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Washington is Pushing Inclusion, Becoming Seventh State to Require LGBT+ Curriculum in Schools

News & Opinion

Washington approves LGBT curriculum in schools
Source: DepositPhotos.com

Washington recently enacted legislation mandating the integration of LGBTQ+-inclusive content into public school curriculum, joining six other states in this endeavor. Oregon, California, Colorado, Illinois, New Jersey, passed similar legislation with Nevada being the last to do so in 2021.


Governor Jay Inslee signed Senate Bill 5462 on March 18, requiring Washington school districts to incorporate the histories, contributions, and perspectives of LGBTQ+ individuals. 



Although the state's educational standards previously covered some marginalized groups, such as Indigenous and enslaved people, explicit inclusion of LGBTQ+ history was lacking. This move was praised by Senator Marko Liias as fostering better academic outcomes and overall well-being.


“When students feel a connection to what they’re learning, they do better”, the Democratic Sen. said to PBS. "That's really the spirit of the bill."


Democratic Sen. Marko Liias -- via X


This legislative action combats opposing national trends, as other states have either mandated LGBTQ+ inclusion or enacted measures censoring such discussions in classrooms. Currently Iowa, Arkansas, Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Alabama and Florida have passed legislation dubbed “Don’t Say Gay” laws — bills that censor discussion of LGBTQ+ topics in the classroom.


Additionally, Montana, Arizona, Tennessee, Arkansas, and Florida have passed laws that require schools to notify parents about any LGBTQ+ curriculum in advance, and gives them the option to opt their children out from said discussions. Much of these legislations passed in recent years are spearheaded by Republican officials.


According the American Civil Liberties Union, in 2023, 75 anti-LGBT bills were passed into law; many of them targeting gender affirming care for transgender youth. 


Source: DepositPhotos.com



Issaquah school district physics teacher Kristie Bennett feels that the new law will provide a sense of reassurance for teachers when addressing LGBT+ subjects, considering the immense amount of controversy that surrounds the topic.


"Even in a progressive state like Washington with a history of trailblazing LGBTQ+ rights, anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric in the media makes its way to educators, who worry that teaching about these topics might somehow get them in trouble", Bennett said to PBS.


“This is a way of reassuring educators that this is in line with what Washington state values."


By October 1, 2025, schools must implement inclusive curricula to ensure students see themselves reflected in their studies—- especially those LGBT+ identifying.




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