What does LGBTQ stand for?

LGBTQ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning.

If you have additional questions about understanding sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, please refer to this resource.

Isn’t this one more “add-on” to the many content areas educators already have to cover?

S1569 (the NJ LGBTQ Inclusive Curriculum Bill) was written with an integrative approach in mind. LGBTQ Inclusive lessons and resources promote a fuller understanding of LGBTQ people & those living with disabilities. The focus is to provide accurate information on both populations social, political and economic contributions across all departments and disciplines. The impact of the lessons provided will enrich, engage and empower all students with a broader view of the people that have existed in their community, state and country.

What exactly does S1569 (the NJ LGBTQ Inclusive Curriculm Bill) require?

According to the official synopsis, the bill “[r]equires boards of education to include instruction, and adopt instructional materials, that accurately portray political, economic, and social contributions of persons with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.”

Why does this bill include people with disabilities along with LGBTQ people?

People with disabilities exist across all races, classes, sexual orientations, gender identities, and economic groups, and parts of their identities have historically been erased, hidden, or otherwise not acknowledged and appreciated. Their contributions must be highlighted in order to have truly inclusive lessons and resources.

Who provides instructional materials to support this initiative?

The responsibility for selecting and adopting curricular materials, lessons and resources lies solely with the local board of education.

The following organizations offer free inclusive lessons and resources: Garden State Equality, Make it Better for Youth, Welcoming Schools (Human Rights Campaign), Gender Spectrum, GLSEN & Teach Rock.

Why the emphasis on LGBTQ people in the curriculum?

Just like many other marginalized communities, the social, political and economic contributions of LGBTQ people have been historically underrepresented, minimized and at times erased in educational narratives. In order for students to see themselves in the world and the stories we tell, we must assure that lessons and educational materials are accurate in their representation of LGBTQ people.

Won’t this cause controversy in my community?

We understand differences in religious, cultural or political beliefs may cause educators and parents to feel strongly about teaching LGBTQ topics. Talking about the social, political and economic contributions of LGBTQ is about providing a broader understanding of this community’s contribution and in no way limited one’s own religious, cultural or political beliefs.

I teach elementary/middle/high school – what are developmentally appropriate ways for me to broach these topics with my students?

These resources may be helpful:

What if my cultural and/or religious beliefs prohibit me from supporting LGBTQ people?

Discussing world religions, racial and ethnic differences, and genocide/Holocaust in lessons and providing instruction that includes LGBTQ people are expectations of all public school educators.

I sometimes hear the term “intersectionality” in relation to LGBTQ people. What does that mean and why is it relevant to this curriculum initiative?

Intersectionality is sociological theory describing the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage. Since identifying as an LGBTQ person is only one piece of one’s full identity, it is important to understand the lived experiences of those who are exposed to multiple, overlapping points of discrimination when discussing the social, political and economic contributions of this population.

How and why is the issue of sex being covered outside of Health class?

It’s not. Sexuality and gender identity are different than the physical act of sex, reproduction, or sexual anatomy. LGBTQ inclusive lessons and resources provide context of differences in personal and professional experiences as an LGBTQ person. The lived experiences of individuals who do not identify as cisgender or heterosexual, have contributed to vast changes in social justice movements, legislation and societal norms. For examples, we had a gay man running for president, are we going to ignore that he has a husband? Discussing the challenges and triumphs of those who identify as LGBTQ helps students understand and empathize with experiences that may be different from their own.