Scroll To Top

Democrats Introduce Bill to Support LGBTQ & Women’s History in Schools

Democrats Introduce Bill to Support LGBTQ & Women’s History in Schools

Torres and Balint

The bill comes at a time when Republicans are trying to erase and rewrite certain histories.

Several Democratic Congress members have filed a bill to support LGBTQ+ and women’s history in education.

The bill, the LGBTQI+ and Women’s History Education Act of 2023,authorizes the National Museum of American History of the Smithsonian Institution to develop and distribute classroom resources for educators to enhance inclusion and intersectionality in teaching queer and women’s history. The legislation currently has 20 cosponsors in the House of Representatives and the support of more than 50 organizations.

It comes at a time when Republican-led legislatures are seeking to rewrite or erase history in many cases, critics say.

For example, in Florida, Gov. Ron DeSantis has enacted several "don't say gay" proposals that ban teaching anything related to sexual orientation or gender identity throughout a Floridian student’s entire public education. He has also barred teaching an AP African American Studies course because it was too “woke” for him.

“If we do not learn from history, we are doomed to repeat it,” said gay U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres of New York, the bill’s author. “Children today must be provided the opportunity to learn about the incredible contributions and significant impacts of so many heroic trailblazers in the LGBTQI+ and women’s movements.”

He continued, “This is especially true at a time when extreme politicians are working overtime to ban books, silence our voices, and censor our history.”

Vermont’s Rep. Becca Balint, a cosponsor of the bill, echoed Torres’ sentiment and expressed the importance of the legislation.

“Students’ right to an education is facing continued efforts to silence the history and stories of women and LGBTQI+ people. In legislatures across the U.S., book and curriculum bans are erasing trailblazing historical figures and events and preventing students from getting a full and well-rounded education,” Balint said. “As a parent and former teacher, I know the importance of education to the health of our communities and democracy. We cannot support the next generation of responsible citizens without understanding the contributions of women and LGBTQI+ people.”

LGBTQ+ rights groups have welcomed the legislation.

“Today, U.S. Representatives Becca Balint and Ritchie Torres reintroduced the LGBTQI+ and Women’s History Education Act, which would direct and provide funding to the Smithsonian to create high-quality resources and programming for educators on the histories of LGBTQI+ communities and women using an intersectional approach,” Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, executive director of GLSEN, said. “Research shows that LGBTQI+ youth who attend schools with inclusive curriculum have higher GPAs, a greater sense of belonging, and are more likely to pursue post-secondary education.”

Director of justice for student survivors at the National Women’s Law Center, Shiwali Patel, also lauded the bill’s introduction. Patel said that allowing students to learn about others is "critical" given the current political landscape and that the proposal will allow for an intersectional approach to history covering LGBTQ+ people and women.

“Inclusive learning environments are proven to be important for student learning and development and for supporting positive school climates, especially for LGBTQI+ students,” Patel said. “Ensuring that all students see themselves in school curriculum and are able to learn about others is especially critical right now given the ongoing attacks on curriculum and books that teach history, and about race and the LGBTQI+ community.”

The American Civil Liberties Union is tracking at least 228 bills nationwide targeting the LGBTQ+ community in schools, including bills preventing discussion of queer and trans identities, bathroom restrictions, and bans on transgender girls’ participation on sports teams.

Advocate Magazine - Gio BenitezAdvocate Channel Promotion

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories