Massachusetts is becoming the latest place in the United States to offer LGBTQ-inclusive education at their schools.
The Massachusetts Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ Students and the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth teamed up to write a new curriculum. They’re releasing it this summer for schools to adopt in the fall.
Schools don’t have to adopt the curriculum; all decisions like that are made at the local level. However, it will be a resource and advocates hope teachers will take advantage.
According to reports, Boston high schools will be the first to try out the new lessons. The Boston Teachers Union is already working with teachers on this, and also how best to help students coming out or struggling with their sexuality.
What will students learn?
The lessons include LGBTQ history, including the Stonewall Riots of 1969.
They also features queer writers, such as Langston Hughes and Willa Cather. One example of making literature more inclusive includes The Great Gatsby and Nick Carraway’s love for Jay Gatsby.
‘Students need to see themselves reflected and see others who are different from themselves,’ said Jeff Perrotti, director of the Massachusetts Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ Students.
Commission director Corey Prachniak-Rincon added: ‘It is a huge demand we hear from teachers. They recognize part of the reason why LGBTQ students feel excluded is they’re not reflected and that part of their identity is ignored.’
According to a 2015 survey, 11% of Massachusetts high school students identify as LGBQ. Another 2.9% identified as transgender.
One teacher in the state, Kristin Comment, said this inclusion has an impact.
‘Students have come back after they graduated and they’ll tell me how important it was that I was out or that we talked about how Walt Whitman was gay.’
H/t: Boston Herald