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.

Understanding Gender Identity

In this lesson students learn about gender identity and explore the impact of rigid gender role expectations and stereotypes. Using various media—an audio interview and a video of a spoken word performance transgender people and issues are personalized and clarified for students. Students then discuss real-life scenarios depicting conflicts around gender expression in school settings, and brainstorm ways to be an ally to transgender and gender non-conforming people.

Homosexual Life Under Nazi Rule: The Legacy of Paragraph 175

Students will examine personal testimonies in order to understand what conditions were like for homosexuals living in Nazi occupied Germany before and during WWII. They will also learn to recognize and analyze the ways in which homosexuals in Nazi occupied Germany responded to persecution and repression.

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.

Under the Radar: Identity Politics and “Passing”

Students will learn about Billy Tipton, an American jazz musician and bandleader. He was born Dorothy Lucille Tipton. After his death, Billy was discovered to be female assigned at birth. Students will discuss whether you can be both out and “in the closet” and debate whether it was okay for Billy Tipton’s family to “out” him as trans after his death.

Brenda Howard: The Mother of Pride

Students will learn about the history of Pride in the U.S. and Brenda Howard, an American bisexual rights activist who originated the idea for a week-­long series of events around Pride Day that are now held around the world every June.

Two Spirit and Non-Traditional Families

This lesson seeks to introduce students to different family models, specifically through comparing American and Native American culture. This lesson also seeks to define what it means to be Two Spirit and to discuss personal family narratives.

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.