Share Diverse Perspectives: Pride Month Activities for Students
The Classroom

Share Diverse Perspectives: Pride Month Activities for Students

Newsela Editorial
May 17, 2024

Each June since 1999, the United States has recognized, remembered, and celebrated the contributions that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, queer/questioning, asexual, and others who identify as part of this community (LGBTQIA+) have contributed to all aspects of our society. As the school year comes to a close and you start preparing for summer learning, we’ve curated a selection of Pride Month activities for students to help them better understand why we mark this important month on our calendars:

Recognize Pride Month history and events in your classroom with social studies activities

Help students discover how and why people celebrate Pride Month. Use Newsela Social Studies to cover topics like:

What does it mean to be LGBTQIA+?

The first Pride march took place in New York in 1970, and since then, Pride events have celebrated love, acceptance, and visibility. But what does it mean to be part of the LGBTQIA+ community? Explore that question with your students with content like:

  • An article that explains what each of the letters in LGBTQIA+ stands for.

  • A guide that shows how gender-neutral language is developing around the world.

  • An article that explores the complexities of gender and gender identity in cultures worldwide.

LGBTQIA+ trailblazers and activists

The landscape of the LGBTQIA+ movement has changed a lot in the last 100 years, largely due to the work of brave leaders and activists who fought for their rights. Teach students about some of these trailblazers, like:

  • Tennis star Billie Jean King, who has fought for equality and freedom her entire life both on and off the court.

  • Author James Baldwin, and how his works on race and society helped him become an influential writer of the 20th century.

  • Politician Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in United States history.

LGBTQIA+ arts and sciences

The LGBTQIA+ community has influenced all areas of pop culture, from movies and television to music and art. Show students some of their accomplishments with content that covers topics like:

  • How musician Lil Nas X coming out has influenced the traditionally macho culture of hip-hop music.

  • How Cartoon Network’s animated series “Steven Universe” was one of the first of its kind to present diverse LGBTQIA+ relationships among its characters on television.

  • The life and legacy of artist Keith Haring, and how he used his art to raise awareness for AIDS, which he died from in the 1990s.

LGBTQIA+ victories over the last 10 years

LGBTQIA+ rights and issues aren’t new, but the community has seen a significant number of victories in achieving equal rights in the last decade. Have students learn about some of these monumental events, like:

  • The 2015 Supreme Court ruling that allowed same-sex couples to marry

  • The historic 2017 victory of transgender Virginia state lawmaker Danica Roem, who became the first openly transgender person elected and seated in a state legislature in the United States.

  • How Las Vegas Raiders player Carl Nassib became the first active NFL player to come out as gay in 2021.

LGBTQIA+ rights

What does it mean to have equal rights? You can use news articles to help students explore different regulations, laws, and policies that affect the rights of those in the LGBTQIA+ community, like:

  • How the Boy Scouts of America began welcoming transgender children to join their organization in 2017.

  • The aftermath of the Florida Pulse nightclub shooting, which sparked a political debate about terrorism, hate crimes, and gun control.

  • Multiple perspectives on the gender-neutral and transgender bathroom and locker room laws that were passed and then repealed by the U.S. government.

The lives of LGBTQIA+ kids and teens

When most people consider social justice and equal rights, they think about how these efforts affect adults. But LGBTQIA+ kids and teens also want representation and to have their voices heard. Explore some of the issues that may matter most to your students, like:

  • Having gender-neutral prom courts to be more inclusive.

  • Reviewing research about why more U.S. teens than ever before are identifying as transgender or other nontraditional gender terms.

  • Discovering how more LGBTQIA+ storylines are hitting the big and small screens with TV shows like “Andi Mack” and movies like “Love, Simon.”

Create richer Pride Month activities with the Newsela LGBTQIA+ Studies Collection

Want to go even more in-depth with your Pride Month lessons this year? The Newsela LGBTQIA+ add-on for Newsela Social Studies helps cultivate more inclusive, identity-affirming classrooms by representing and celebrating LGBTQIA+ people. Ask your district administrator if you have access to this collection or contact us to learn more about adding it to your Newsela Social Studies subscription.

Meet creatives in the LGBTQIA+ community with ELA activities

Learn more about how to celebrate LGBTQIA+ authors and their works during Pride Month with ELA activities. Use Newsela ELA to create lessons on topics like:

LGBTQIA+ authors 

More authors are part of the LGBTQIA+ community than your students may realize. Help students get to know them with content like:

  • An interactive video that explores the life of Black poet and essayist Audre Lorde and how her works explore intersectionality, identity, and activism.

  • An article about Mexican-American writer Gloria Anzaldua and how she used her art to share information about her identity, her culture, and important social issues with the world.

  • An interactive video about writer Lorraine Hansberry, the first African-American woman to have a play staged on Broadway.

Poetry and inclusivity in social movements

Poetry is an effective medium for helping people think about and understand the perspectives of others. Use this content to help students think about how poetry can become part of social movements, like fighting for LGBTQIA+ rights:

  • Have students read “A Short Note to My Very Critical and Well-Beloved Friends and Comrades” by June Jordan and discuss the themes of identity and belonging.

  • Meet Bayard Rustin, one of Martin Luther King Jr’s allies in organizing the 1963 March on Washington despite discrimination due to his race and sexuality.

  • Discover how potlucks have been a hallmark of lesbian culture since the 1950s and how these gatherings brought people from the LGBTQIA+ community together in new ways.

Celebrating Pride and protest

Build background knowledge about Pride Month and the LGBTQIA+ rights movement by focusing on key activists and the protests they’ve used to get their messages heard:

  • Discover how the rainbow flag became one of the defining symbols of the LGBTQIA+ movement.

  • Learn more about Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, transgender activists who played key roles in the Stonewall riots and early days of the gay rights movement in the 1970s.

  • See how divisions form even within the LGBTQIA+ community when people introduce other factors like race into social justice conversations.

Novel studies for Pride Month 

If you’re exploring novels and nonfiction books that include themes of Pride, identity, and intersectionality in your classroom, use our Novel and Book Studies Collection to build background knowledge on each topic and extend students’ learning. Some of our LGBTQIA+ novel and book studies include:

Explore diversity with Pride Month science activities 

Diversity is all around us, including in the sciences! Help students learn more about LGBTQIA+ inclusion with articles on topics like:

  • NASA astrophysicist Jane Rigby, who received the honor of being named LGBTQIA+ Scientist of the Year in 2022.

  • How some people of the LGBTQIA+ community still experience discrimination in STEM fields and what some leaders are doing to change that.

  • JKX Comics, a publishing company that combines a love of comic books and science and focuses on diversity and inclusion in its content.

Newsela goes beyond Pride Month

We hope these resources make it easier to help you develop relevant, engaging lessons about LGBTQIA+ history, influence, and achievements in your class. But Newsela has even more great content, interactive activities, and assessment tools that you can use all year long. Not a Newsela customer yet? Sign up for Newsela Lite to explore the best of all our premium product features. Plus, as a Newsela Lite member, you can sign up for a free trial of Newsela’s premium products!

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