Washington Is Now the Seventh State to Require LGBTQ+-Inclusive Curricula In Schools

Washington has passed a law that will push public schools to adopt LGBTQ+-inclusive curricula, making it the seventh state to mandate the inclusion of LGBTQ+ topics in school materials.

Governor Jay Isnlee signed Senate Bill 5462 into law on March 18. Under the law, Washington school districts will be required to adopt curricula that include the “histories, contributions, and perspectives” of marginalized groups, including people of color, disabled people, and LGBTQ+ people.

While Washington state learning standards already required the perspectives of some marginalized groups, such as Indigenous people and enslaved people, they did not explicitly require teaching LGBTQ+ history, according to the Seattle Times. Schools will be required to implement inclusive curricula by October 1, 2025.

In a statement to the Seattle Times, Senator Marko Liias, who sponsored the bill, said, “The contributions of gay Washingtonians deserve recognition, and just as importantly, students deserve to see themselves in their schoolwork.”

“That leads to better attendance, better academic achievement and better overall quality of life, ensuring success for all our students,” he added.

According to GLSEN’s 2021 National School Climate Survey, queer and trans students reported feeling safer and experiencing less harassment in schools where LGBTQ+-inclusive curricula were taught. Only 16.3% of LGBTQ+ students reported seeing positive representations of queer and trans people in their classes, however. 14.4% of respondents said they had been taught negative content about LGBTQ+ topics.

Washington is the seventh state — after Oregon, California, Nevada, Colorado, Illinois, and New Jersey — to pass a law that requires LGBTQ+ inclusion in curricular standards, according to the Movement Advancement Project. However, seven states — Iowa, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Alabama and Florida — have also passed so-called “Don’t Say Gay” laws that censor discussion of LGBTQ+ topics in the classroom, though Iowa’s law has been temporarily blocked. Five states — Montana, Arizona, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Florida — have passed laws that require schools to notify parents about any LGBTQ+ curricula in advance, and gives them the option to opt their children out.

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