Politics

Democrats introduce bill to fund LGBTQ & women’s history lessons

rainbow fist in front of capitol
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Several Democratic House members have introduced a bill that would help with education about LGBTQ and women’s history in schools.

Representatives Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Ritchie Torres (D-NY) have introduced the LGBTQI+ and Women’s History Education Act, which would allow the director of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History to develop educational resources around LGBTQ and women’s history that are “accurate, relevant, and accessible.”

The bill would also appropriate $2 million to fund the creation of the educational resources.

Maloney and Torres cited Florida’s Don’t Say Gay law as part of the reason they introduced their bill. The Don’t Say Gay law bans teachers from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity in younger grades and restricts those discussions in older grades. The law has already led to schools ending anti-bullying programs and telling gay teachers to hide pictures of their same-sex spouses.

“Make no mistake – LGBTQI+ youth are under attack by Republican legislators across the country,” Maloney said in a statement. “Earlier this month, 10 anti-LGBTQI laws went into effect that target students, including Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay or Trans’ bill. This is unacceptable and will be detrimental to the mental health of LGBTQI+ youth, which is why I introduced the LGBTQI+ and Women’s History Education Act.”

“Children in classrooms across the US should not be deprived of the opportunity to learn about the heroism displayed by many in the LGBTQ and women’s movements,” Torres, who is gay, said. “As Republican legislatures across the country attempt to silence the history and stories of LGBTQ families, we must act to proactively educate American youth.”

The bill has 54 Democratic co-sponsors already, including several of the out members of Congress.

“Education is the cornerstone of a multi-racial democracy, and learning about LGBTQIA+ and women’s history is necessary to understanding U.S. history,” Melanie Willingham-Jaggers, the executive director of GLSEN, said in a statement.

“Through our research, we know inclusive curriculum cultivates safer and more supportive school environments where students hear fewer racial, transphobic, and homophobic slurs and other denigrating language; experience fewer incidents of bullying and harassment; and have a greater sense of belonging and wellbeing that allows them to thrive and reach their full potential.”

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