Even in 2019, crawling closer to the turn of the decade, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, *queer plus (LGBTQ+) community is still one of the most discriminated and victimized community around the world, including the United States. The right to discriminate against queer workers, families (regarding housing and adoption) and students is still a right that is heavily defended in courts around the nation today. This is not acceptable.
Luckily, this epidemic of hatred and ignorance does not need to persist. By including LGBTQ+ curriculum, such as LGBTQ+ positive role models and movements (i.e. the Stonewall Riots) into schools across the nation, students in and out of the community will scientifically become more accepting. Studies from the Center for American Progress have shown that curricula that includes positive conversations and discussions about the LGBTQ+ community have reduced educational, mental and physical harm for LGBTQ+ students in and out of the classroom. As a result, the many examples of hatred and ignorance towards the LGBTQ+ community will likely be solved.
This problem is derived from traditional belief systems that are taught from generation to generation. Before students graduate high school, they are still developing their morals and values. Since students spend most of their time around their peers and teachers, averaging seven hours spent in school, the information they are learning at school will thus heavily influence their morals and values they will hold for the rest of their lives. By including LGBTQ+ curriculum into schools, queer and straight students can only benefit.
As supported in the Oxford Clinical Psychology archives, studies have shown that schools that include safe and supportive school climates and the implementation of LGBTQ+ curriculum are essential components for positive development, health and academic success of queer students. Because queer students will be exposed to people like them, they can establish a sense of self-worth that is not present in many queer students today.
The benefits of implmenting LGBTQ+ curriculum extend to non-queer students as well. When straight students learn about and understand the historical struggles and figures of the LGBTQ+ community, these students will start to normalize this community and therefore becoming accepting. Through surveys done by the Century Foundation concluded that all students experience less harassment if LGBTQ+ curricula is present; statistically, 10-13 percent less of students experienced harassment when inclusive curricula is present.
The leaders of tomorrow are the students of today. It is critical that students become more accepting at the age of development, so that whenever these students are able to make impactful decisions, anti-LGBTQ+ outcomes are not the result. Countless studies have shown that the morals and values that are developed between the ages of 12-17 are the values that teenagers will have for the rest of their lives. with all the homophobia, transphobia and bigotry present in the world of today, solutions need to be created now.
Action should be taken to protect the worth of the LGBTQ+ community. Starting with the youth of today is essential in solving the nation’s current plague of hatred and ignorance. Education is a powerful tool, and using education to expose all students to the LGBTQ+ community will help encourage acceptance and may cause prejudice against the LGBTQ+ community to become an idea of the past.
*Queer: An all encompassing term used to describe all sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions that does not comform to heterosexuality.