Nevada Will Be 6th State To Teach LGBTQ-Inclusive History In Schools

A hybrid version of the Nevada state flag with a Pride flag
(image via Depositphotos)

Much of the LGBTQ political news being reported lately focuses on the spate of anti-LGBTQ bills being promoted and passed in Republican-controlled state legislatures across the country.

But it’s not all bad news everywhere.

This past Sunday, Nevada’s Governor Steve Sisolak attended the Henderson Pride Festival where he signed several pro-LGBTQ bills into law. 

“It is so important that we bring these bills to the community, to this center to help you understand how important this is,” said Sisolak at the signing ceremony.

The event also served as the grand re-opening of the Henderson Equality Center.

It’s a breath of fresh air to see legislation moving LGBTQ interests forward and not backward.

The bills passed during the legislative session and now signed into law are:

Senate Bill 275 modernizes Nevada’s HIV laws by repealing a provision that made it a category B felony for someone who tests positive for HIV to “knowingly or willfully engaging in a manner” that could transmit the disease. 

The laws were first put in place in the early part of the AIDS epidemic and targeted gay and transgender people. The antiquated laws don’t reflect the advances in HIV medicine and science that has occurred in the past 20+ years. Nine other states are currently considering similar legislation.

Senate Bill 237 allows LGBTQ-owned businesses to be designated as minority-owned which opens up opportunities from local chambers of commerce.

Senate Bill 109 will require local governments that collect demographic information to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Gov. Sisolak said the new law will “ensure our government reflects our community. Representation matters.”

Assembly Bill 261 makes Nevada only the sixth state in the U.S. to include the contributions of LGBTQ people in history and civics classes. 

The Silver State now joins California, Illinois, New Jersey, Oregon and Colorado in making public education queer inclusive.

On the other side of the political spectrum, though, Tennessee and Montana have passed laws requiring schools to notify warn parents if issues of sexual orientation or gender identity are scheduled to be addressed.

Analysis from the Human Rights Campaign found that more than 250 anti-LGBTQ bills were introduced in state legislatures in 2021. At least 17 had been enacted according to an HRC report on May 7.

Responding to the pro-LGBTQ legislation passed this year in Nevada, GLSEN interim Executive Director Melanie Willingham-Jaggers said in a statement, “This year, we’ve seen record numbers of harmful anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced across the country. But Nevada’s new law offers a powerful contrast and shows us that a better way is not only possible, but already in motion.”

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