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.

The Legacy of the Hays Code

Length: 60 minutesComplexity: Standard

This lesson plan covers queer film representation from the 1920’s to 1970’s, specifically focusing on the impact of the Motion Picture Production Code, otherwise known as the Hays Code. The goal of this lesson is to explain the historical context behind LGBTQ+ stereotypes that still persist today in Western media.

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.

Stonewall and Beyond: Gay and Lesbian Issues

When police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay nightclub in Greenwich Village, on June 28, 1969, gays and lesbians fought back. This marked a turning point in the struggle for gay and lesbian rights in the United States. And more than three decades later, the struggle still continues. In this lesson, students examine the issues that now surround the quest for gay and lesbian equal rights. They explore bias and negative stereotyping in the media and their effect on how gays and lesbians are treated. Along the way, students will examine their own biases and express their opinions on the topic of gay and lesbian rights in a newspaper editorial.

The History and Impact of Anti-LGBT Slurs

In this lesson students listen to the oral history of an advocate for LGBT family rights, and use her personal story as a vehicle for considering how anti-LGBT attitudes are formed. Students explore the derivation of the words “gay,” “f*ggot” and “d*ke” in order to better understand the long history of judgment and hate behind these words. They also reflect on the testimony of LGBT teens about the impact of terms like “that’s so gay.”

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.

What is a Hate Crime?

In this lesson, students learn the definition of “hate” and how to use alternate words, discover and understand how national laws are made and apply that understanding to the concept of government protection.

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.

The AIDS Epidemic (1 of 4): 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.