How to Teach LGBTQ History
The study of the contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people and events in history provide opportunities for teachers to reveal stories that few have learned about, and provide students with a new lens by which to understand American history. These are stories that can be shared in every classroom at every grade level alongside the many diverse American histories.
California became the first state to mandate the teaching of the “contributions of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people” or LGBTQ history with the passage of the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act in 2011. The History-Social Science Framework (HSS), adopted in 2016, identifies LGBT history and social studies topics that should be taught at different grade levels and in addition, Chapter 20 of the Framework entitled “Access and Equity” states that “All of California’s children and adolescents have the fundamental right to be respected and to feel safe in their school environment, yet many do not because of their sexual orientation or gender expression. Research indicates that students in kindergarten through grade six who are gender-nonconforming are less likely than other students to feel safe at school and more likely to indicate that they sometimes do not want to go to school because they feel unsafe or afraid.”
California’s new HSS Framework emphasizes an inquiry-based approach to teaching and learning that encourages students to consider many perspectives in the study of history. The history of LGBTQ people remained hidden in documented history for many years due to laws that criminalized LGBTQ culture. It is important to note that LGBTQ or gender nonconforming people have existed in every culture in history dating back to ancient civilizations.
We have created the document below entitled, “Teaching LGBT History: An Educator’s Guide” that will guide teachers, administrators, schools and school districts with the implementation and teaching of LGBTQ History.
The resources throughout the website are for educators to use for teaching LGBTQ history. If you have other ideas for needed resources, please send us a message via our contact page.