We recognize LGBTQIA+ History Month in October and Pride Month in June. LGBTQIA+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual.
LGBTQIA+ History Month was founded in 1994 by high school history teacher Rodney Wilson. October was chosen because Oct. 11 is National Coming Out Day (established in 1979). This month also includes Spirit Day on Oct. 20 where people are encouraged to wear purple in support of LGBTQIA+ youth and Ally Week, which commemorates the tragic death of Matthew Shepard.
Pride Month in June is a celebration of the 1969 Stonewall Uprising which led LGBTQIA+ Americans to fight for equality and justice. The purpose of this month is to celebrate our diverse identities and the impact the LGBTQIA+ community has had on our country.
Resources on the two recognition months: Why Do We Celebrate Pride Month in June and LGBT History Month in October? and GLAAD blog on celebrating LGBTQIA+
Students have perpetually asked for representation and celebration for contributions to American society. Representation and seeing diverse perspectives helps to build a society where we feel valued and seen.
Resource on LGBTQIA+ icons: LGBT History Month
Information on the FAIR Education Act
Under the Fair, Accurate, Inclusive, and Respectful (FAIR) Education Act, the state of California requires schools to teach about the contributions of women, people of color, and other historically underrepresented groups. On Jan. 1, 2012, the state updated these guidelines to end the exclusion of people with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people from history and social studies lessons.
According to the California Safe Schools Coalition, "In schools where LGBT people are included in classroom discussions, results have been positive. The Preventing School Harassment Survey in California found that schools where the majority of youth report having learned about LGBT people in the curriculum, only 11% of students report being bullied, but that number more than doubles to 24% if the majority of students in a school say they haven’t learned about LGBT people. Furthermore, the 2003 Preventing School Harassment Survey found that students who have learned about LGBT people at school were more likely to feel they have a voice at school and make positive contributions at school."
Resources on the FAIR Act: FAIR Act FAQ and LGBTQIA+ Student Experience Panel video
Can Students Be Too Young For This Topic?
Name-calling and using anti-gay and anti-trans slurs starts as early as kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd grades. At a very young age, children have already been introduced to information about LGBTQIA+ people, which is often based on misinformation and negative stereotypes. When adults are silent about LGBTQIA+ people, students learn from this omission that it is acceptable to use homophobic and transphobic put-downs. These slurs are hurtful and unacceptable and they affect the lives of people in every school and community. Teachers are not introducing a new topic, they are helping young students understand bias and prejudice and learn to use respectful language. Educators are creating inclusive school communities that prevent name-calling, teasing, and bullying and provide safe learning environments for all children.
LGBTQIA+ Professional Learning
SDCOE provides LGBTQIA+ professional learning opportunities and coaching for educators to better understand and support LGBTQIA+ youth. Learn more about these learning sessions and our services or email Ebonee Weathers (she/her/hers).
Recommended Websites for Additional Learning
Welcoming Schools recommended books
Teaching LGBTQ History About the FAIR Education Act
GLSEN Developing LGBTQ-Inclusive Classroom Resources
GLSEN Educator Resource