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New Democracy Maps

LGBTQ Curricular Laws

LGBTQ-related curricular laws are important for LGBTQ students’ health, well-being, and academic success. This map shows multiple distinct policies related to LGBTQ inclusion in—or exclusion from—school curricula or standards. First, LGBTQ-inclusive curricular laws explicitly require the state’s curricular standards to include LGBTQ people and history, such as in subjects like history, civics, or social studies. Harmful, exclusionary laws include older-style censorship laws that restrict how schools can discuss "homosexuality" in specific subjects; parental notification laws, which require parents to be notified in advance of any LGBTQ-related curricula and allow parents to opt their children out of those classes (or require them to opt-in); and finally more recent “Don’t Say LGBTQ” laws that explicitly censor teachers and staff from discussing LGBTQ people or issues throughout all curricula. Click "Citations & More Information" beneath the map legend for more information about all these types of laws, and learn more about the importance of inclusive curricular standards from GLSEN.
United States Map
Washington New York U.S. Virgin Islands Puerto Rico Guam Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands American Samoa New Hampshire Vermont Virginia Pennsylvania New York Maine West Virginia Ohio Kentucky Indiana Michigan Illinois Wisconsin North Carolina South Carolina Tennessee Georgia Florida Mississippi Missouri Arkansas Louisiana Iowa Minnesota Oklahoma Kansas Nebraska South Dakota North Dakota Texas 33 Colorado Wyoming Montana Idaho Arizona Utah Nevada Oregon California Hawaii Alaska Massachusetts Rhode Island Connecticut New Jersey Delaware Maryland Washington D.C. New Hampshire Vermont
  • State law explicitly requires LGBTQ inclusion in state curricular standards (7 states)
  • State law requires state education department to create LGBTQ-inclusive model curriculum, but does not require schools to use it (1 state)
  • State has none of these LGBTQ-specific curricular laws (27 states , 5 territories + D.C.)
  • State law restricts how schools can discuss "homosexuality" in specific curricula (e.g., sex education) (see note) (4 states)
  • State law requires advance parental notification of any LGBTQ-related curricula and allows parents to opt their children out (or requires opt-in) (6 states)
  • State law explicitly censors discussions of LGBTQ people or issues throughout all school curricula (i.e., “Don’t Say LGBTQ”) (7 states)
*Notes:
--In the late 1980s, amidst the HIV/AIDS crisis, states began to enact censorship laws restricting how schools could discuss "homosexuality" in specific subjects like sex or health education.  In 2021, these censorship efforts saw a resurgence--and a dramatic escalation--beginning with Florida's "Don't Say LGBTQ" law that explicitly banned any discussion of LGBTQ people or issues throughout all school subjects, curricula, learning materials, and more.  Click "Citations & More Information" above for further details and sources about each and every state.
 
--Arkansas and Florida have both a "Don't Say LGBTQ" law censoring discussions of LGBTQ people in schools and a parental notification law. The parental notification laws were enacted first in both states, and the "Don't Say LGBTQ" laws were enacted later.  
--In March 2024, the state of Florida settled a lawsuit that limited the scope of the state's "Don't Say LGBTQ" law to instruction only. This means that students can, for example, ask questions about LGBTQ people or issues and teachers can respond, that schools can have Gender-Sexuality Alliances (GSAs), and more. However, the ban still applies to classroom instruction,  which is the focus of this map. 
--In December 2023, a federal judge temporarily blocked Iowa's "Don't Say LGBTQ" law.  
--Click "Citations & More Information" beneath the map legend, or the "Citations" tab above, for more information about these and all states.

Often, laws requiring LGBTQ-inclusive curricular standards also require inclusive representation of other communities like people of color, people with disabilities, and religious minorities. Learn more about the importance of inclusive curricular standards from GLSEN.

Recommended citation:
Movement Advancement Project. "Equality Maps: LGBTQ Curricular Laws."
https://www.mapresearch.org/equality_maps/curricular_laws. Accessed [day of access].

Percent of LGBTQ Youth Covered by Laws

*Note: These percentages reflect estimates of the LGBTQ youth (ages 13-17) population living in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. Estimates of LGBTQ youth in the U.S. territories or under age 13 are not available, and so cannot be reflected here. Population estimates are from The Williams Institute.

25%

25 % of LGBTQ youth (ages 13-17) live in states that require inclusion of LGBTQ people/history in school curricular standards

1%

1 % of LGBTQ youth (ages 13-17) live in states that require the state education department to develop an LGBTQ-inclusive model curriculum, but do not require schools to use it

40%

40 % of LGBTQ youth (ages 13-17) live in states with none of these LGBTQ-specific curricular laws

13%

13 % of LGBTQ youth (ages 13-17) live in states that restrict how schools can discuss "homosexuality" in specific curricula (e.g., sex education) (see note beneath the map)

11%

11 % of LGBTQ youth (ages 13-17) live in states that require parental notification of any LGBTQ-related curricula and allow parents to opt their children out (or require opt-in)

15%

15 % of LGBTQ youth (ages 13-17) live in states that explicitly censor discussions of LGBTQ people or issues throughout all school curricula (i.e., “Don’t Say LGBTQ”)

Key
  • ,
  • State has this lawIndicates state law or policy
  • ,
  • State does not have this lawIndicates an anti-LGBTQ Law
State LGBTQ-Inclusive Curricular Standards Law restricting discussion of "homosexuality" in specific subjects Parental Notification Laws “Don’t Say LGBTQ” Laws Year passed
  Citations Citations Citations Citations
Alabama State does not have this law 1992
Alaska
American Samoa
Arizona State does not have this law 2021
Arkansas State does not have this law State does not have this law 2021, 2023
California State has this law 2011
Colorado State has this law 2019
Connecticut
Delaware
District of Columbia
Florida State does not have this law State does not have this law 2021, 2022
Georgia
Guam
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois State has this law 2019
Indiana State does not have this law 2023
Iowa State does not have this law 2023
Kansas
Kentucky State does not have this law 2023
Louisiana State does not have this law 1993
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi State does not have this law 1998
Missouri
Montana State does not have this law 2021
Nebraska
Nevada State has this law 2021
New Hampshire
New Jersey State has this law 2019
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina State does not have this law 2023
North Dakota
Northern Mariana Islands
Ohio
Oklahoma State does not have this law 1995
Oregon State has this law 2019
Pennsylvania
Puerto Rico
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee State does not have this law 2021
Texas State does not have this law 1991
U.S. Virgin Islands
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington State has this law 2024
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming State does not have this law 2024


Data current as of 05/24/2024
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Sexual Orientation Policy Tally

The term “sexual orientation” is loosely defined as a person’s pattern of romantic or sexual attraction to people of the opposite sex or gender, the same sex or gender, or more than one sex or gender. Laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation primarily protect or harm lesbian, gay, and bisexual people. That said, transgender people who are lesbian, gay or bisexual can be affected by laws that explicitly mention sexual orientation.

Gender Identity Policy Tally

“Gender identity” is a person’s deeply-felt inner sense of being male, female, or something else or in-between. “Gender expression” refers to a person’s characteristics and behaviors such as appearance, dress, mannerisms and speech patterns that can be described as masculine, feminine, or something else. Gender identity and expression are independent of sexual orientation, and transgender people may identify as heterosexual, lesbian, gay or bisexual. Laws that explicitly mention “gender identity” or “gender identity and expression” primarily protect or harm transgender people. These laws also can apply to people who are not transgender, but whose sense of gender or manner of dress does not adhere to gender stereotypes.

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