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.

Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr.: Hate Crimes Prevention Act

This lesson provides an opportunity for middle and high school students to understand the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, learn about how hate escalates, connect the understanding of the escalation of hate with Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr.’s murders and consider what young people can do in their schools and communities to prevent hate crimes.

Understanding Homophobia/Heterosexism and How to Be an Ally

The goal of this lesson is to contribute to making classrooms and schools more safe and welcoming for all students—including LGBQ students and increase students’ understanding of and empathy for how homophobia manifests itself in schools and society. Middle and high school students will have the opportunity to learn more about what homophobia and heterosexism are and how they manifest themselves, read an essay about being an ally and discuss ways they can be an ally, including actions they can take on behalf of their school or community.

What is Marriage Equality?

On June 26, 2015, in a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court of the United States held that the 14th Amendment requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize marriages lawfully performed in other jurisdictions. This means that marriage equality is now the law of the land in all 50 states. Prior to this historic day, 37 states plus the District of Columbia had legalized marriage for same-sex couples. This lesson provides an opportunity for students to explore marriage equality, gain background information about it, and reflect on their own thoughts and feelings about marriage equality.

Activism and Legislation

In this lesson, students learn the provisions of the 14th and 15th amendments and the political forces supporting and opposing each. They will evaluate the agendas, strategies and effectiveness of Americans from underrepresented groups, including people with disabilities, in the quest for civil rights and equal opportunities and explore how laws uphold democratic ideals and how changes in laws accompany social change.

Not In Our Town: Northern California

Not in Our Town Northern California: When Hate Happens Here looks at five communities that are dealing with hate violence. The film’s four segments focus on hate crimes that took place in these five communities between 1999 and 2004. Taken together, the stories reveal that whether the crimes are motivated by racism, anti-Semitism, or gender or sexual orientation, hate is the same.

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.

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.

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.

Janet Miller – Organize

Janet Miller, a teacher at Hoover Middle School, was blown away by district-wide statistics that revealed the risk of violence that transgender youth experience. Moved by the statistics, Miller stated to her colleagues that it was their responsibility to create a safe learning environment for ALL students and that any type of discrimination should not be tolerated.