My personal conclusion is an obvious yes, LGBTQ+ studies should be included within the curriculum. I may be biased; before enrolled in my bachelors of education I worked for an education focused LGBTQ+ not for profit in which I both advocated and educated for the community. I would run workshops and conferences for both professional adults as well as elementary and high school students. I saw first hand how helpful education can be when it comes to ignorance and misinformation. When I would walk into a classroom with LGBTQ+ identifying students, I saw how they would light up when I was teaching their peers about their identities and lived experiences. I also saw the change in heterosexual, cisgendered student’s mentalities and mindsets when teaching them about the terminology, history, and struggles of the community. When approached from a positive, non condescending and simple angle, I myself witnessed some of the most arrogant, conservative people come out with a more open minded view about the LGBTQ+ community as a whole after sitting through a workshop.
The facts all point towards including the studies into the curriculum. One in ten youth will identify within the community, and the rates of suicide, depression, substance use and abuse, and other mental health issues are multiplied tenfold for them compared to the average youth. Inclusion into the curriculum will start to normalize the all the language and make identifying students feel more comfortable and ease some of their anxiety. It will also make the schools a safer space- having that culture normalized within the curriculum and classrooms makes it a concrete step towards full acceptance within the school walls.
Bullying and ostracizing of the LGBTQ+ community has been an issue for far too long- one in five identifying students have been physically tormented or assaulted, one in two identifying students being verbally harassed, as well as roughly one in two identifying students being sexually harassed, all within the school walls. Normalizing the language and raising awareness of these types of issues through education will help make a difference by fixing the root of the problem- ignorance, prejudice, and a lack of understanding.
As educators, it is our job to make sure every student is treated equally with respect, and they reach their fullest capabilities as a functioning human in society when they leave our classrooms. A way to help achieve this is to teach students about multiple facets of diversity- race, culture, gender, and sexuality. These topics should not be taboo, and these topics should be understood and comprehended by everyone. The inclusion of LGBTQ+ studies into the curriculum is such an obvious decision in so many ways it is baffling that there are still so many opposed to the idea.