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 Students will read, discuss and analyze primary and secondary source historical documents in small groups.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.

Art As Activism

Students will learn about and experience the works of Audre Lorde and James Baldwin and discuss how and why someone might use their passions for activism.

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.

Early Colonial Gender Roles

This lesson seeks to introduce students to gender roles, stereotypes and family roles in pre-colonial and early colonial time periods. Students will also explore current gender systems and examine how gender roles have changed over time.

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.

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.

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.

The Lavender Menace (Lesbian Feminist Movement)

Length: 50 minutes

This lesson covers the contributions of the Lavender Menace, or Lesbian Feminist movement, of the 1970s to the general Second Wave Feminist movement, as well as the limitations and downfalls of Lesbian Feminism.

The AIDS Epidemic (1 of 3): The Government’s Response

This lesson plan seeks to examine the ways in which the United States government ignored a disease that took thousands of American lives. It will debunk fallacies about HIV/AIDS and use the history of AIDS in the US to analyze how powerful activism can be.