Mayor Eric Adams and Schools Chancellor David C. Banks Celebrate Continued Investments in LGBTQ+ Curriculum
NEW YORK - As Pride Month 2022 nears its end, Mayor Eric Adams and Schools Chancellor David C. Banks reconfirm the Department of Education’s deep commitment to celebrating New York City’s diversity and uplifting the LGBTQ+ community all year long through $2.8 million in continued City Council investments in LGBTQ+ curriculum.
With this funding, the DOE plans to expand access to the Hidden Voices: LGBTQ+ Stories in United States History curriculum, which celebrates the lived experiences of prominent LGBTQ+ leaders and advocates and enmeshes their stories into existing history lessons. First launched in March 2021, the Hidden Voices curriculum, guide, and lessons are designed for grades 4 through 12, with age-appropriate materials for different grade bands.
The goal of the Hidden Voices series is to reflect the diversity of the city and to ensure that all young people feel welcome in their classrooms and in their communities. This investment in the 2023 fiscal year budget ensures that this curriculum can expand and become more accessible across public schools citywide. This will also support educators through additional training opportunities and resources to integrate these stories into their lessons.
“History has not been kind to the hidden voices, and by investing resources in Hidden Voices: LGBTQ+ Stories in United States History, we are uplifting these stories and highlighting change agents who made tremendous strides in our country’s history,” said Mayor Eric Adams. “We are proud to tell these stories in our LGBTQ-inclusive curriculums and we will continue to do so to take down barriers and build a more inclusive and diverse society.”
“For our public schools, Pride Month is every month. We celebrate all students and honor the diverse identities that make up the unique fabric of our school communities and city,” said Schools Chancellor David C. Banks. “As educators, it is essential that we help all our students feel confident in who they are, and we are thrilled to be able to use these critical funds from City Council to continue to grow our Hidden Voices curriculum to reflect the diversity of our city.”
Since it was published digitally in March 2021, the DOE has expanded access to the library of LGBTQ+ lessons available to educators by:
• Delivering 16,000 hard copies of Hidden Voices to schools
• Digitally publishing lesson plans
• Publishing materials including posters, professional learning guides, and comic books for use in schools
• Producing additional videos highlighting the lives of LGBTQ+ leaders and advocates
The DOE plans to release two additional comic books this fall featuring Larry Kramer and Bayard Rustin in one, and Audre Lorde and Pauli Murray in the second. All Hidden Voices resources can be found at WeTeachNYC.org.
“I am so proud to see the ongoing work in our public schools to bring LGBTQ+ history into focus for our young people, to build an awareness and appreciation within our curriculum of the true diversity of our city and country. This initiative — built on the foundation of the investment I made as a member of the City Council and the decades-long advocacy from our community — is vitally important at a time when extremist rhetoric and policies are recklessly endangering the health and welfare of LGBTQ+ students and educators. Thanks to Mayor Adams, Chancellor Banks, the City Council, and all those who are committed to our schools being safe, inclusive environments for everyone,” said former Council Member Danny Dromm.
"Thank you to the City of New York for making this critical investment in LGBTQ-inclusive curriculums. LGBTQ students deserve to learn about their history, culture, and experiences in the classroom, just like their peers," said Preston Mitchum (he/him), Director of Advocacy & Government Affairs for The Trevor Project. "The Trevor Project's research has found that LGBTQ youth who learned about LGBTQ issues or people in classes at school had 23% lower odds of reporting a suicide attempt in the past year. It's also especially important to learn about the intersectionality of race, sexual orientation and gender identity, as we know LGBTQ youth of color report higher rates of attempting suicide than their white peers."
We know that these workshops and professional developments are not just nice additions to curriculum. This is lifesaving work for LGBTQ+ youth. At a time when the rights of LGBTQ+ youth in schools, their families, and LGBTQ+ educators are under attack in several cities and states across the country; it is great to be doing this work with the support of a city government that is on the right side of history, making NYC schools a safer place for all of our youth,” said Melissa D’Andrea, Executive Director, PFLAG NYC.
“These investments are undoubtedly a victory for New York City, its public schools and most importantly, LGBTQIA+ youth. It’s vital that our education system includes LGBTQ history that recognizes the intersectionality of gender identity, sexual orientation and race in its curriculum. Failing to do so, puts the safety and mental health of LGBTQIA+ young people at risk. We’re already seeing the dangerous and damaging effect that some state’s anti-LGBTQ legislation is having on queer youth across the country,” said Joe Pressley, Chief Executive Officer, Hetrick-Martin Institute. “My hope is that by making the LGBTQ curriculum available across more NYC public schools, it will set the standard for other school districts in our country. School should be a safe place for all queer young people—particularly trans youth of color—where they can be their authentic selves and learn about their history just like their peers.”