High School Lesson Plans: General LGBTQ

This collection of lesson plans is for California High School students, grades 9-12th.

Lessons

Crash Course in Intersectionality

Length: 50 minutes

This lesson serves to introduce students the concept of intersectionality to help them gain a new framework for better examining themselves and how they fit into the world around them.

The Lavender Scare

How did the conditions of the Cold War lead to the criminalization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Americans?

Were the 1950s truly the “dark ages” for gay Americans as some historians have claimed?

Students will analyze 6 -10 (or more depending on the class) primary and secondary sources. These sources will serve as historical evidence for students as they determine their response to the inquiry question. After students read and annotate each source, they will then collaborate and create a DBQ Poster. The DBQ poster process requires students 1) to sort the sources into 2 or more categories, 2) to consider all historically relevant content and 3) construct a group thesis that directly answers the inquiry question.

Why and how did activists respond to the AIDS crisis of the 1980s?

In this lesson, students will engage in the historical context of the AIDS crisis of the 1980s exploring a timeline of major events and government responses to understand reasons for anger and unrest in the LGBT community. After establishing historical context, students will analyze activist responses looking specifically at different goals and methods used by the activist organization ACT-­UP/Los Angeles.

How did Bayard Rustin’s identity shape his beliefs and actions?

In this lesson, students will examine primary sources to understand how Bayard Rustin’s identity shaped and influenced his actions as a Civil Rights leaders. They will participate in whole group discussions and small group work to deepen their knowledge on who Bayard Rustin is and how his identity as a gay man affected his life as an advocate. They will demonstrate their learning by writing an argumentative essay answering the inquiry question.

How did Harvey Milk and the Briggs Initiative unite marginalized groups?

In this lesson, students will analyze the purpose of the Briggs Initiative (Prop 6), which was on the California general election ballot in 1978. The referendum sought to ban gays and lesbians, and potentially supporters of gays and lesbians, from working in California’s public schools. Then, students will evaluate voices of those opposed to the initiative by reading posters and flyers. Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official, was a key political figure that led the debate against people like Senator John Briggs and Anita Bryant. Additionally, the Briggs Initiative was challenged by other marginalized groups including African Americans, feminists, and unionists. Finally, students will conduct a close reading of Harvey Milk’s speech given after the defeat of the Briggs Initiative on June 25, 1978 at California’s Gay Freedom Day.

The lesson may take 90-­120 minutes depending on the reading level of students and the language support needed. To divide the lesson into two days, it is suggested that the close read be done on day 2.

How did The Ladder magazine provide lesbian women support in the 1950s?

Students will experience strategies that will help them analyze primary sources, examine and use literacy strategies that will help them access primary sources, engage in close reading and text-­based discussions in various settings including in pairs/groups and as a classroom and generate at least one writing task that is Common Core based.

To what extent was the movement for LGBT rights part of the broader movement for Civil Rights?

In this lesson, teachers will contextualize the LGBT rights movement by answering the question introduced in the History-­Social Science Framework for California Public Schools: “How did various movements for equality build upon one another?” While activists fighting for LGBT rights utilized similar tactics and had some shared goals of those fighting for Civil Rights broadly, LGBT people in racial minority communities faced additional discrimination. Moreover, many fighting for broader Civil Rights did not consider sexual preference or gender identity as apart of their fight. In this lesson, students will explore historical perspectives to determine to what extent the movement for LGBT rights was or was not part of the broader movement for Civil Rights of the 1970s and 1980s. Students will read, annotate and categorize several primary sources to write a short essay describing and supporting their prospective with evidence from the texts.

What were men and women’s experiences of World War I?

While the battles of World War I primarily took part in Europe, the effects of the war reached around the world. Men, women, and children experienced the consequences of the conflict. Men volunteered or were conscripted into the military to fight on the battlefields. The success of each side’s military required not only manpower, but weapons, food, and supplies. These materials had to be produced at home or in the colonies, which required women to take on duties that were not considered feminine roles, such as working in factories and farming. Because entire societies were mobilized to support the war effort, World War I is considered a total war.

Were the 1920s a time of cultural change?

In this lesson, students will learn about changes and continuities in the 1920s, particularly focused on cultural and social areas. Students will analyze primary and secondary sources that explore race, gender, and sexuality in the 1920s.

The FAIR Act: What are students’ rights to LGBT representation in the classroom?

The FAIR Education Act (Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful Education Act) was passed in 2011 in California State Legislature. It advocates for the inclusive representation of LGBTQ and disability communities in California History and Social Science Curriculums. In this lesson, students will participate in pre-­reading activities, close-­read the SB 48 text and build community amongst peers in the classroom. By the end of the lesson, students will have examined the opinions of those in opposition of the bill and those in support of the bill, including the LGBTQ youth voices who advocated for themselves in the senate hearings (using the framework of Critical Media Literacy by Jeff Share). By highlighting youth agency, this lesson aims to both celebrate the people involved in passing this groundbreaking bill and to provide students with the language necessary to communicate what their rights are.

How did the movement for LGBT equality go from assimilation to “coming out” in the 1950s-1970s?

In this lesson students learn about the divers perspectives and organizations that shaped the movement for LGBTQ equality from the 1950s through the 1970s. Students will participate in a simulation where they play the role of members of specific, historically significant organizations that emerged in the LGBT movement between 1950-1970s, trying to form a united coalition and make decisions about the big political questions of the day. Students will have to collaborate to write and present statements that represent their organization’s perspective in a political conference that will last 3 rounds. In each round they will discuss and debate a major event/topic in the historical LGBT movement. Then they will vote on proposals. Ostensibly, the group will try to reach consensus but the goal is greater understanding of the arguments, experiences and material conditions that shaped the movement.

This lesson aligns with LGBT history month and could be incorporated into a larger unit on the Civil Rights movement (understanding the mechanics of movement building, how oppressed groups achieved civil rights).

Students will be able to: analyze the historical context and major political ideas in the movement for LGBT right between 1950-­1975. Students will read, discuss and analyze primary and secondary source historical documents in small groups. Students will collaborate to write and orally present historical arguments in a simulated political conference.

Through analyzing Audre Lorde’s essay on multiple identities and systems of oppression, how do power and privilege impact the relationships people have with each other as well as with institutions?

In this lesson, students will familiarize themselves with the concept of intersectionality — how intersecting identities and oppressions shape perspectives and experiences. Through the close reading and discussion of the article “Age, Race, Class, and Sex: Women Redefining Difference” featured in the influential book Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde, students will think critically about how multiple identities and systems of oppressions impact the relationships people have with each other as well as with institutions. Audre Lorde, Black lesbian poet and feminist writer, signed a contract with The Crossing Press on November 19, 1982 to publish her monumental book Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches. Sister Outsideris celebrated as a historic piece of literature exploring the intersections of race, sexuality, gender, poverty, and politics.