Teaching While Queer: One Teacher on Being Out in the Classroom

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on June 25, 2020

In a recent interview, I spoke with educator Emily Hainesteacher and literacy coach at the Laboratory School of Finance and Technology in the South Bronx. A founding teacher at the Facing History School in Manhattan, Haines discusses her experience being an out lesbian, white, middle-class teacher over her 22-year career, as well as approaches she recommends to LGBTQ educators she coaches and how she deploys intersectional thinking to support members of her school community.

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Topics: Upstanders, Racism, LGBTQ

Centering Queer History and Students in the Classroom: Insights from Eric Marcus

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on June 17, 2020

Eric Marcus, host of the acclaimed Making Gay History podcast and author of Making Gay History, spoke with Facing History in a recent webinar about teaching students with LGBTQIA+ histories and experiences in mind. Marcus’ critically acclaimed podcast is based on a wealth of exclusive interviews he conducted with LGBTQIA+ people beginning in the 1980s. Here we highlight some of Marcus’ most essential insights about the importance of teaching and learning LGBTQIA+ history, as well as the impact on students with those identities.

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Topics: LGBTQ

New Books on LGBTQIA+ History and Life

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on June 10, 2020

As Pride Month begins this June, Americans are met with a more limited set of options for gathering in groups to celebrate, resist, and learn. As Pride marches are canceled and reimagined in this moment of social distancing, we also have an opportunity to dive into the richness of LGBTQIA+ history and life through a wealth of books written by LGBTQIA+ people and allies. For educators and others eager to deepen their own learning on these subjects, the following 6 titles released this year provide new perspectives on this community’s history, its unsung heroes, the history of gender-neutral pronouns, and the intersection of sexuality and gender identity with other dimensions of identity. 

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Topics: Books, LGBTQ

June is Pride Month

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on June 1, 2020

June is Pride Month in the United States—a time to honor our nation’s diversity in terms of sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as the array of experiences, struggles, and visions that LGBTQIA+ people bring to the world. Originally instituted to honor the Stonewall Riots of 1969, Pride Month has grown to encompass a vast and rich array of events that reflect the diversity of the community itself. And yet, this Pride Month is different from any other in recent memory. Even as social distancing disrupts the typical array of in-person gatherings, marches, and celebrations, LGBTQIA+ people and allies are still finding many ways to connect, learn, reflect, and resist.

Stay tuned over the coming weeks for these new offerings on the histories, experiences, and brilliance of LGBTQIA+ people:

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Topics: LGBTQ

Teaching LGBTQIA+ Students: Insights from Harvey Milk High School

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on June 28, 2019

Harvey Milk High School was the first high school in the world designed for LGBTQIA+ students when it opened in New York City in 1985. In a recent interview, I spoke with two Harvey Milk staff—clinical social worker Tanya Koifman and social studies teacher Natalie Velazquez—about some of the unique challenges facing LGBTQIA+ students today, the depth of resilience their students exhibit, and strategies educators can use to engage LGBTQIA+ students everywhere.

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Topics: New York, Teachers, LGBTQ

Remembering Stonewall on the 50th Anniversary

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on June 26, 2019


Widely considered the event that inaugurated the modern gay rights movement, this Friday, June 28th marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.

Stonewall was the culmination of a number of efforts that had been bubbling just beyond public perception for decades and finally burst into view when a group of LGBTQ people facing ongoing police brutality and economic exploitation fought back at New York City’s Stonewall Inn.

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Topics: Memorials, New York, Universe of Obligation, Racism, LGBTQ

Brother Outsider: Remembering Gay Civil Rights Leader Bayard Rustin

Posted by Kaitlin Smith on June 17, 2019


LGBTQ Pride Month every June is an opportunity to explore and amplify the stories of LGBTQ people past and present. But even during Pride Month, we seldom hear stories of LGBTQ people of color. Described as the “unknown hero” of the Civil Rights Movement, Bayard Rustin was the openly gay African American civil rights activist who served as the chief organizer of the historic March on Washington.

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Topics: Civil Rights Movement, LGBTQ, black history

Engage! (ing) Summer Reads

Posted by Tracy O'Brien on June 13, 2019



Summer is a time for relaxation. However, many of us also seek books and stories that will immerse us in the experiences of others, or will help us stay engaged in making a better world. Here are six picks that will teach, challenge, and inspire us.

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Topics: Democracy, Immigration, Race and Membership, Holocaust Education, LGBTQ, Reading List

Stonewall Was Important But Not Because it Was First

Posted by Mark Krone on June 4, 2018

In June 1969, when I was 12, I walked into my mother’s bedroom late one night when news broke on her radio that homosexuals were rioting in Greenwich Village. She was incredulous that people she viewed as physically reticent could be knocking over garbage cans and rocking police cars. “Now, they’re rioting? Even them?” My mother did not mention who “they” were and certainly did not know that her own son was one of “them.” And no one knew that night that a bunch of runaways and street kids who hung out at a gay dive bar called The Stonewall Inn, would inspire LGBTQ people and others to this day.

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Topics: LGBTQ

Student Voice: The Power of Identity

Posted by Stacey Perlman on March 1, 2017

Cicada Scott, the winner of last year's Facing History Together Student Essay Contest, wrote an eloquent essay about life as a non-binary gender teenIn light of recent news about the rollback of federal protection for transgender students, Cicada's reflection on the power of understanding one's own identity is more timely than ever. Read our Q&A with Cicada and check out this year's prompt for the 2017 Facing History Together Student Essay Contest. Submissions are open until March 15. Students and teachers will have the chance to win more than $25,000 in scholarships and awards.

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Topics: To Kill a Mockingbird, Contests, Student Voices, Writing, LGBTQ

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Welcome to Facing Today, a Facing History blog. Facing History and Ourselves combats racism and antisemitism by using history to teach tolerance in classrooms around the globe.

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