Celebrating Pride in the Classroom

This June, we encourage all educators, coaches, and youth leaders to incorporate elements of LGBTQ Pride into their classrooms. A celebration of LGBTQ history, Pride month honors the Stonewall Uprising of 1969, in which LGBTQ community members publicly resisted police harassment and persecution. Classroom lesson plans can incorporate both LGBTQ+ history and current issues. 

You can find great examples of those lesson plans at the Anti-Defamation LeagueOne Archives, and Welcoming Schools. Historical lessons might cover Stonewall, activism during the AIDS crisis, the fight for marriage equality, hate crimes targeting the community, and exclusion from societal institutions. Current, topical issues include identity and diversity in Gen Z, transgender identity and issues (including bans on transgender athletes), using correct pronouns, modern allyship, heterosexism causes and solutions, and LGBTQ representation. Of course, these lessons can be taught throughout the year but June is a great time to kickstart these conversations! 

Modeling Allyship in the Classroom  

As educators, we can model our personal experiences as allies- individuals who openly and actively stand up for LGBTQ equality. For me, being an ally means learning from experiences that challenge my heternormative assumptions; listening with an open mind and being eager to learn; offering my support in any way possible; and standing up for LGBTQ+ causes. It also means seeking out and listening to the lived experiences of individuals most impacted by heterosexism, transphobia, and other forms of oppression. Allies are also Upstanders who model inclusion for all sexual orientations and gender identities in the classroom. Allies choose to interrupt comments made about an individual’s gender expression or sexual orientation. When we hear a comment like, “you act like a girl” or “you dress like a boy,” it is our responsibility to address it. Such words can be hurtful no matter the intent or the target. Educators can model an awareness of how gender identity and gender expression are expansive and non-binary. When we target individuals based on our perception of their gender identity, it can be especially harmful. Allyship would mean interrupting this kind of comment without drawing excessive attention to the target. Finally, Structured discussions should lead students to see beyond their socially constructed views of heteronormative behaviors. 

Representation Matters 

LGBTQ+ individuals have not been fairly, accurately, and equally represented for their contributions to society in history books, film, or literature. This June, make a point to engage with content that gives life to LGBTQ+ perspectives and narratives. Seek out LGBTQ+ filmmakers, authors, and artists and share them with your community. As a teacher, you can also revisit lesser-known history by reading about the lives of individuals who received less notoriety but nonetheless persisted in their fight for equal rights. Expand your summer reading to include new literature that explores the lives of Transgender, Gender Non-Binary, and Gender Expansive characters. Wherever you are, we encourage you to show your pride! You can do this by attending virtual Pride events, flying the Pride flag, or by volunteering in your community. Another simple way to celebrate is to wish everyone in your community a happy Pride month. Talk honestly about what made you decide to become an ally, share how you’ve grown and what you’ve learned. Discuss how your personal relationships have grown and how your public persona as an advocate has developed. Don’t forget to purchase your Tyler Clementi Foundation Pride edition t-shirt, hoodie, or hat

Happy Pride Month, everyone! 

Resources PFLAG’s Guide for the Straight Ally HRC’s List of Children’s Books with Trans, Non-Binary, Gender Non-conforming Mashable’s 34 Best LGBTQ movies

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