LGBTQI+ and Women’s History Education Act introduced in Congress

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The United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Image by MotionStudios from Pixabay)

U.S. Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.) and Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) introduced the LGBTQI+ and Women’s History Education Act in the House of Representatives on Thursday, July 21. 

In a statement, Maloney said the bill would authorize the Director of the Smithsonian National Museum of American History to develop and disseminate resources for classrooms to teach LGBTQ and women’s history education in an inclusive and intersectional manner.

The bill was introduced in response to a spate of bills that limit discussion of LGBTQ issues in classrooms, with Florida’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill being the most high profile. Illinois has had an inclusive curriculum law since 2019.

“Make no mistake – LGBTQI+ youth are under attack by Republican legislators across the country,” said Maloney 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.” 

“As Republican legislatures across the country attempt to silence the history and stories of LGBTQ families, we must act to proactively educate American youth,” Torres said in the statement.

The bill is co-sponsored by Illinois representatives Danny Davis (D-Chicago), Jesús G. “Chuy” García (D-Chicago), Marie Newman (D-LaGrange), and Jan Schakowsky (D-Evanston).

“All children should be able to see themselves and their families reflected and represented in media, and in what they read and learn in school,” said GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. “Women’s history, LGBTQ history and the heroes who have led our movements inspire all generations about the progress we’ve achieved and the work still to be done.”

“By introducing this bill, the members of the House of Representatives recognize the importance of ensuring the lives and experiences of women and LGBTQI+ are not ignored in the study of history,” said Olivia Hunt, policy director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “What’s past is prologue, and today’s girls and LGBTQI+ youth deserve to see themselves fairly and accurately represented in history so that they can better see a place for themselves in contemporary American society, and in the future that they’ll be building.”

“The LGBTQI+ and Women’s History Education Act of 2022 is a brilliant initiative to uplift that important history and to effectively address efforts in some states to remove from curriculum any mention of race, gender or LGBTQ+ communities,” said National Organization for Women President Christian F. Nunes. “The Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will carry forward this honest and long overdue recognition of important contributions by America’s diverse individuals and communities.”

Full text of the bill can be found here.

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