The Teach LGBT NY Bill aka A4744/S1478 (Seawright/Hoylman) would require the NYS Education Department to develop educational curriculum or instruction on the historical treatment of and contributions by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in America, especially including the LGBTQ civil rights movement and accomplishments. According to the CDC, LGB youth are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth. Additionally, according to GLSEN’s 2017 National School Climate Survey:
- 59.5% of LGBTQ students felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation
- 34.8% of LGBTQ students missed at least one entire day of school in the past month because they felt unsafe or uncomfortable
- 19.8% of LGBTQ students were taught positive representations about LGBTQ people, history, or events in their schools; while 18.4% had been taught negative content about LGBTQ topics
Awareness of the LGBTQ community and history is important to increasing support and admiration in schools, which will have a direct impact on student performance, wellbeing, and safety. It is critical that LGBTQ students learn about and see the contributions of other LGBTQ individuals to society and American History to understand that they equally belong and have a place in our schools and society.
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Brad Hoylman, the only out LGBT member of the New York State Senate, is making LGBT rights a priority during his time in office. He sponsored the Gender Expression and Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA) and New York’s conversion therapy ban, which were both signed into law in early 2019. Now he is working on the LGBT Awareness Curriculum or Instruction Bill, also known as Teach LGBT NY in conjunction with the LGBT Network. It was first introduced in May 2018, but is now known as S1478 in the 2019-2020 cycle.
Rebecca Seawright, the first woman to represent New York’s 76th Assembly district has been fighting against discrimination wherever she can. She co-sponsored the Assembly equivalent to GENDA (A00747) and the conversion therapy ban (A576). She introduced the Assembly version of the LGBT Awareness Curriculum or Instruction Bill, also known as Teach LGBT NY (A4744) in February 2019.