When Did it Happen? LGBT History Lesson



All of your students can benefit from a more comprehensive and inclusive understanding of history. Use this interactive lesson as a fun way to explore a timeline of important people and events in U.S. LGBT history. Increase visibility, challenge stereotypes, encourage critical thinking and connect to people and events in your existing curriculum.



  • Increase student knowledge of LGBT history
  • Increase critical thinking related to the inclusion and exclusion of LGBT history in schools



  • Part 1 – Introduction/Discussion (5 – 10 Minutes)
    Goal: Students will be introduced to the activity and begin discussing LGBT people and history.Activity: Begin by telling students that this activity covers some major events and people in LGBT history in the United States. Let them know that this is an interactive lesson and they will be working with each other.
    • –  Ask students to tell the class what they already know about LGBT history.
    • –  Ask the class why they think they know so little about LGBT history?
    • –  Ask the class why they think they haven’t been educated about this group of people?
    • –  Let the class know that only 10% of students are taught positive LGBT‐related themes in class.
    • –  Ask them what they know about current LGBT issues.


  • Part 2 – Form a Line (10– 15 Minutes)Goal: Students will work together to find the answers to the LGBT history cards.Activity: Give each student a card with an LGBT historical event on it. Tell students to walk around the room discussing their LGBT event with other students. Let the students know they need to work as a group, to decide when these events happen. Tell students to form a line from the earliest event to the most recent. Designate one side of the room as the earliest, and the other side as the most recent.


  • Part 3 – Discussion (10 – 15 Minutes)

    Goal: Students will learn the dates of the LGBT history events while discussing the events and their effects.

    Activity: Have students read aloud their event. Let students know the dates of the events and make corrections to the line as needed.

    Engage students in a guided discussion using these questions:

    • –  What did you learn from this activity?
    • –  What surprised you? Why?
    • –  Did you find this timeline difficult? Why? Are there other communities of people in  the United States whose own history timeline might be challenging to do? Why?
    • –  What other groups have been consistently left out of or misrepresented in our history      books?
    • –  What is the impact of the invisibility of a group of people? And LGBT people in specific?


    • Part 4 – Sign Creation/Closing (10 – 15 Minutes)
      Goal: Students will create signs pertaining to LGBT people and historical events to hang in the classroom or as displays throughout the school.Activity: Have students work alone or in pairs to create their signs. Tell the students to reflect on a specific historical event, and to think about why they have never heard about this event before. Ask them to create a visual representation of the event, which also reflects on the silencing of LGBT people and history. As an alternative, students can write a poem about the historical event. Hang the signs and poems throughout the classroom or school for other students to see.



For use in grades 9-12



35-60 Minutes



– See more at: http://www.glsen.org/article/when-did-it-happen-lgbt-history-lesson-grades-9-12#sthash.t3k1NUI9.dpuf