Introduction

LGBTQ Pride Month (June) and LGBTQ History Month (October in the U.S. and February in the UK) celebrate the LGBTQ community and their great achievements. These months are significant because they symbolize a huge change that has taken place over the past couple of decades. Although injustices and prejudices still exist within our society, we have made great strides since the Stonewall Riots in 1969, attaining marriage equality. However, as previously mentioned, we still have a long way to go in the struggle for equal rights, as many members of the LGBTQ community still face discrimination. By learning about LGBTQ Pride/History Month, students are more likely to have an understanding and acceptance for all individuals, no matter what they look like, what gender they do or don’t identify as, and who they love.

Resources

There are many resources available online for teaching students about LGBTQ Pride/History Month and its significance. This topic, though it can be a sensitive one to many, is not as difficult to teach as it is made out to be, as long as one has the right approach and materials. By teaching students about this topic, they will gain a much better understanding for the LGBTQ community and the struggles they have faced and continue to face each day.

Lesson Plans

  1. LGBTQ History and Why It Matters: Facing History and Ourselves provides a lesson plan for teaching about LGBTQ history, which includes essential questions, an overview, materials, teaching strategies, activities, and extensions for use in the classroom. This plan calls upon classes to reflect on the stories previously learned in history and literature classes, assessing the information students know about this topic, create a human timeline of LGBTQ history, reflect on the value of including LGBTQ voices in the study of history, and more. The duration required for this lesson is one 50-minute class period, but if students bring up good conversations on the subjects discussed, it may take longer, so be sure to set some time aside for the best result!
  2. LGBTQ History Month Lesson Plans and Resources: sharemylesson has a vast variety of lesson plans and resources for educators to bring to the classroom or educate themselves about LGBTQ inclusion, creating safe spaces for LGBTQ students, analyzing the gender bias in the classroom (and ways for educators to help), and other topics. The goal of all of these lessons is “to make every day a safe and welcoming place for all your students” because all students, regardless of their sexual orientation, deserve the same understanding and respect. There are so many resources to look through and choose from!
  3. LGBTQ Pride Month and Education Resources: ADL put together an extensive list of lesson plans, education resources, and children’s books about LGBTQ Pride Month for educators, parents, families and caregivers. Plans are supplied for different grade levels, starting at grade 4, and cover everything from marriage equality to transgender identity and issues to the Stonewall uprising. ADL recognizes that LGBTQ Pride Month is a great opportunity to talk with students about the struggles the LGBTQ community has faced in their mission to receive equal rights. By reading about LGBTQ people in history (many of who have been overlooked), analyzing homophobia along with its causes and solutions, and reading literature that features LGBTQ individuals, students will leave the classroom with a greater understanding of the topics discussed and ideally become more aware of the unfairness and discrimination that many around them, even some of their classmates, face today.

Articles

  1. As More States Require Schools to Teach LGBTQ History, Resources for Teachers Expand: This article starts off with discussing the experiences of  Larah Helayne, who realized she was attracted to women and after coming out, she started a LGBTQ affinity group at a local high school, as she found that her story spurred others to begin sharing their own. Helayne, like many others, searched for materials on the history of LGBTQ individuals, which led to the main topic of the article: as time goes on and more schools are required by the state to teach about LGBTQ history, there are more resources available for educators to help them teach about the subject. The journey to building the curriculum of LGBTQ history and educators learning about this history themselves is also discussed.
  2. Celebrate LGBT Pride Month With Perspectives!: Teaching Tolerance published an article providing a few different resources for celebrating LGBTQ Pride Month in the classroom. The topics of the lessons vary, but the main themes are the freedom of choice, rights and responsibilities, and the struggles faced and progress made by the LGBTQ community. (To access these resources, all you have to do is create a free Teaching Tolerance account!)
  3. LGBTQ Pride Month: Where We Are and What Educators Can Do Right Now: TeachForAmerica has published an article, written by Desiree Raught, the 2015 GLESN Educator of the Year, on the great responsibilities of educators to support LGBTQ students in schools, as they have been oppressed by school systems for far too long. Raught explains that we have to shift the conversation and our focus to the LGBTQ youth who are at the most risk for suicide depression, violence, and discussion. Speaking from her own personal experience of hiding her sexual orientation in the classroom, Raught discusses how she implements the best and most positive practices for the LGBTQ youth in the classroom and the results. This article may be quite helpful to gain some perspective and learn more about the way in which you should approach teaching students about LGBTQ pride.

Informational Sites

  1. LGBTQ Rights Milestones Fast Facts: CNN takes a look at the LGBTQ milestones in the United States in the form of a timeline. Events including when Maryland became to first state to ban same-sex marriage in 1973, when Ellen Degeneres became the first leading character (of her own TV Series) to come out on a prime time network television show, when the first transgender individual joined the military, and others are detailed.
  2. LGBTQ Pride and History Months: The Library of Congress provides information on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Pride Month, including a brief overview, public laws and presidential proclamations, image, 2019 events, resources, and audio/video related to the LGBTQ community and pride month.
  3. ADL and the LGBT Community: A Commitment to Equal Rights: ADL, the Anti-Defamation League, gives information on their commitment to equal rights and advancing the rights of the LGBTQ community before jumping into the topics of marriage equality, discrimination, hate crime laws, LGBTQ issues on an international scale, and education initiatives against hate.

Conclusion

Teaching students about LGBTQ Pride/History Month is of the utmost importance, and finding the right materials to use in the classroom is the first step in this process. Progress has been made for LGBTQ individuals, especially in the past several years, but the fight for people to love who they love continues in the United States and around the world. Educating the youth is one of the most impactful ways to increase the understanding of students regarding the LGBTQ community. Understanding brings peace, compassion, and causes social change.

Additional Resources

  1. LGBT Youth Resources: The CDC has a page of resources to help LGBTQ youth thrive in positive environments, especially because some are more likely to experience negative health and life outcomes than heterosexual individuals. There are resources for LGBTQ youth and friends/supporters, educators and school administrators, and parents, guardians, and family members to help them better understand and support their friends, peers, children, or students.
  2. LGBTQ History: This page on the National Museum of American History’s website provides news releases, related exhibitions, objects, blog posts, and news releases about LGBTQ history and the LGBTQ community as a whole. 
  3. Talking with Kids about LGBTQ Issues: The Human Rights Campaign offers resources that provide “the language and information needed to discuss lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people and issues in an age-appropriate way with children and youth.” The resources from HRC’s Welcoming Schools address gender stereotyping, bullying, and other topics in classrooms with younger students, and others for older students.