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Tipsheet

House Democrat Introduces Bills to Create a National LGBT History Museum in D.C.

AP Photo/Kathy Willens, File

Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan (WI) introduced two bills on Thursday to create an LGBT history museum in Washington, D.C. 

Pocan, who is a co-chair of the Congressional LGBT+ Equality Caucus, introduced the bills to establish a commission to study the creation of the museum with the Smithsonian Institution. The bills would need to be signed into law to construct a new Smithsonian Museum.

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“As our community faces unprecedented attacks and attempts to erase our history, we must preserve and protect our stories for future generations,” Pocan said in a press release published Thursday.

The first bill creates an eight-member commission of those with expertise in museum planning to develop a fundraising strategy, identify locations, among other things related to creating the museum. The bill would take the commission’s recommendations and address whether or not the museum should be part of the Smithsonian. The committee would be given 18 months to complete this. The second bill would formally create the museum.

Pocan’s press release noted that “all 9 openly LGBTQ+ Members of Congress as well as 50 other members” sponsored the legislation.

“It is vital to remember our collective past – particularly when certain states seek to constrain and repeal existing rights by passing bills that harm LGBTQ+ youth and our community at large. Let’s tell these stories, and honor the many contributions the LGBTQ+ community has made to this nation with a museum in Washington, D.C. I look forward to the passage of this legislation and to visiting this museum in the near future,” he said in the press release. 

Pocan is referring to states like Virginia, which unveiled guidance for public schools to follow that requires “transgender” students to use restrooms, locker rooms and participate on sports teams that align with their biological sex instead of their gender identity. In addition, parents are required to be involved in conversations with students about their gender identity. 

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The policies came out after it was revealed that teachers in Fairfax County were requiring teachers to complete training ahead of the 2022-2023 school year that said that parental consent was not required for students who want to “socially” transition, which includes going by a preferred name and pronouns.

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) introduced legislation this month that would prevent schools from hiding information about a student’s gender identity from their parents. 

“Public schools across the country are violating these fundamental parental and familial rights by deliberately hiding information about gender transitioning from their parents,” a press release from Scott’s office stated.

“The law in the United States has long recognized the importance of parental rights. A parent’s right to oversee the care education of their child is guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment,” the bill reads. “Parents have a fundamental, constitutionally guaranteed right to raise and educate their children in the way they choose.”

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