LGBT-related content in their social science curricula. As a result, the level of inclusion and visibility of LGBT people in public school education varies widely across the country.
There is growing evidence that LGBT-inclusive education can have a positive impact on the health and well-being of LGBT youth. Inclusivity has been linked with decreased rates of bullying and harassment, increased self-esteem, and improved academic performance.
Despite these benefits, many school districts remain reluctant to implement LGBT-inclusive curricula due to concerns about backlash from parents and community members. In some cases, opponents of inclusive education have succeeded in blocking or reversing progress that has been made.
The current landscape of LGBT-inclusive education in the US is complex and ever-changing. Here is a brief overview of the status of inclusive education in each state as of 2021:
What is LGBT Education?
LGBT Education is the teaching of history, people, and events related to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer community in an effort to promote understanding, inclusivity, and respect. It is also sometimes referred to as “LGBT-inclusive education” or “LGBT-affirming education.”
In recent years, there has been a growing movement to include LGBT-inclusive content in K-12 curriculum. A number of states have passed laws or developed policies mandating that such content be included in teacher training and/or student curriculum. As of 2021, the following states have some form of requirement for LGBT Education:
-Vermont Washington DC West Virginia
History of LGBT Education
In the United States, LGBT history in schools first began to be taught in the early 1990s, when a few brave educators started teaching about LGBT people and issues in their classrooms. This was often done without the support of their school districts or state governments, and often resulted in the educators being targeted by conservative groups.
In the 2000s, a number of school districts and states began to put policies in place that allowed for LGBT-inclusive curricula to be taught in schools. This was often done in response to anti-LGBT bullying and harassment, which was becoming increasingly prevalent in schools across the country.
Today, there are a number of states that have adopted policies requiring LGBT-inclusive education in schools. These states are: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington. In addition, a number of school districts across the country have also adopted policies requiring LGBT-inclusive education.
Current State of LGBT Education
As of 2021, only California, Colorado, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington require public schools to teach LGBT-inclusive history. These laws are a direct response to the “No Promo Homo” law that was passed in many states in the 1990s. This law essentially banned any positive representation of LGBT people in schools.
Since the 1990s, there has been a significant shift in public opinion on LGBT rights. A majority of Americans now support same-sex marriage and protections for transgender people. In light of this change, many states have passed laws that require public schools to teach LGBT-inclusive history.
The current state of LGBT education is a direct response to the “No Promo Homo” law that was passed in many states in the 1990s. This law essentially banned any positive representation of LGBT people in schools. The purpose of these new laws is to ensure that all students have an accurate portrayal of history and to make sure that LGBT students feel included and supported in their schools.
As of 2021, California is the only state in the U.S. that requires public schools to teach LGBT history. The law, which went into effect in January, mandates that social science classes include lessons on the historical contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The move was praised by gay rights advocates as a way to promote inclusivity and combat discrimination, but some conservatives argue that it is inappropriate for schools to discuss sensitive topics like sexuality.
In 2021, Colorado will become the first state in the nation to require public schools to include LGBT-inclusive education in their curriculum. The move is a victory for advocates who have long fought for such inclusive education policies, and it comes as a growing number of states are embracing similar measures.
The Colorado LGBTQ Commission, which was created by the state legislature in 2019, recommended the new policy after conducting a year-long study on the needs of LGBT youth in the state. The commission found that nearly two-thirds of LGBT students in Colorado feel unsafe at school, and that inclusive education can help reduce bullying anddiscrimination against LGBT students.
The new policy will require all public schools in Colorado to include LGBT-inclusive education in their curriculum, starting in the 2020-2021 school year. The policy will also create an LGBT equity task force to oversee implementation of the new policy and make recommendations for further improvements.
In Connecticut, the state Department of Education released guidance in 2019 recommending that all schools include LGBT-inclusive content in their curriculum. The guidance is not mandatory, but many school districts have chosen to adopt it.
In Delaware, Gov. John Carney (D) signed House Bill 75 into law in May 2019, making Delaware the first state to require that public schools teach LGBT history. The legislation directs the state Department of Education to develop curriculum standards by July 1, 2020, that include the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The department must also provide resources to districts to help them implement the standards.
Hawaii is one of the most welcoming states in the nation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) people. In 2010, Hawaii became the sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage. And in 2015, the state legislature passed a law adding gender identity and expression to the list of protected classes under the state’s anti-discrimination laws.
As of 2021, Hawaii is one of only 17 states that have laws or policies requiring public schools to teach LGBT-inclusive content. These laws vary from state to state, but in general, they require that schools teach about the history and contributions of LGBT people, as well as provide resources and support for LGBT students.
Hawaii’s law is unique in that it specifically requires public schools to “integrate positive representations of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning individuals into existing curricula.” The law also requires the Hawaii Department of Education to develop model lessons and curriculum materials that can be used by schools statewide.
Since the law went into effect in July 2016, Hawaii’s public schools have been working to implement LGBT-inclusive content into their existing curriculum. In 2017, the Department of Education released a list of recommended resources for teachers. And in 2018, the department released a set of model lessons on LGBT history and culture.
The implementation of these laws has not been without controversy. Some parents and community members have claimed that teaching LGBT-inclusive content is “indoctrination” and have called for opt-out policies. But educators and advocates say that such claims are unfounded and that providing accurate information about the LGBT community is crucial to ensuring equality and respect for all students.
In May 2019, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed into law Senate Bill 35, which requires all public schools in the state to teach about the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Illinois history as part of the existing social science curriculum. The law went into effect in July 2020 and applies to grades six through 12.
In 2021, Massachusetts joined a growing number of states that require public schools to include LGBT-inclusive content in their curriculum. The new law, which went into effect on January 1st, requires all public schools to teach about the “historical, social, and cultural contributions” of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.
The mandate applies to all public schools in the state, including charter and magnet schools. It also requires that educators receive training on how to support LGBT students.
The law was passed in 2020 with bipartisan support in the state legislature. It is based on recommendations from a task force that was created to study LGBT inclusion in Massachusetts public schools.
This is a major victory for advocates who have been working for years to make Massachusetts schools more inclusive for all students. It will help ensure that young people in the state learn about the important contributions of LGBT people throughout history.
Nevada is one of the few states that have added LGBT history to their social studies curriculum. The state’s Board of Education voted unanimously in 2016 to include the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in social studies classes. The new rule went into effect in the 2017-2018 school year.
New Jersey is one of the states that require LGBT education in 2021. This means that schools in New Jersey must provide information about the LGBT community to students in an effort to promote understanding and acceptance. The state’s Department of Education has specifically said that “all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, deserve a safe and supportive learning environment.”
As of February 2021, New Mexico is the only state that requires schools to provide instruction on LGBT history, according to Education Week. The state’s 2011 ” Fairness in School Act ” requires public schools to include LGBT-inclusive content in their social studies curriculum. The law also prohibits discrimination against students based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.
In 2021, New York will require schools to include information about LGBT history in their social studies curriculum. This policy affects all public schools in the state, including charter and private schools that receive state funding. The LGBT history curriculum will be required for students in grades K-12.
The new requirement is part of a larger effort by the state to ensure that all students have access to a well-rounded education that includes diverse perspectives. In addition to LGBT history, the state’s social studies curriculum will also include information about the histories and experiences of other traditionally marginalized groups, such as people of color and immigrants.
Oregon was the first state to require LGBT-inclusive education in all public schools, starting in 2017. The state’s Department of Education released guidelines in 2020 recommending that schools include gender identity, sexual orientation, and expression in their curriculum. Schools are also encouraged to support students who may be questioning their own identity or who identify as LGBT.
In Rhode Island, schools are required to teach about the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in society as part of the state’s Health Education curriculum. The state’s “diversity” education law, passed in 2000, requires that public schools include “the role and contributions of all cultures and races” in their curricula.
In Vermont, all public schools must provide “comprehensive” sex education that is medically accurate, age-appropriate, and includes information on both abstinence and contraception. The state’s guidance specifically includes LGBTQ+ youth in its definition of “medically accurate,” meaning that queer students must receive inclusive sex ed.
In 2021, the state of Washington requires that all public schools provide education on sexual orientation and gender identity in an age-appropriate manner. This law applies to kindergarten through 12th grade, and includes both curricular and extracurricular activities. Washington is one of only a handful of states with this type of comprehensive requirement; other states with similar laws include California, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, and Oregon.
In 2021, Wisconsin will require public schools to teach LGBT history. The state’s new social studies standards, which were released in December 2020, include lessons on the contributions of LGBT people throughout American history. Wisconsin is the first state to mandate such instruction, though a number of districts across the country have already implemented it on their own.
Other states are considering similar measures. In December 2020, California’s State Board of Education approved a plan to include LGBT-inclusive content in its public school curriculum. The board said the move was intended to create “a more inclusive and accurate representation of the diversity of California.”
In 2019, Colorado passed a law requiring public schools to teach about the contributions of people from a range of underrepresented groups, including LGBT people. And in 2017, Oregon updated its social studies standards to include LGBT history.
The push for more inclusive curricula comes as a growing number of Americans say they believe same-sex relationships should be accepted by society. A 2019 Pew Research Center survey found that 67% of U.S. adults say homosexuality should be accepted by society, up from just 55% in 2015.
As of 2021, 14 states and the District of Columbia have adopted curriculum laws or guidelines that require the inclusion of LGBT history or history of people with disabilities in public schools. While this is progress, it still leaves a large majority of states without any sort of inclusive education requirement.
There is a clear need for more states to adopt inclusive education laws and guidelines. Parents, teachers, and administrators should continue to advocate for these policies at the state level. In the meantime, students and educators can take matters into their own hands by creating inclusive environments in their schools and supporting LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum initiatives.