LGBTQ stories are disproportionately censored in schools and libraries. #UncensoredPride aims to raise awareness of attacks on LGBTQ voices in educational spaces, educate on the dangers of LGBTQ censorship and empower youth to lead change in their communities and nationally.
What’s at stake?
LGBTQ representation in literature and the arts fosters tolerance and empathy in our diverse, yet largely heteronormative, society. Schools and libraries that protect young people’s freedom to read and express diverse viewpoints promote self-esteem and self-acceptance for LGBTQ youth as they explore their identities. Encountering diverse stories encourages tolerance and welcoming of differences among all students.
LGBTQ experiences are underrepresented in media and the limited stories that are available are disproportionately censored in schools and libraries.
Several states continue to enforce outdated laws that ban the “promotion of homosexuality” (hence the term “no promo homo laws”) and prohibit schools from adopting anti-bullying policies to protect LGBTQ youth. These laws have been broadly applied and interpreted, leaving many teachers unsure of what is and is not permitted in their classrooms and leading to self-censorship and a lack of LGBTQ representation in curriculums.
These laws were enacted in the midst of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, part of broad effort to promote abstinence-only education. But like much of the social response to AIDS, these reforms were homophobic, biased and damaging. Research consistently shows that the censorship of information about safe-sex practices can lead to higher rates of teen pregnancy and the spread of STDs, particularly for LGBTQ youth without adequate–or any–relevant sex education.
We call on all educators and community leaders to champion LGBTQ-inclusion in schools.
Learn more about “No Promo Homo” Laws: www.glsen.org/actvitiy/no-promo-homo-laws
*Note: In April 2019, the Arizona State Legislature passed (House vote 55-5 and Senate vote 19-10) and the Governor of Arizona signed a repeal of the 1991 HIV law (ARS § 15-716).