Illinois is the most recent state mandating schools teach history and contributions of LGBTQ+ pioneers, writes Hanna Leone for the Chicago Tribune earlier this month. The Inclusive Curriculum Law requires that public schools teach students through eighth grade the contributions lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people have made to their state history and United States History.

Earlier this year, additional laws were passed in Oregon, Colorado, and New Jersey, following California in 2011. As with the Illinois Legislation, the state of New Jersey’s Law leaves it up to individual schools and districts to decide what to teach and how, with standards becoming effective by the 20-21 school year, writes Sarah Schwartz in a blog for Education Week last month.

Another article in the Washington Post earlier this summer identified additional Local School Districts in other areas near Washington, DC such as Virginia and Maryland that are also working to implement rules and policies that allow students to use school restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identities and enable students the right to be recognized by their chosen names and pronouns.

The inclusion of transgender lesson plans in your curriculum allows students an opportunity to learn more about issues affecting them in the framework of human rights and civil rights and racial and gender equality. Much like the Civil Rights struggle in the 1960s, and Women’s Suffrage in the 1920s, LGBTQ+ rights are a Modern Civil Rights Movement.

As many as two to three percent of teens nationwide identify as transgender. But, given the social consequences by identifying as one’s true identity in some cases, that number is probably higher. Possibly as high as eight percent. Especially as more research and science is released and identified.  For those students who are LGBTQ, they need to see themselves in the curriculum, and to find a connection to what they are learning. It’s an opportunity for ALL students to learn about each other and to improve their cultural competency.

Sometimes it’s difficult to lump together issues dealing with sexual orientation versus gender identity because gender identity IS different than sexual orientation. In a similar way that schools teach about race and human rights, they may also address the transgender experience and the greater LGBTQ experience. The only way to normalize and be inclusive of all identities is to talk about it and bring in transgender lesson plans early.

The Most Dangerous Year, A Film by Vlada Knowlton, is a new civil and human rights documentary that may incorporate into your curriculum equality initiatives. Your school or district may host an educational screening as part of transgender training for staff or as a part of a transgender workshop for students. The Most Dangerous Year film and discussion guide may incorporate well into transgender lesson plans for teachers. Hosting an educational screening along with your facilitated discussion is excellent for transgender workshop activities.

The Most Dangerous Year separates sexuality from gender identity. So, it’s not about morality or anything toward sexual orientation. It’s all about transgender civil and human rights. The stories of the children and families in the film are of younger ages. Gender identity forms as early as age 2 or 3. Sexual orientation is often not understood nor identified until during o after puberty. The Most Dangerous year cites the latest research from leading social and neuroscientists about transgender identity and cultural experience.  The film is age-appropriate for elementary, middle and high school age groups.

Often, schools looking to become more inclusive find they need some more introductory conversations about LGBTQ+ identities and gender terminology and more support from school advisors. The Most Dangerous Year film and discussion guide provide resources and opportunities to have those conversations and identify and unpack those terms. Along with an educational screening and utilizing the discussion guide, the program is wonderful for transgender workshop activities.

It’s also affordable for schools. So, while there may be a mandate in your state without funding behind it, your school may still be able to afford the cost to host an educational documentary film screening. Request more information and a price quote to host a one-time educational screening of The Most Dangerous Year. Call 800-883-9883 or email