Pride Month Teaching Guide
June is Pride Month, an annual celebration of diversity and specifically meant to bring attention to LGBTQ+ communities. While Pride Month isn’t an internationally recognized event, many countries and communities celebrate both during June and at other times during the year.
Teaching your kids about Pride Month can be a challenge. It’s a lot more than colorfully dressed people marching down the street.
But before we can help kids better understand Pride Month, we need to start by looking at the history of this event.
Pride Month History
Pride celebrations in America center in June because of the 1969 Stonewall riot. Taking place at Greenwich Village in Manhattan, the riots began after police raids on the Stonewall (a bar catering to gay and lesbian patrons) turned violent. Notably, people on the street fought against the police and helped protect the Stonewall patrons.
The Stonewall riot is often credited with starting the LGBTQ+ rights movement. Importantly, the goals at the roots of this movement were not just about rights for gay and lesbian people. They specifically aimed to draw support from all marginalized groups in America, leading to a larger political movement we’re still seeing today.
As recently as 2011, the President’s administration began ignoring the Defense of Marriage Act, effectively legitimizing and legalizing gay marriage.
LGBTQ+ Learning Resources
Pride Month and the LGBTQ+ movement may seem like difficult subjects to teach. But aside from the lingering sense of taboo for some, gender and sexuality have more teaching resources available now than ever before.
To help kickstart you and your kid’s learning, here are a few resources.
GLAAD Pride Kit
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) is a social and legal activism group that has been at the forefront of LGBTQ+ rights since 1985. You should take some time to learn more about their organization.
When it comes to teaching the general history of Pride and LGBTQ+ rights, GLAAD’s press kit is a terrific resource. On this page, they offer a brief history for journalists to use in their articles. These snippets are perfect for quickly and concisely teaching your kids.
Learning For Justice - Podcast
The first episode of the Learning For Justice’s Queer America podcast features a guide to incorporating LGBTQ+ history and studies into the classroom. It’s a great look at general LGBTQ+ teaching and history with some important modern looks at what Pride means.
You can read the transcript on Learning For Justice’s website or listen to the podcast below.
Facing History Curriculum
Facing History is an organization focused on bringing important and underappreciated pieces of history into the classroom. Their site offers a variety of teaching aids and guides to help teach difficult historic subjects.
Their LGBTQ+ History curriculum is no different, with the emphasis on individuals not commonly learned about. While the page is designed for a teacher to use in the classroom, the lessons are laid out clearly and could easily be used for some lessons at home too.
Pride Month Learning And Resources
While Pride Month began to honor the Stonewall riot, it has evolved into a massive celebration for all LGBTQ+ people. The first ‘official’ Pride Month celebration happened in June 1970 on the first anniversary of the Stonewall riot. A relatively small crowd of a few thousand gathered to march and proclaim their rights.
Today, crowds in the millions gather throughout the month of June to celebrate, remember, and educate. Pride Month is a moment to introduce kids to LGBTQ+ history, literature, and modern struggles.
The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has a Pride Month Education Resource with more information about Pride Month and links to even more learning resources.
The Faces Of Pride
Stop and think; how many leaders of the LGBTQ+ movement can you name? I sat with my notes for a minute and could only come up with one off the top of my head. Which felt pretty wrong to me.
So here are a few important individuals in the historical and modern Pride movement.
Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera
Both central figures in the gay liberation movement of the 70s, I normally would afford both their own section in this post. But I share them together because the New York Times has this article about the monument recently erected in their honor.
Marsha P. Johnson was integral in forming numerous gay and lesbian liberation groups in the 1970s. Johnson was one of the victims of the Stonewall riot. In the aftermath, Johnson became known around Greenwich as the ‘mayor of Christopher Street’ for being so welcoming to everyone.
Likewise, Sylvia Rivera played a part in the Stonewall riot, allegedly being one of the first to fight back against the police attack (though there are disputing sources about this). Both Rivera and Johnson spoke out in support of transgender and drag communities.
American author, playwright, and essayist, James Baldwin is a central figure in both the civil and gay rights movements. His most famous work, Go Tell It On The Mountain, delved into racial disparities. But his later novel, Giovanni’s Room, specifically touched on love and relationships for gay and lesbian individuals.
If you need something for your own Pride Month reading list, Giovanni’s Room is a great place to start. Or you can check out this awesome book about James Baldwin from Lulu author Fred Noland:
There’s no excuse for not touching on Alan Turing and his incredible contributions to computing. During the Second World War, Turing unlocked German codes, leading to numerous victories. It’s not too far to say that Turing was a major factor in Allied success during the war.
Turing was later arrested for being a homosexual and barred from intelligence work as a ‘security-risk.’ His story helps illustrate how inequality can prevent talented individuals from contributing to society.
Karl Heinrich Ulrichs
Often credited as the first recorded individual to ‘come out’ in 1862, Ulrichs spoke publicly in defense of homosexuality. His ideas were well ahead of his time. Ulrichs believed that gender identity and sexuality were related but not bound together. Likewise, he argued that both gender and sexuality were innate and not learned or acquired.
Ulrichs is one of the most overlooked individuals in the LGBTQ+ movement and only recently has he begun to receive the acclaim and recognition he deserves.
Pride Reading List
Being part of the world’s biggest independent bookstore, there’s no shortage of incredible books by, for, and about LGBTQ+ people. These are just a few of our favorites.
Odd Voices: An Anthology of Not So Normal Narrators
Love_Is_Love: An Anthology for LGBTQIA+ Teens
LGBTQIA+ For Kids: A Coloring and Activity Book
DESTINY With My Two Mommies Who Love Me!!
Keep Teaching Pride
June is just one month to focus on LGBTQ+ rights and justice, but treating people equally and compassionately should be every day. Take the opportunity this June to help your kids learn a little more about Pride and LGBTQ+ rights. But don’t stop there.
Keep teaching tolerance. October is LGBTQ+ History Month, another opportunity to go deeper into the lessons we looked at today or any other teaching resource out there. Help your kids understand history and they’ll grow into thoughtful and empathetic adults.