Middle School Lesson Plans: General LGBTQ

This collection of lesson plans is for California Middle School students, grades 6-8th.

Lessons

Gay Pioneers

Gay Pioneers is the story of the first organized annual “homosexual” civil rights demonstrations held in Philadelphia, New York and Washington, DC from 1965-69. When few would publicly identify themselves as gay, these brave pioneers challenged pervasive homophobia.

Janet Miller – Organize

Janet Miller, a teacher at Hoover Middle School, was blown away by district-wide statistics that revealed the risk of violence that transgender youth experience. Moved by the statistics, Miller stated to her colleagues that it was their responsibility to create a safe learning environment for ALL students and that any type of discrimination should not be tolerated.

Boy Scouts of America Lifts Ban on Gay Leaders

This middle school lesson provides an opportunity for students to learn more about the evolution of the Boy Scouts’ position on gay members and leaders, analyze Robert Gates’ recent speech on the issue and explore students’ own points of view by writing persuasive essays.

Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr.: Hate Crimes Prevention Act

This lesson provides an opportunity for middle and high school students to understand the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, learn about how hate escalates, connect the understanding of the escalation of hate with Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr.’s murders and consider what young people can do in their schools and communities to prevent hate crimes.

Understanding Homophobia/Heterosexism and How to Be an Ally

The goal of this lesson is to contribute to making classrooms and schools more safe and welcoming for all students—including LGBQ students and increase students’ understanding of and empathy for how homophobia manifests itself in schools and society. Middle and high school students will have the opportunity to learn more about what homophobia and heterosexism are and how they manifest themselves, read an essay about being an ally and discuss ways they can be an ally, including actions they can take on behalf of their school or community.

Activism and Legislation

In this lesson, students learn the provisions of the 14th and 15th amendments and the political forces supporting and opposing each. They will evaluate the agendas, strategies and effectiveness of Americans from underrepresented groups, including people with disabilities, in the quest for civil rights and equal opportunities and explore how laws uphold democratic ideals and how changes in laws accompany social change.

Not In Our Town: Northern California

Not in Our Town Northern California: When Hate Happens Here looks at five communities that are dealing with hate violence. The film’s four segments focus on hate crimes that took place in these five communities between 1999 and 2004. Taken together, the stories reveal that whether the crimes are motivated by racism, anti-Semitism, or gender or sexual orientation, hate is the same.

The Invisibility of LGBT People in History

This lesson explores the ways in which LGBT people, events and issues have been made invisible in mainstream accounts of history. In the first half of the lesson, students reflect on excerpts from Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man to explore the impact of invisibility on people and as a jumping off point for researching how different groups have been historically marginalized in society. In the second part of the lesson, students participate in a history matching game and listen to LGBT oral histories that increase their awareness of significant LGBT people and events, and the ways in which these topics have been erased from the historical record.

The History and Impact of Anti-LGBT Slurs

In this lesson students listen to the oral history of an advocate for LGBT family rights, and use her personal story as a vehicle for considering how anti-LGBT attitudes are formed. Students explore the derivation of the words “gay,” “f*ggot” and “d*ke” in order to better understand the long history of judgment and hate behind these words. They also reflect on the testimony of LGBT teens about the impact of terms like “that’s so gay.”

The Exclusion of LGBT People from Societal Institutions: In-Group, Out-Group

In this lesson, students explore the concept of exclusion on personal and societal levels. After participating in an exercise in which they experience the effects of inclusion/exclusion in a social situation, students do reflective writing in response to historical photographs depicting the exclusion of various groups in society. In the final part of the lesson, students identify ways in which LGBT people are currently excluded from societal institutions, listen to interviews of LGBT people describing their experiences with discrimination and create portraits of the interview subjects that reflect what they have learned.

Winning the Right to Marry: Historic Parallels

In this lesson, students explore marriage bans for same-sex couples within the context of earlier prohibitions, and use these historical parallels to determine the fairness of those restrictions. Students listen to the story of an individual who was personally affected by marriage restrictions and fought to change the law in his state. They then analyze similarities and differences in cases that dealt with marriage restrictions and the road to victory.

Brother Outsider

Bayard Rustin—a visionary yet largely unknown civil rights strategist, organizer and activist—is the subject of a compelling new documentary premiering on PBS on Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Monday, January 20). This guide is intended to introduce Rustin and encourage viewing and discussion of Brother Outsider, a 90-minute film produced and directed by filmmakers Nancy Kates and Bennett Singer.