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8 Educator Resources for Teaching LGBTQ+ History Month to All Grades and Subjects

 

Drawing of a child with two mothers

 

Equity in learning is key to student success. In order to create an equitable learning experience, though, educators must create an equitable environment where all students feel safe to be themselves. In October, LGBTQ+ History Month reminds us exactly how important it is to cultivate these spaces.

Part of creating a safe environment for LGBTQ+ students and staff includes highlighting LGBTQ+ community efforts in everyday curricula. The more students see themselves represented in history and in their studies, the more they feel they belong. And as educators, it’s our goal to make sure every student has a place they feel they belong. 

LGBTQ+ history shouldn’t be limited to just one month, though. Like Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month and more important cultural observances, these topics should be an ongoing part of an educator’s lesson planning. 

To help connect educators with more resources, we’ve rounded up eight LGBTQ+ education websites to incorporate into your lesson planning.  

 

ACLU 

The ACLU offers its Schools in Transition report as a way for educators and parents/guardians to continually support transgender children. The report is free to download and includes six chapters on the issues trans K-12 students face and how to create spaces where trans students feel safe. According to its authors, the guide “is geared toward the needs of all students …  and incorporates distinctions and recommendations based on the specific ages and stages of students’ development.” 
 

ADL

The ADL overall is a great resource for educators looking to incorporate more social equity in their planning. While the ADL list linked specifically references Pride month, which is June, it still has many resources that expand on LGBTQ+ history, past and present. For example, this lesson goes over the Stonewall Riots, which Pride month commemorates every year. A more modern example is this lesson plan on the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to lift its decades-long ban on appointing gay leaders, which happened in 2015. More recently, states have been trying to ban transgender student athletes, which this lesson covers. 
 

Facing History and Ourselves 

This webinar on LGBTQ+ history includes milestones that aren’t as well known as the Stonewall riots or the legalization of same-sex marriage. The webinar is created as a 50-minute lesson, with a human-timeline activity that spans the Roman Empire to 2016. The goal is to help students view LGBTQ+ history as robust and long, while questioning why certain history has been left out of our general education. In this lesson, students will also participate in activities that assist students in these reflections. 
 

GLSEN

GLSEN was founded in 1990 by a group of teachers that wanted to create more affirming learning environments for LGBTQ+ youth. Currently, GLSEN has 43 chapters across 30 states. Through its own research, GLSEN has identified four major ways schools can form a safe and supportive environment for students: through developing supportive educators, forming comprehensive policies, creating inclusive curricula and by supporting student GSAs (a student-run organization that unites LGBTQ+ students with other allied students.) The GLSEN website provides a special section for educator resources. Browse through lesson plans, professional-development resources, inclusive curriculum and more. 
 

LGBT History Month

This website is a great resource to get your creative educator juices flowing. The LGBT History Month website features 31 historical LGBTQ+ figures to study in 2021 - one person to feature every day of the month. Overall, there are 465 “Icons'' listed on the website for educators to browse. In addition to the historical figures, the website features a number of prompts to get educators thinking on how they can further represent LGBTQ+ history in the classroom. 
 

Share My Lesson

In honor of LGBTQ+ History Month, Share My Lesson has put together a webpage full of free lesson plans, resources and activities for educators. For educators that have not heard of Share My Lesson, it is a network of 1.8 million education professionals dedicated to supporting educators by providing free, high-quality resources. As of 2021, Share My Lesson has provided 420,000 resources to professionals that specialize in early education, higher education, and all areas in between. 
 

Teachwire

This website is geared toward the United Kingdom’s education system, however, it is still filled with great resources for American teachers to pull from. For example, a section outlines why inclusive education is so important in schools. There are also resources like films centered on LGBTQ+ stories, writing packs, links to additional resources and more. 
 

Welcoming Schools 

The Human Rights Campaign - the largest LGBTQ+ advocacy group in the United States - launched Welcoming Schools to combat bullying. According to HRC, the program uplifts “school communities with critical tools to embrace family diversity, create LGBTQ+ and gender-inclusive schools, prevent bias-based bullying, and support transgender and non-binary students.” For LGBTQ+ History Month, Welcoming Schools has put together engaging lessons and books for educators to incorporate into their teaching.  
 


If you’re considering following your dream of teaching, Rutgers Alternate Route can offer you the support and training you need to succeed. Be sure to follow Rutgers Alternate Route on Twitter and sign up for Alternate Route’s monthly newsletter for more information and stories from the field of education.
 

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Heather Ngoma

Heather Ngoma has over 20 years experience collaborating with educators across New Jersey to drive education innovation. She currently serves as the Director of Rutgers University's Alternate Route Teacher Training Program at the Center for Effective School Practices, a program which helps career changers, recent college graduates and other aspiring education professionals become licensed teachers in New Jersey. Follow her on Twitter @heatherngoma.