Introduction to State LGBT History Education Laws

In 2011, California became the first U.S. state to mandate the teaching of LGBT history in public schools. Six other states--New Jersey, Oregon, and Colorado in 2019; Illinois in 2020; Nevada in 2021; and Washington in 2024--subsequently adopted similar laws. In 2021, Connecticut passed a law mandating the development of a model LGBTQ studies curriculum that local and regional school districts have the option to adopt. These and related state laws commonly promote the inclusion of other under-represented groups, including racial, ethnic, religious, and indigenous minorities; people with disabilities; immigrants; and women, in primary and secondary school social studies and history classes. While some states currently ban and restrict LGBT history education and/or all references to gender and sexuality in public school instruction, these seven states provide models that other states can use in supporting LGBT history education.

For more on these laws, see:

Don Romesburg, "When Historians Help Make History: California's Groundbreaking New K-12 Framework," Perspectives on History, Oct. 2016.

Don Romesburg, Leila J. Rupp, and David M. Donahue, eds., "Making the Framework Fair: California's History-Social Science Framework Proposed LGBT Revisions Related to the Fair Education Act," Committee on LGBT History, 2014.

Don Romesburg, "There's No T in Fair?: Implementing a Trans-Inclusive K-12 History Law," Transgender Studies Quarterly 2, no. 3 (2015): 488-494.

Shannon D. Snapp, Jenifer K. McGuire, Katarina O. Sinclair, Karlee Gabrion, and Stephen T. Russell, "LGBTQ-inclusive Curricula: Why Supportive Curricula Matter," Sex Education 15, no. 6 (2015), 580-596.

Shannon D. Snapp, Hilary Burdge, Adela C. Licona, Raymond L. Moody, and Stephen T. Russell, "Students’ Perspectives on LGBTQ-Inclusive Curriculum," Equity & Excellence in Education 48, no. 2 (2015), 249-265.

Our Family Coalition and ONE Archives Foundation, "Teaching LGBTQ History: Instructional Resources for California Teachers, Students, & Families"

Movement Advancement Project, "Education"