Caitlyn Jenner and the Power of Coming Out

This high school lesson provides an opportunity for students to learn more about Caitlyn Jenner’s experiences, reflect on what it means to “come out” and explore the impact of coming out on the individual, others, policies and society as a whole.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Through analyzing Audre Lorde’s essay on multiple identities and systems of oppression, how do power and privilege impact the relationships people have with each other as well as with institutions?

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.