Maryland schools are about to get a lot queerer.
The Old Line State plans to roll out lessons on the movement for LGBTQ+ equality in its history curricula for K-12 classrooms. According to the policy website Maryland Matters, the changes were made as a result of advocacy on the part of 47 state lawmakers, who wrote a letter claiming the state’s current guidelines do not “address in any way the development of civil rights for [LGBTQ+] Americans.”
“These are important stories for our teachers to tell, not only for those students who are themselves [LGBTQ+]... but so all of our students have a basic understanding of the challenges faced by significant segments of American society,” Maryland Del. Eric G. Luedtke (D-Montgomery) wrote in the letter.
Luedtke confirmed in a Tuesday tweet that the Maryland State Department of Education (MDSE) heard their plea and would be developing LGBTQ+ inclusive “history curriculum standards.”
“Thanks to all my colleagues that added their names to our recent letter on the subject!” he said.
The new standards will also include lessons on the centuries-long struggle of people with disabilities for rights and inclusion in U.S. society, although neither Luedtke nor the MSDE has stated when the new curricula will be rolled out.
When the new policies are implemented, Maryland will become one of at least five states to mandate the inclusion of LGBTQ+ history in schools. The others include California, New Jersey, and Colorado. The final state on the growing list is Illinois, where newly elected Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed a LGBTQ+ curriculum law into effect just this week.