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.

When Did it Happen? An LGBT History Lesson

This activity is designed as a fun and interactive way to raise students’ awareness of LGBT people and the contributions they made in the history of the United States. Students will learn about key events in the LGBT civil rights movement. Students will have an opportunity to create signs regarding these events to spread awareness throughout the school.

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.

The Gay ’80s, ’90s and ’00s

In this lesson, students research and create a timeline that illustrates how attitudes toward gay and lesbian issues have changed over the last 30 years.

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

Give Them Hope: Creating Movements, Building Bridges

Students will learn about the life and accomplishments of Harvey Milk. Harvey Milk was an American politician who became the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in the United States. Harvey Milk used a simple problem that affected the everyday lives of San Francisco’s residents to gain support from people outside of the LGBTQ community and work on larger issues.