Transgender Identity and Issues

Over the past several years, there has been a dramatic increase in the visibility of transgender people and the understanding of transgender issues. Polls show that most Americans believe they know what being transgender means and overwhelmingly feel that our laws should protect transgender people. At the same time, transgender and gender non-conforming people face injustice in every aspect of their lives: at home, in schools, in workplaces, in doctors’ offices and emergency rooms and in public places like grocery stores, restaurants and hotels. This lesson will provide an opportunity for high school students to learn more about transgender identity and issues, the barriers faced by people who identify as transgender or are gender non-conforming and how we can make our schools safe and welcoming for transgender and gender non-conforming students.

Shifting Gender Roles in the US

This lesson seeks to explore how the industrial revolution changed perceptions of gender roles during the Victorian era. This lesson also seeks to have students observe changes and continuities over time in regards to gender roles in the United States.

A Place in the Middle

A Place in the Middle is the true story of Ho'onani, a remarkable eleven year old girl who dreams of leading the hula troupe at her inner-city Honolulu school. The only trouble is that the group is just for boys. She's fortunate that her teacher understands first-hand what it's like to be “in the middle” - the Native Hawaiian tradition of embracing both male and female spirit. As student and teacher prepare for a climactic end-of-year performance, together they set out to prove that what matters most is what’s inside a person’s heart and mind.

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.

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.

Critiquing Hate Crimes Legislation

In this lesson, students learn to access, study and compare primary-source documents, to research and organize information and to plan, organize and execute a live performance.

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.”