Beacon Press: A Queer History of the United States for Young People Discussion Guide
Login Cart

A Queer History of the United States for Young PeopleTeachers’ Guide: A Queer History of the United States for Young People


Download the Teachers’ Guide

Note to Educators:

In the prologue to A Queer History of the United States for Young People, Michael Bronski notes that the “official” history of our nation often ignores certain groups of people, or erases parts of their identity, when they are mentioned in textbooks. He states, “For LGBTQ people—and especially youth and people just coming out—it’s not as easy to find out our true history. It’s not taught in schools” (p. xviii).

It is extremely important for all students to understand the accomplishments, achievements, and contributions that lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and other queer (LGBTQ) individuals have made to United States history. LGBTQ students need role models that reinforce it is okay to be queer and that they are not alone. For the non-queer student, it is equally essential to learn that LGBTQ individuals were fighting for many social justice and issues throughout US history. Bronski acknowledges, “If we are erased from the history books, then how can we ever know who we are? This absence, this erasure, denies us the right and the ability to use our history as a guide, to feel pride in the heroism and accomplishments of the LGBTQ people who came before us. And it denies us the ability to use this history as a guide to the future so we can follow in their footsteps” (p. xix).

A Queer History of the United States for Young People, adapted by Richie Chevat, provides a glimpse into some of the many contributions that queer people have made throughout our history. Loosely organized according to time period, the book offers biographical sketches of important queer figures in US history. Students have learned about some of these individuals, such as Emily Dickinson or Walt Whitman, in other contexts but may not know that they were queer. Other figures, such as Gladys Bentley, Kiyoshi Kuromiya, or Sylvia Rivera, will most likely be new to students. The time period in the book begins in 1500 CE and continues through today.

This discussion guide offers educators an opportunity to introduce queer history through a social justice lens and provides activities that extend Bronski’s book to other online and print resources for more in-depth discussions and conversations. Activities are tied to Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for grades 6–8 but can be modified for grades 9–12. An initial section identifies the specific CCSS in English Language Arts, Writing, and Literacy in History/Social Studies addressed throughout. The guide continues with activities that prepare students to think about the power of labels and words used to describe the queer community. The subsequent activities follow the main sections of the book, and the guide concludes with suggestions that extend topics and encourage students think critically about silenced voices.
back to contents

Important Note About Terminology

Bronski provides some basic explanation of words and terminology used by queer people in the introduction and then provides additional definitions in the glossary. Many of these terms have changed over time, and what was once an acceptable label is now considered offensive. The author notes throughout the text when he applies a queer label to a person that may not have been in use during the specific time period. The word “queer” is used throughout this guide to represent the LGBTQ community. While once considered an offensive term by this community, it has now been embraced by some parts of the LGBTQ population as a preferred catchall label.
back to contents

Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for Grades 6–8

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for grades 6–8 addressed in this discussion guide are listed below. The anchor standard is provided for English Language Arts, Writing, and Literacy in History/Social Studies. Specific grade level standards for a subject area can be found at the URL listed in each CCSS subject area. The abbreviation for each specific standard that will be found after recommended activities is located in bold italics after the description of the standard.

CCSS English Language Arts Standards: Reading: Informational Text and History/Social Studies
Anchor standards are listed below. Specific grade level standards are available at this URL by clicking on the corresponding grade: Reading Informational Text, and History/Social, Studies.
  • Read closely to determine what the text says explicitly and to make logical inferences from it; cite specific textual evidence when writing or speaking to support conclusions drawn from the text. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1
  • Interpret words and phrases as they are used in the text, including determining technical, connotative, and figurative meanings, and analyze how specific word choices shape meaning and tone. CCSS.ELA- Literacy.RI.6- 8.4; CCSS.ELA- Literacy.RH.6-8.4
  • Assess how point of view or purpose shapes the content and style of a text. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.6; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.6
  • Integrate and evaluate content presented in diverse formats and media, including visually and quantitatively, as well as in words. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6-8.7; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.7
  • Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.9; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.9
CCSS English Language Arts Standards: Writing
Anchor standards are listed below. Specific grade level standards are available here by clicking on the corresponding grade:
  • Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.1
  • Write informative/explanatory texts to examine and convey complex ideas and information clearly and accurately through the effective selection, organization, and analysis of content. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.2
  • Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, well-chosen details, and well-structured event sequences. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6-8.3
  • Use technology, including the internet, to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.6
  • Conduct short as well as more sustained research projects based on focused questions, demonstrating understanding of the subject under investigation. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.7
  • Gather relevant information from multiple print and digital sources, assess the credibility and accuracy of each source, and integrate the information while avoiding plagiarism. CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6-8.8
  • Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.9
back to contents

Activities & Discussion to Accompany the Introduction (pp. 1-12) & Present the Topic

These activities are meant to introduce the book’s topic and to create an open environment for conversations. Educators may want to pick and choose the activities best suited for their students.

Pre-Reading Activities & Ice Breakers:
  • Understanding Labels: Share the following with students: “Sometimes we give labels to people, places, and things as a way to better understand the world around us. Labels allow us to group like things together but sometimes only represent one of many aspects or traits that could be used to describe them.”
    • Read aloud the children’s picture book Red: A Crayon’s Story, by Michael Hall. In this book a blue crayon named Red is mislabeled with a wrapper that reads “red.” Everyone thinks the crayon is supposed to be red and criticizes him when he is unable to create red objects. Eventually, with encouragement, the crayon decides to create blue objects and succeeds, realizing that he is actually Blue Crayon. Educator’s Note: This picture book is an excellent way to introduce the topic of labeling to middle school students and to spark a general discussion about harmful labels.
    • Discussion Questions
      • Labels can be wrong, such as the label given to Blue Crayon. Have you ever been given a label? Describe a time when you were given a label that you did not like. How did that make you feel? Compare this to a time when you were given a label that you did like, explaining why you liked the label.
      • What is a label that you have heard other people use to describe another person? Do you think the label “fit” the person? Was it true? Explain.
      • Describe what you could do to help or support someone who has been given the wrong label.
  • What Is Normal?: Share the following with students: “Bronski writes about what is normal. The world ‘normal’ is a label that we use to describe things that a large number of people think is acceptable. ‘Normal’ can also be used to describe something that our parents, our teachers, and other adults believe is a trait that many people have in common based upon what they were taught by their parents or other adults. Sometimes our ideas of what is normal can change over time as we learn new things.”
    • Centering Activity to Be Led by the Educator:
      • Pick an attribute related to clothing or jewelry that you decide is “normal” and write it on the board. For instance, wearing socks with flip-flops or wearing a nose ring.
      • Tell students that this attribute is the new normal and that every student who is not currently wearing socks with their flip-flops or a nose ring will be penalized in some way. Alter this to fit the climate of your school. For instance, if students usually get a study period, state that students without socks and flip-flops or those without a nose ring will not get a study period for the rest of the month. Instead, these students, who are not normal or who are “abnormal” will have to spend that time cleaning the underside of desks and tables in the classroom with a toothbrush. Hold up a toothbrush for effect.
      • Discussion Question:
        • If you benefit from this new rule, how do you feel? If you don’t benefit from the new normal, how do you feel? Explain.
      • Explain that what is determined to be “normal” can be changed at any time by persons in power or authority.
  • Descriptive Writing Application to Topic: Share the following with students: “Throughout history, LGBTQ people have often been described as behaving in ways that are not normal. This was because they were in the minority, meaning there were more people that identified as heterosexual, or because people in power decided that being LGBTQ was abnormal.”
    • What would happen if today someone flipped a switch and it was normal in the United States to be LGBTQ but not normal to be not-queer? What if other countries in the world still considered straight to be normal?
    • Ask students to write a brief letter to a friend describing their reaction to the “new normal.” CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6-8.3
  • Am I Blue?: Read aloud the short story “Am I Blue?” by Bruce Coville from the book Am I Blue? Coming Out from the Silence, edited by Marion Dane Bauer. In this short story, the main character, Vince, is bullied by one of his classmates for being gay. He is rescued by his fairy godfather, Melvin, who grants him three wishes. For one of the wishes, Vince requests that all gay people turn blue. Magically, he notices people around town that are different shades of blue, including the school bully.
    • Writing Prompts:
      • Describe how you would feel if you were Vince and had the ability to see people in shades of blue? Would this change how you acted around blue people?
      • What would you say to the bully once you could see him as bright blue?
      • Some people believe the myth that all homophobic bullies are actually closeted LGBTQ individuals as described in this story. Think about bullies and homophobic people that you know or have encountered in other books or television shows. Are they all queer? Using your own experiences and information taken from resources in the library, create an argument that explains why all homophobic people are not queer. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.1
    • Explain to students that being blue is now normal. Have them write a short, imaginary blog post that recounts Vince’s story and describes their own reaction to waking up either (a) blue or (b) not-blue. The post should include descriptions of what it is like to be considered normal or not normal. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6-8.3; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.6
back to contents

Section I: America — New Beginnings, New Identities: 1500–1860

  • The term “two-spirit” is used in this section.
    • Discussion Questions:
      • What does it mean? What are some of the Indigenous words used by native populations to describe two-spirit persons? Some Indigenous people also choose to use the term “two-spirit” as a contemporary umbrella term. Explain why they might use this word along with, or in place of, other terms.
    • Activity:
      • Show Will Roscoe’s Two-Spirit Slideshow, which provides additional information about two-spirit persons.
      • Ask the following questions: How are two-spirit persons portrayed in this slide show? What else do you learn about two-spirit persons in history that is not shared in Bronski’s text? Describe what you think life is like today for two-spirit people? Explain your answer. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6-8.7; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.7
      • Show the short (2-minute) trailer for the PBS film The Bravest Choice Is To Be Yourself. In this clip, students learn the name of a contemporary 16-year-old two-spirit person who was murdered, and they also see several historical images of two-spirit persons.
      • Working in small groups, have students visit the school or public library to research additional information about contemporary two-spirit persons. Ask students to create a brief presentation with images that shares information about contemporary two-spirit persons. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.6; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.7
      • Ask students to share the presentation in class. After the presentations have finished, lead a discussion of comparing/contrasting two-spirit persons of the past and present. Educator’s Note: This is an extremely important point to explore with students, as they may erroneously believe that two-spirit persons are in the past, a concept often unintentionally promoted and reinforced about Native Americans throughout the curriculum.
  • On pages 19-20, the author shares passages from a journal and diary entry describing how two European men felt about two-spirit Native Americans.
    • What type of writing style do these men use? What words in the journal and diary entry are used to convey (or show) each man’s disgust? CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.4; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.4
    • Neither of these European men are Native American. How might their point of view on two-spirit identities change if they were Native American? CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.6; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.6
    • Do you think these men might have been afraid of, or disturbed by, two-spirit Native Americans? Explain.
  • Describe other passages from this section that show dislike for queer people. Why do you think queer people were hurt and mistreated? CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1
  • A photo of We’Wha, a Zuni native two-spirit person, is shown on page 16. But Bronski does not provide any information about We’Wha. Who was We’Wha?
    • Show Logo’s short online clip (45 seconds) about We’Wha as a way to introduce further exploration.
    • Provide students with background information about We’Wha.
    • Writing Activity: Using information shared in these informational sources, have students create a short 200-word biographical entry about We’Wha that could be included in the Bronski text to accompany the photo. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.2; CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6-8.8
  • No Room for the Merry: The Merrymount Colony Discussion Questions: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.4; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.4
    • Why did the Puritans feel threatened by the Merrymount Colony?
    • What are the roots of the Puritans’ religious beliefs system? What were some of the beliefs of the Merrymount residents? How did they conflict with Puritan beliefs?
    • What did the Puritans think was wrong with the maypole that the Merrymount people used in their celebration?
    • In chapter 2, the author states that the idea of Merrymount “has always been present in the United States and is with us today as well” (p. 27). What does Bronski mean by this statement? Describe examples of Merrymount ideas in society today.
    • Religion played a big role in the way that the Puritans felt about Merrymount. Describe how religion influences the ways—both positively and negatively—some people feel about the LGBTQ people and community today.

  • Public Universal Friend Discussion Questions: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1
    • Who was Public Universal Friend and why did Friend have a huge following?
    • What were some of Friend’s religious beliefs?
    • How did the colony established by Friend differ from that of Merrymount? Using a graphic organizer, compare and contrast the two colonies. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.2
    • Although Friend was said to be a friend to all, describe how you think Friend would have reacted to queer individuals. Provide evidence from chapter 3 to support your thoughts.
  • Deborah Sampson is presented by the author as an example of someone who fits today’s label “queer.” Discussion Questions: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1
    • Why is Sampson considered queer in Bronski’s text?
    • Do you think Sampson would welcome this label and being profiled in a book about queer American history? Explain.
    • Both Sampson and Friend resisted traditional gender expectations during their lives. Using a graphic organizer, compare and contrast Sampson and Friend. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.2
  • In chapters 5-7, the author describes how two men or two women would often develop close friendships with each other. Discussion Questions: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1
    • What examples from the text are given to explain why these close friendships developed?
    • In each of these chapters, readers are introduced to famous men who wrote letters to other men and to famous women who wrote letters or poetry to other women. Does expressing your feelings to someone of the same sex or same gender mean “that you love them or are sexually attracted to them”? Explain.
    • The terms “intersex” and “bisexual” are briefly mentioned here (and in the glossary at the back of the book).
      • According to the text, what do these terms mean?
      • Using a resource such as the definitions provided by Trans Student Educational Resources or those provided in The ABC’s of LGBT+ by Ashley Mardell, have students define “intersex” and “bisexual.”
      • Have students compare and contrast the different definitions of these terms and participate in a large group discussion. If it does not come up, prompt students to look up the word “hermaphrodite” and discuss how sometimes “hermaphrodite” and “intersex” are thought to be the same thing, but they are not.
      • Educator’s Note: You might also find this to be a good time to introduce the Gender Unicorn, created by Trans Student Educational Resources, to visually depict the difference among the terms “sex,” “gender identity,” and “gender expression.” Educators might also consider introducing students to the historical overlap of various LGBTQ terms, as well as how the terms have changed over time as we have acquired a more nuanced understanding of biology and identity. One useful resource is Safe Zone Project’s LGBTQ+ Vocabulary Glossary of Terms.
back to contents

Section II: American Freedom Begins to Bloom — Change and the Civil War: 1860–1875

  • In chapter 8, we learn about Albert Cashier, a retired soldier from the Civil War, who was assigned female at birth and identified and dressed as a man. Discussion Questions: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1
    • What was Cashier’s birth name and where was the soldier born?
    • o How did Cashier end up in a state mental hospital? Why was Cashier forced to wear dresses?
    • According to the text, some retired soldiers supported Cashier’s desire to wear trousers and traditional “men’s” clothing. Write a persuasive letter to the state hospital, from the point of view of one of the soldiers, asking that Cashier be allowed to wear the clothing of his choice. Include your own reasons but also be sure to cite specific examples from the chapter given as reasons why the soldiers supported Cashier’s choice. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6-8.3
    • On page 67, Bronski states that “there are over four hundred documented cases of women who dressed as men to fight in the Civil War.”
      • Using the school or public library’s print and online resources, identify one of these women and create a one-page biographical profile that describes the person’s life before, during, and after the Civil War. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.2; CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6-8.8
      • Be sure to include at least one visual, preferably a photograph of the individual if it is available.
      • Creatively present your biographical profile to the class.
  • Charlotte Cushman was considered one of the greatest American female actors in the mid-1800s.
    • Discussion Questions: Although the term “lesbian” was never used in this chapter to describe Cushman, what specific evidence from the text does the author use to suggest that she was a woman who loved women? Does the author make a convincing argument that Cushman was a queer woman? Explain. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1
    • Play all or a portion of the Folger Shakespeare Library’s podcast “I Will Assume Thy Part in Some Disguise”/“Charlotte Cushman: When Romeo Was a Woman
      • Have students identify additional information about Cushman from the podcast that is not included in chapter 8. What new information did they learn from the podcast? Why do they think this information was excluded from chapter 9? CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.7; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.7
    • Exploring Types of Writing: Show students the online article “Breaking: Is Charlotte Cushman Cheating on Her Wife Emma with Her Gal Pal Emma?” Discussion Questions: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.6; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.6; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.9; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.9
      • From the title of the article, how do you think information about Charlotte Cushman will be presented? What style of writing does the Autostraddle blog use to introduce readers to the life of Cushman?
      • Although the writing style of this article is different from Bronski’s, is it less credible? Support your stance with specific examples from the article and chapter 9.
      • Explain when the writing style of the blog would be more useful. Also describe when the writing style of Bronski’s book would be better.
      • Educator’s Note: Some of the content on Autostraddle may not be appropriate for all middle school students. Concerned educators might consider printing and distributing the article to their students or speaking with their students about how to determine what is an age-appropriate resource.
  • In chapter 11, Rebecca Primus and Addie Brown are introduced as a potentially lesbian or bisexual couple. Discussion Questions: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1
    • Cite specific examples from the chapter that the author uses to suggest Primus and Brown were a couple.
    • Writing Prompt: Both women were African American. What challenges might they have faced both being Black and loving women? Use information from the text as well as information found from other informational sources (online or print) to support your answer. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.9
    • On page 88, Bronski describes “the battle over who is American” and the formation of the Know-Nothing Party and the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1
      • Why were the Know-Nothing Party and the KKK formed? Why were certain groups of people targeted by the KKK or the Know-Nothing Party?
      • Writing Prompt: Primus, Brown and other African Americans would have been targets of the KKK. Write a persuasive letter to the government urging it to protect these targeted groups from the KKK. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.3
      • The “battle over who is American” is still present today. Using current news stories from reliable information sources, write a contemporary trends blog article that describes which groups of people are considered by some people in the United States as not being true Americans. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.8
      • Extension Discussion: Throughout its history, the KKK has targeted racial minorities, religious groups such as Jews and Catholics, and queer individuals. In 1937, it attacked the La Paloma night club, which was associated with the Cuban and Caribbean community, in Miami, Florida. Share with students the Time magazine article “Why a Forgotten KKK Raid on a Gay Club in Miami Still Matters 80 Years Later.” Lead a discussion on the following:
      • Why do you think the La Paloma attack is not as well-known as the raid on the Stonewall Inn or the Pulse nightclub in Orlando?
      • What are some other examples of the KKK attacking the LGBTQ community? Using informational sources from the school or public library, create a timeline of various contemporary events that demonstrate attacks by the KKK, as well as by other hate groups, on the queer community. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.3; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.7
      • Educator’s Note: Topics about hate groups have the potential to be traumatizing for groups targeted by these groups. Educators should practice mindfulness to ensure that students of color and queer students feel supported during these discussions.
back to contents

Section III: New Americans — Boldly Challenging Society: 1875–1900

  • Victoria Woodhull was an outspoken, free-thinking woman during a time when many women did not have the right to vote and often endured restrictions based upon their class, race, social standing, and marital status. Discussion Questions: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1
    • Using information presented in this chapter, describe some of the important “firsts” that define Woodhull’s life. How did these accomplishments set her apart from other women?
    • What was the Free Love Movement, described in chapter 12? What was Woodhull’s role in this movement, and why was she called Mrs. Satan in a political cartoon in Harper’s Weekly?
      • Looking at the primary source of the political cartoon on, notice the caption that was published with the cartoon on February 17, 1872. What does this caption mean when used along with the cartoon? Is this meaning the same as the one that Bronski uses under the cartoon in chapter 12? Describe why you think Bronski did not show the original caption. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.9; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.9
    • Using credible informational sources found online, determine if the Free Love Movement is still active today and how it changed over time. Write a brief summary of your findings, including a timeline of events. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.8
    • Woodhull was asked by the Equal Rights Party to run for president. What issues did this party support? Who did Woodhull choose as her vice presidential running mate? Why was this choice important during this time period?
      • Using the text from the primary source document Equal Rights Party Platform (1872) found on, describe other reasons the Equal Rights Party chose Woodhull. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.9; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.9
    • Woodhull was not a lesbian. What was her role in queer US history? Do you think it was an important one? Use specific examples from the text to support your argument.
  • Both Jane Addams and Lillian Wald made significant contributions to living, work, and health conditions for lower socioeconomic communities. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1
    • Cite specific examples from the text that describe each of these women’s roles in improving life for the poor.
    • Addams had multiple aspects of her identity that made her an outsider. Identify these aspects and describe how they may have influenced the work that she did.
    • There is considerable, historical information about Addams available online. Divide the class into small groups and have students further explore the life of Addams and the contributions she made to society in general. Ask them to use a graphic organizer to compare and contrast the ways that Addams is presented in these sources vs. in Bronski’s chapter. Also have students identify which sources mention her romantic and sexual relationships with women and which ones don’t. Ask students to describe why this part of her identity might be glossed over in some of these information sources. Possible sources include
  • Julian Eltinge was famous for his female impersonations. Bronski states that Eltinge was the “most famous cross-dresser in America” during his lifetime. Discussion Questions: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.4; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.4
    • Describe specific examples of Eltinge’s success, mentioned in chapter 14.
    • The chapter states, “William Julian Dalton spent a lot of time confusing people.” What was confusing about him? Is Bronski’s use of the word “confusing” meant to be an insult or a compliment? Explain.
    • Show students an example of Eltinge’s performances, which can be found online as part of the New York Foundation for the Arts’ project “Lady Bill . . . The Story of Julian Eltinge.” Educator’s Note: This website includes several parts of a video documentary about Eltinge with considerable information about the performer. After showing students some of the performances by Eltinge, continue with the following questions:
      • Julian insisted that he was not gay, even though people may have thought this because he performed as a female impersonator. Why might others assume that cross-dressing on stage means someone is gay?
      • Julian insisted he was a “real man.” What do you think he meant, in the time he was living, by this label? Do you think he meant that “real men” aren’t gay or that “real men” don’t enjoy wearing women’s clothing? Explain.
      • How do you think queer people, at the time, might have felt about Eltinge’s performances and statements? Explain using details from the book.
back to contents

Section IV: A New Century of Freedom — Radical Visions, Revolutionary Actions: 1900–1960

  • Chapter 15 describes some of the accomplishments of Marie Equi, the doctor and radical activist. Discussion Questions:
    • Equi had many similarities to Jane Addams. Compare and contrast the lives of these two women who loved other women and fought for the rights of struggling people.
    • Equi is one of the few queer mothers covered in Bronski’s book.
      • Have students use biographical information about Equi provided in the book and additional information available online via educational resources to gain a better understanding of her many accomplishments.
      • Ask students to write a journal entry from the point of view of Equi’s daughter, Mary, where she describes one of her mother’s accomplishments from a teenager’s perspective. Students should include a reference citation at the end of their entry to any historical fact mentioned. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.3; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.7
  • Several terms or labels to describe the queer community, such as “pansies” and “bulldaggers,” are introduced in chapter 16. These terms were used within and outside the queer community. Discussion Questions: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.4; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.4
    • What do each of these labels mean? When used by non-queer people, do you think these labels were meant to be demeaning?
    • These labels—often originating in mainstream culture—were used by the queer community to describe themselves. How do you think people in that community felt about the labels being used by others? Why did they adopt these labels to describe themselves? Are any of these labels still used today?
  • According to Bronski, Gladys Bentley was “billed in Harlem as Broadway’s Queen of Song and Jazz.” Show photographs of Bentley from this time period using the Smithsonian Year of Music resource “Gladys Bentley: Blues Singer.” Discussion Questions: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1
    • Provide specific examples from the text that show Bentley was respected as a musician.
    • Bentley both recorded music and performed songs on stage. In her recorded music, she sang about women loving men, but in her live music she would change pronouns to sing about women loving women.
      • Explain why Bentley changed her song lyrics.
      • Listen to an online sample of Bentley’s music and rewrite the song, changing the pronouns. Describe how the message of the song changes, just by replacing one or two words. Educator’s Note: Some of Bentley’s songs may contain descriptions and language that may be uncomfortable for some students. Be sure to preselect songs for students to analyze. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.6
    • Bentley had a thriving career in Harlem during a time when systemic racism influenced the lives of all African Americans. While there was racism in the North, many African Americans in the South faced more pervasive discrimination, as well as the ever-present threat of violence and death.
      • Describe how Bentley’s life would have been different if she lived in a Southern state versus in New York City.
      • Using informational sources from the school or public library to learn more about the lives of Southern African Americans during this time period, construct a graphic organizer that compares and contrasts Bentley’s life in Harlem to what it would have been like if she grew up in a Southern town like Birmingham, Alabama, or Jackson, Mississippi. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.9
    • Later in life, during the 1950s, Bentley began dressing more like other women during performances and married a man.
      • On page 125, Bronski notes, “We don’t know exactly why Bentley changed as she got older. Perhaps she felt pressure from the push for socially conservative attitudes in the 1950s.’ According to the African American Registry online, Bentley gave very specific reasons for changing.
        • Read the article “Gladys Bentley, More Than a Liberated Singer.” Using specific examples from the text, explain why Bentley changed. Why might she turn to religion? Why do you think this information is not specifically explained in Bronski’s chapter? CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.9; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.9
        • What other populations were being targeted by “witch hunts” during this era in history?
        • Write a private journal entry from the point of view of Bentley where you express your feelings about having to change your identity in order to save your life. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.3
  • On page 132, Bronski states, “World War II was a turning point for LGBTQ people and their community.” Discussion Questions: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1
    • Provide specific examples from the text that demonstrate how the lives of LGBTQ people changed during this time period.
    • Do you think it as important today, as it was following WWII, for queer people to live in communities with a large LGBTQ population? Describe the advantages and disadvantages of living in communities with a large LGBTQ population.
  • Mattachine Society. Discussion Questions: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1
    • What was the Mattachine Society and how was it formed? Using specific examples from chapter 18, describe the role this society played in queer US history.
    • Numerous chapters of the Mattachine Society were formed across the United States. Watch the brief (1.5 min.) archival film clip from PBS, What Was the Mattachine Society? CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.7; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.7
      • Describe why you think the president of the Florida chapter, Richard Inman, denies being gay.
      • Inman also states that homosexuals do not want to be married or adopt children. Why might he say this in the era of the pre-Stonewall 1960s? Do you think this is true? Based upon information from Bronski’s book, provide an example of homosexuals adopting children or having entered into marriage-like relationships.
      • If some queer people during the mid-century said they did not want be married or adopt children, why do some people in the queer community today want to adopt or marry? What has changed?
  • Daughters of Bilitis. Discussion Questions: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1
    • What was the Daughters of Bilitis organization and how was it formed? Using specific examples from chapter 19, describe the role of this organization in queer US history.
    • Why were the Daughters of Bilitis founders critical of the Mattachine Society?
    • Listen to the interview with Phyllis Lyon on about how Daughters of Bilitis was created. What additional information do you learn from the interview?
    • Compare and contrast the perspective of the recorded interview vs. Bronski’s text. Do you find one format more engaging than the other? Explain. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.6; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.6; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.7; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.7
    • Explain when the format of an interview would be useful. Also describe when the format of Bronski’s book would be better.
back to contents

Section V: Revolutionary Changes — The Seeds of Protest Begin to Bloom: 1960–1977

  • Pauli Murray was an advocate for many marginalized groups during this time period. Discussion Questions: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1
    • Describe some of these groups and how Murray worked for their civil rights.
    • How do you think Murray’s own identity influenced her decision to work for equal rights?
    • Many queer people, often from discriminated or marginalized communities, have fought for equal rights for marginalized people. Choose another individual introduced in Bronski’s book and compare and contrast that person’s civil rights work with Murray’s work. Use a visual organizer as needed. Be sure to include specific examples from the text. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.2
    • Murray coined the phrase “Jane Crow.” How is “Jane Crow” different from “Jim Crow”? Using print and digital informational sources from the library, write a news article that describes some of the US laws or social beliefs and policies today that specifically exclude particular marginalized groups of people. How have current social conditions changed for these groups compared to the time period in Section V? CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.9
    • Murray’s life was positively influenced by religion. Using specific examples, describe how she was treated by the church compared to other queer persons mentioned in Bronski’s book.
  • Bayard Rustin was an African American gay man who was very active in many different civil rights movements for marginalized populations. Discussion Questions: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1
    • Create a timeline of Rustin’s work with these movements, noting influential people in his life. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.2
    • While working in some of the civil rights organizations throughout his life, Rustin was frequently asked to “abandon his homosexuality.” Explain why he refused to act straight.
  • Carl Wittman wrote Refugees from Amerika: A Gay Manifesto in 1969, which took ideas and language of other civil rights movements and applied them to the queer community in a public, political statement.
    • Exploring the Manifesto: Divide students into small groups. Using the archived digital version of Wittman’s manifesto, have each group choose a different section of it and examine the text to identify politicized, emotionally charged, or potentially controversial words. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.4; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.4; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.6; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.6
      • Have students create a list of these words, as well as any definitions provided in their section.
      • Ask students to consider why these specific words might have been used by Wittman and the influence these words had on the overall message of the manifesto.
    • Wittman’s manifesto was radical for its time. Much has happened in queer history since the manifesto was written. Is it still relevant today? Using information about more recent queer history in other sections of this book, choose an issue identified in the manifesto and create a persuasive argument that shows how the issue is still important in our current society. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.1
  • Understanding the National Organization for Women and the Lavender Menace. Discussion Questions: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1
    • Why was the National Organization for Women (NOW) important for equal rights for women?
    • What was the Lavender Menace and what role did it play in queer history?
    • Using information from the text, describe why some women in NOW did not like the Lavender Menace.
    • The Lavender Menace also had an important role in feminism. What does the word “feminism” mean? Using a Venn diagram, show where feminism and the Lavender Menace overlapped. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.2
  • In chapters 23 and 24, the author describes the important contributions of Rita Mae Brown and Gloria Anzaldúa. During this time period and in the decades before, James Baldwin’s work also was equally important to queer history. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.9; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.9
    • Provide students with selected works of Baldwin, Brown, and Anzaldúa (these can be excerpts). Have them read over these selections and identify any passages, stories, etc., that might have been important to the queer community and describe why these were important.
    • What can readers learn about queer culture from the works of these authors? Have students provide specific examples.
    • All three of these authors had other aspects or parts of their identity that made them a minority. What are some of these aspects? Are any of these aspects described in their written work?
    • Both Anzaldúa and Baldwin write about their racial and ethnic identities in their work. Describe how their race and ethnicity impacted or intersected with their queer identities?
back to contents

Section VI: Backlash — Years of Struggle and Resistance: 1977–1990

  • In chapter 25, Bronski describes how different types of music are embraced by different types of people. Discussion Questions: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1
    • During the 1970s, what types of music were popular with the queer community? What specific music artist(s) are mentioned as being enjoyed and celebrated by the queer community?
      • What contemporary musical artists are embraced by the queer community today? Using print and online informational sources from the school or public library, identify a contemporary musical artist and describe why their music is popular with the queer community or why the queer community looks up to them. Do any of these artists identify as queer? Do you think this makes a difference in their popularity? CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.2; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.7
    • Anita Bryant is mentioned as a musical artist who opposed the queer community and legal equality for queer people in the 1970s.
      • Using information from the chapter, describe why she felt that queer individuals were dangerous to society. Be sure to explain specifically what she did and how she made her views publicly known.
      • Describe how the queer community responded to Bryant and expressed their discontent toward her views.
  • HIV and AIDS began appearing in the queer community in the early 1980s and by the ’90s, many queer people and gay men, including men who had sex with men, had died from the complications resulting from an HIV infection. Bronski’s text provides some information about the AIDS crisis. Discussion Questions: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1
    • According to this chapter, what caused the spread of HIV/AIDS to the point that it became a national health crisis? Describe how the US federal government responded. How was this response similar to the response of many who were not part of the LGBT community? What was the influence of these responses on the spread of HIV/AIDS? Explain if AIDS is still a problem today.
    • Explore the topic further: Have students read the book VIRAL: The Fight against AIDS in America by Ann Bausum.
      • How is the writing in Bausum’s book different from Bronski’s text? What specific language does she use to make the reader sympathize with people with AIDS/HIV? CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.9; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.9
      • What topics does Bausum bring up in her book that are not covered in Bronski’s text? Have students brainstorm a list of these topics and then choose one topic that they think should be added to Bronski’s section on HIV and AIDS. Ask students to create a brief paragraph, using expository writing, that introduces their topic and could be added to Bronski’s book. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.3
  • San Francisco was considered to be a safe place for the queer community in the late 1970s. However, both Robert Hillsborough and Harvey Milk were gay men murdered in San Francisco, in 1977 and 1978, respectively. Discussion Questions: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1
    • Why were each of these men murdered? Using information from the text, compare and contrast the two murders and the sentencing of the killer for each of these men.
    • Using credible informational sources from the school or public library, identify queer people today who have been murdered because of their identity. If the people convicted of these crimes have been sentenced, how does it compare to the sentencing for the killers of Hillsborough and Milk? Are people given more or less time now for murdering a member of the queer community? Do you think the sentencing has anything to do with how current society views queer people? Explain. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.8
  • In chapters 27-29, Bronski presents the lives of three people of color—Essex Hemphill, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Kiyoshi Kuromiya—who were instrumental during this time period in the fight for rights for persons of color as well as queer individuals. Discussion Questions: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1
    • Using examples from these chapters, describe how each of these individuals worked to bring about unity and understanding.
    • Is racism still a problem today in the queer community? How do communities of different races and ethnicities, including white communities, engage in queerphobia today? Use information from Bronski’s book, as well as credible information sources from the library, to support your argument. Educator’s Note: A helpful resource on this topic would be We Are Everywhere: Protest, Power, and Pride in the History of Queer Liberation, by Matthew Reimer and Leighton Brown. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.8
  • In the Prologue (xi–xx), Bronski describes his experiences during this time period and through the time period covered in the next section. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.6; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.6
    • How is the author’s description of historical events or groups such as the Gay Liberation Movement different in the prologue compared to those in Section V, VI, or VII?
    • Identify specific examples of language use or writing style that demonstrate how information is presented differently.
back to contents

Section VII: Moving Closer to Liberation — The Future Is in Sight: 1990–Present

  • Bullying is a problem that many LGBTQ students have experienced in the past and today. Discussion Questions: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1
    • Who is Jamie Nabozny and why was he bullied in school? Describe how his teachers and school faculty responded to his bullying.
    • Nabozny eventually filed a lawsuit against his school. What was the outcome of the court case and how did it help with the fight for queer equality?
    • Imagine you have a classmate like Nabozny who is bullied for being queer. Brainstorm ways that can you help them. Describe what it means to be an ally to someone who is queer. Identify online resources that you could share with queer classmates to help them get help. Educator’s Note: This is a great opportunity to share multiple anti-bullying resources available online. One example is GLSEN’s free Safe Space Kit. Also check out the Trevor Support Center, part of the Trevor Project, which provides a host of topics with questions and answers that LGBTQ youth would find helpful. It Gets Better has hundreds of videos of celebrities, teens, and everyday people offering words of encouragement to queer youth. It also has a page of national hotlines where queer youth can get help.
  • Jack Baker and Michael McConnell were the first gay couple to be legally married in the US, decades before it was legal for two people of the same sex to marry. Discussion Questions: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1
    • Using information from the text, describe how the couple was able to marry.
    • Watch the short (approx. 4 min.) online clip “The Longest-Married Gay Couple in the U.S. Tells Their Story.” The clip introduces the couple, shows footage of their wedding, and follows an interview with them about their story. Describe the type of storytelling or narrating used in the news story. How is it different from that of the Bronski chapter? CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.7; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.7
    • Now that you been introduced to the couple through the clip, what are things you notice about them? Think about an older heterosexual couple such as great-grandparents or another couple. How are Baker and McConnell like them? How are they different?
  • Both Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson are important trans figures in queer history and played a role in the Gay Liberation Movement. Discussion Questions: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1
    • What were the Stonewall Riots and how did they start?
    • Describe the role of both Rivera and Johnson in GLF, the first radical LGBT political group, and in queer history. Be sure to mention S.T.A.R.
    • Why do some people in the queer rights movement—historically and currently—ignore the rights of trans people?
    • Watch the short (5 min.) online clip about the lives of Rivera and Johnson from People magazine. Compare and contrast the way the duo is portrayed in the clip versus the portrayal in Bronski’s chapter. What new information do you learn? How is the information presented differently? Is the audience for these two informational sources the same? CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.7; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.7
  • Many queer people choose to come out while others do not. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1
    • Using the information in chapter 33, describe some of the queer people who came out and the reaction of others (their family, friends, the public) when they heard the news. Why do you think others acted the way that they did? Why do some people support the queer community but others do not?
  • Contemporary Biographies Activity: There are many contemporary queer individuals that have made a lasting impact or brought about significant change in the queer community. Some of these people are briefly introduced in this section while others are not. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.2; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.6; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.8
    • Have students brainstorm a list of additional contemporary queer individuals who have made a difference in the queer community.
    • Tell students that the class will create an updated digital biography collection of contemporary queer figures. Note that the word “subject” is used to describe someone who is the focus of a biography.
    • Using informational sources found online or in print resources from the school or public library, have students use research skills to find biographical information about a contemporary queer individual/subject. This can be someone brainstormed in class or a new person. (One helpful online resource for identifying subjects is GLSEN’s LGBTQ+ History Cards Bios. A useful print resource to identify subjects is Queer Icons from Gay to Z: Activists, Artists & Trailblazers, by Patrick Boyle. Educators can consult the bibliography to this guide for other recommended resources that profile queer heroes.
    • Have students draft a brief (300-400 word) biographical description of their chosen person that could be added to the class digital biography.
    • Ask students to use persuasive language to create a short statement as to why their person/subject should be included in the class digital biography.
    • Using Adobe Spark, PowerPoint, or another digital tool, have students create a presentation that highlights the biographical description of their selected person and is accompanied by photographs.
    • Subject Smackdown: Each student will introduce their chosen subject to the class via their presentation. Using their persuasive statement, students will try to convince the class why their subject should be added to the class digital biography. After everyone has presented, the class will cast anonymous ballots to select a specified number of subjects for the digital biography. If they think all subjects should be included, then they should provide a persuasive rationale.
back to contents

Beyond the Book: Follow-Up & Extension Activities

  • Missing My Face: Bronski’s book defines many words and labels used to describe the LGBTQ community. However, in the introduction, it does not introduce readers to the labels “asexual” or “intersex,” which is how some members of the queer community describe themselves. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.2; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.8
    • Using a resource such as GLSEN’s Key Concepts and Terms or Welcoming Schools’ LGBTQ Definitions for Adults, define each of these words and other terms that may be missing.
    • Ask students why they think the author might not have included these labels in the introduction.
    • How would someone who is part of the LGBTQ+ community feel if their identity and subgroup was missing from a queer history book?
    • Working with the school librarian or local young adult public librarian, have students use informational sources to identify a notable asexual or intersex person.
    • Ask students to use expository writing and create a brief entry for this individual that could be included in an expanded edition of Bronski’s book. Remind them to cite their information sources.
    • Educator’s Note: You might consider having a discussion with students about the different ways that Bronski defines some terms compared to the way these terms are defined by other resources such as GLSEN or Welcoming Schools. This could lead to a discussion about the use of language, changing terminology, etc. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.4; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.4
  • Queer Teen Fiction vs. Nonfiction Comparison: CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.1; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.6- 8.6
    • Identify a historical fiction novel with a queer character that is either featured in Bronski’s text or lived during a time period covered in Bronski’s text.
    • Read the novel.
    • Create a blog post for a classroom blog on queer literature for teens that compares and contrasts the way the topic is presented in the novel versus the Bronski text. Be sure to identify literary devices used by the authors to present the information and describe how this influences the reader.
    • Educator’s Note: Two examples of potential books are Ziggy, Stardust and Me by James Brandon and Soldier’s Secret: The Story of Deborah Sampson by Sheila Solomon Klass. Additional books can be found on literary blogs of queer YA literature such as YA Pride, via booklists such as the Rainbow Book List, or book awards like the Stonewall Book Awards.
  • Trans History Visual vs. Written: This book briefly introduces a few key historical moments for trans people. This is also accomplished online in digital sources such as films. Lead students in a discussion about how the medium for sharing information influences the way the audience responds. CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.7; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.7
    • Show the short (4 min.) online film A Trans History: Time Marches Forward and So Do We. This film, produced by the ACLU and narrated by Laverne Cox, briefly introduces the problems faced by the trans community, noting trans heroes such as Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson. Sketchnoting is used in the film to capture the essence of Cox’s narrative.
    • Ask students to respond to the film. What do they like/dislike?
    • How does the information in the film differ from the information presented in the various sections of this book?
    • Does the digital format make the film more interesting than the information presented in the book format? Explain.
    • Do the creators of the video use any persuasive devices or techniques to encourage viewers to like it? Does Bronski use any persuasive devices throughout the book to encourage readers to like it? CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.6- 8.6; CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.6
    • Which source would be better for a school report on the topic of trans history? Explain.
back to contents

Additional Resources

This list contains both print and digital resources used in this educator’s guide, as well as supplemental sources to further explore topics and themes related to LGBTQ history. Some titles are meant to be background reading for educators and others are meant for use by students with various reading abilities in grades 6-8.

Print Resources:

  • The ABC’s of LGBT+, by Ashley Mardell. Mango Media, 2016.
  • Am I Blue? Coming Out from the Silence, edited by Marion Dane Bauer. Harper Collins, 1994.
  • Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin. Candlewick, 2014.
  • Gay & Lesbian History for Kids: The Century-Long Struggle for LGBT Rights, by Jerome Pohlen. Chicago Review Press, 2016.
  • The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle, by Lillian Faderman. Simon & Schuster, 2015.
  • Global Encyclopedia of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ) History, edited by Howard Chiang. Charles Scribner & Sons, 2019.
  • LGBTQ+ Athletes Claim the Field, by Kristin Cronn-Mills. Twenty-First Century Books, 2016.
  • Pride and Joy: LGBTQ Artists, Icons and Everyday Heroes, by Kathleen Archambeau. Mango Media, 2017.
  • Queer Icons from Gay to Z: Activists, Artists & Trailblazers, by Patrick Boyle. Smith Street Books, 2019.
  • Red: A Crayon’s Story, by Michael Hall. HarperCollins, 2015.
  • Representing the Rainbow in Young Adult Literature: LGBTQ+ Content since 1969, by Christine Jenkins and Michael Cart. Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2018.
  • Rethinking Sexism, Gender, and Sexuality, edited by Annika Butler-Wall, Kim Cosier, Rachel Harper, Jeff Sapp, Jody Sokolower, and Melissa Bollow Tempel. Rethinking Schools, 2016.
  • The Routledge History of Queer America, edited by Don Romesburg. Routledge, 2018.
  • Soldier’s Secret: The Story of Deborah Sampson, by Sheila Solomon Klass. Henry Holt, 2009.
  • Stonewall: Breaking Out for Gay Rights, by Ann Bausum. Speak/Penguin Random House, 2016.
  • The Stonewall Riots: A Documentary History, by Marc Stein. NYU Press, 2019.
  • Understanding and Teaching U.S. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History (The Harvey Goldberg Series for Understanding and Teaching History, 2nd ed., edited by Leila J. Rupp and Susan K. Freeman. University of Wisconsin Press, 2017.
  • VIRAL: The Fight against AIDS in America, by Ann Bausum. Viking Books for Young Readers, 2019.
  • We Are Everywhere: Protest, Power, and Pride in the History of Queer Liberation, by Matthew Reimer and Leighton Brown. Ten Speed Press, 2019.
  • We Make It Better: The LGBTQ Community and Their Positive Contributions to Society, by Eric Rosswood and Kathleen Archambeau. Mango, 2019.
  • What Was Stonewall?, by Nico Medina. Penguin Workshop, 2019.
  • Ziggy, Stardust and Me, by James Brandon. G. P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, 2019.

Online Resources:
back to contents

This teaching guide was created by Dr. Jamie Campbell Naidoo, Foster-EBSCO Professor at the University of Alabama School of Library and Information Studies. Jamie researches and consults regularly on topics related to LGBTQIA+ children’s and young adult literature and library services to Rainbow Families. He has worked with teens and children in both school and public libraries. Additional information about his work can be found at

Download the Teachers’ Guide

back to contents