No Justice, No Peace
The Stonewall Uprising
Call it a riot, a rebellion or a revolt. By any name, the events that transpired in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969 when New York City police raided the Stonewall Inn, it instigated a confrontation that would galvanize the modern LGBT rights movement. Unlike many other gay establishments, the The Stonewall Inn was open to even to the most marginalized members of a community already pushed to the edges of society, becoming a sanctuary for drag queens, trans-people, homeless LGBT youth and queer people of color. This watershed moment in American history is often left out of public school curriculum but we can provide students with a heightened cultural awareness by sharing the stories of the Stonewallers. In section 2 of this playlist, students can experience those six days of chaos and glory through primary source accounts and recognize the social contributions of those who took a stand then and in the years that followed.
The Pride Guide
Perceiving the Rainbow
Non-binary. Heteroflexible. Agender. There are so many shades and nuances to consider when talking about sexual orientation and gender identity that it can be overwhelming. This video breaks down many of these core terms and introduces viewers to young people who are sharing their stories of self discovery. It’s important to normalize these kinds of discussions because all young people embark on their own journeys into gender and sexuality, regardless of how they identify. While we find the video clip in its entirety to be valuable and interesting, it is edited in such a way that breaking it down into shorter clips should be fairly simple.
Because terminology related to sexual and gender identity evolves so quickly, it’s helpful to have something to refer to when attempting to explain some of the most commonly used words. This resource also includes a list of words and phrases, some well-intentioned, that can be harmful or offensive and suggestions for more appropriate language. The Safe Zone has also provided an activity that can be used to explore these materials.
We Are the Youth is a photographic journalism project documenting the stories of LGBTQ youth from all over the United States. In their own voices, they provide a window into their inner worlds in an effort to make the unique voices of LGBTQ youth more visible. Because the interviewees are asked to speak about their most pertinent experiences, there are some discussions of sensitive topics such as abuse, sexual assault, and suicide but not in graphic terms. We have highlighted a few profiles that are appropriate for this age group if you do not wish to review them all yourself.
To supplement the youth profiles assignment, students can complete this worksheet. In it, they’ll be asked to document information they learned about a profile they’ve chosen to focus on, and think about their own experiences with identity and personal relationships. By making lists of information that pertains to the interviewee and themselves, they’ll be able to find some commonalities, regardless of how they identify.
The goal of this lesson is engage students in conversations around homophobia and heterosexism to find ways that they can contribute to a more welcoming school environment. Even if you choose not to use this lesson plan in class, please take a look at the “Note to Teacher” section as we believe it contains some really thoughtful suggestions for discussing sexuality and gender identity in a school setting.
No Justice, No Peace
The Stonewall Uprising
Introduce your students to this topic with a short video full of imagery that reflects the evolution of the LGBT movement from present, counting down to 1969- the year that put a tiny bar called the Stonewall Inn on the map.
Your students might be thinking, “All this chaos because a bunch of people didn’t want their neighborhood bar shut down?” In fact, the Stonewall Inn and the events that happened in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969 represent a justified response to the social climate that gay, lesbian and transgender people were forced to live in. This modified version of a WeTeachNY handout contains primary source images that represent the history of LGBT discrimination that is most relevant to the Stonewall riots. Help students understand that the Stonewall Inn was a safe haven for people with limited spaces to be themselves and police raid was the last straw. You might even open up a lesson by using these images and their captions to stage a gallery walk.
Take a closer look at the root causes of the Stonewall riots before exploring the actual events that transpired and their lasting impact on our country.
This Newsela article can serve as an alternative or supplement to the previous video. It covers much of the same information presented in the video but is a quick read.
This portion of the playlist contains primary source accounts of the events that transpired at Stonewall from the people that experienced it first-hand. As they explore these resources, urge your students to think about the differences in tone and perspective as it shifts from account to account. The tale of Stonewall is a legend in itself but the collective story is one of struggle and comradeship.
Michael Levine was present at the Stonewall Riots and in this audio clip he discusses his experience with his friend‚ Matthew Merlin. His descriptions paint a slightly different picture of that first night but ultimately still tell the story of a community coming together to demand the right to live their lives free of persecution. A transcript of the audio is provided.
Students will be able to picture this first night: trash cans thrown, and even the sense of playfulness alluded to in the Teaching Tolerance audio clip. This text contains some terms that are seen as offensive today so please be sure to bring that up with your students. The man who wrote this was in fact gay himself (he’s featured in the following assignment) but as we know, language changes drastically over time and vocabulary associated with this relatively young movement has become more focused on empathetic approaches.
Morningside Center is a reliable source for socially responsible lesson plans that are rigorous and thought provoking. This lesson plan teaches students about the history of discrimination against LGBT people and the movements for equal rights. They’ll also examine their own assumptions to understand how anti-gay discrimination affects everyone.
Beyond the Binary
Transgender & Nonconforming Identities
Because the Stonewall Inn was one of the only gay bars that allowed drag queens and individuals who identified as trans, the intersectional aspect of this moment in history is important to recognize as well. This resource features some of the transwomen and lesbians of color who were at the forefront of this movement, as well as a few other “first responders.” There are reflection questions that can be used to unpack all of the accounts in this section. With so many varying accounts of the same story, what can we learn about this movement? Was this a riot or a revolt? These are questions that are relevant when we look at reactions to current events.
Students read “The Girl With No Name” a short story about a transgender girl and then reflect on moments in their own lives when they’ve wanted to be something other than what others saw them as, as a way of empathizing with transgender people.
Gender is more complex than pink and blue. Shatter the myth that gender is binary by discussing how some people know that their birth sex and gender identity don’t match. Explore the T in LGBT through this article about gender nonconforming and transgender identities.
This dramatization of a teen’s experience sheds light on the myriad of ways in which a trans or nonconforming person faces discrimination in their daily lives.
A trans poet shares the uncomfortable experience of being asked what their name was before they transitioned. This poem explores what life is like for a person looking to shed a former identity in a world that often disregards their feelings in the name of curiosity.
This poetic duet performed by teen writers at the Brave New Voices Poetry Slam explores the 2 sides of a transgender teen and their experiences in a world that isn’t always accepting of those who are born into bodies they don’t feel at home in.
The suicide of transgender teen, Leelah Alcorn, left many wondering why so many trans youth are taking their own lives. This report explores issues transgender people are facing today and how it affects their well-being.
Eboni has extensive experience in curriculum development, with a focus on culturally-responsive and arts-based approaches. Having spent years creating academic content and providing professional development to teachers, she now curates themed playlists meant to provide educators with valuable, time-saving resources.
What Does Gay Mean? | Welcoming Schools
Tips on how to navigate these kinds of discussions with younger students through direct and clear communication.
6-12 Year Olds Talk About Gays and Lesbians | Teaching Tolerance
There’s no such thing as too young to discuss identity and sexual orientation. This video proves they’re already formulating ideas and sharing information amongst themselves.
The American Experience: Stonewall Uprising | PBS This amazing documentary is streaming for a limited time.
Mimi’s Mom | Teaching Tolerance
Engaging with LGBT parents
Through interactive content, primary sources, lesson plans & articles, inspire students to think critically about how their actions contribute to a more equitable future.
For Grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12
Use these voting-themed blended learning teaching resources to help children of all ages understand the importance of voting and why their voice matters.
For Grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8, 9-12