Hidden Homophobia Unit

This lesson plan is to accompany the Teaching Tolerance magazine article "Exposing Hidden Homophobia"

Lesson One:

• Students complete a timed writing assignment using the following prompt:

One way in which we are all similar is that we all have differences. Sometimes these differences make lives better (in Tuesdays with Morrie, Morrie's illness helped countless other prioritize their lives); however, at times these differences cause great pain (Hester Prynne's scarlet letter). Write a three paragraph essay, due at the end of the hour, in which you describe your biggest difference from others and the way it impacts your life.

  • At least 3 paragraphs
  • Personal narrative ("I" is acceptable)
  • Students have entire hour to complete the essay

Lesson Two:
• Watch Trevor; students take notes on Trevor's life. What does he do that makes people object to him? Why are other people intolerant of him?
• Notes defining terms: homophobia, heterocentrism, heterosexism, and erasure.
• Homework: Students write one paragraph providing examples of behaviors relating to each term listed above.

Lesson Three:
• Heterosexual Questionnaire: Take questions commonly asked of homosexuals and ask them of heterosexuals (example: When did you decided to become heterosexual?).
• Discuss Allport's 5 Levels of Prejudice
• Discuss paragraphs and differences between terms learned on Day Two.
• Homework: Read "A Rose for Charlie." Take margin notes regarding intolerance shown towards Charlie and the different levels of prejudice seen in the story.

Lesson Four:
• In groups students discuss their notes on "A Rose for Charlie". As a group, go through the story and discuss the political impact of the criminals going without punishment.
• Notes on the "discrimination gap" theory and what that means, or should mean, to our society.
• Watch PBS special about Billy Jack Gaither.

Lesson Five:
• Finish video about Billy Jack Gaither and discuss different levels of homophobia that are apparent in society.
• Notes on different ways homophobia can be expressed.
• Homework: Students need to find examples of this occurring in our society.

Lesson Six:
• Students share their examples. As a class, we devise a list of ways we can try to stop the homophobia we see in our society.
• Introduce portfolio assignment and due dates.
• Go to the computer lab to start typing notes and examples.

Lesson Seven:
• Time in the computer lab to type notes and find examples.

Lesson Eight:
• Discuss the different novels the student can choose for their literary circles. Different novels include: Rainbow Boys, Rainbow High, Rainbow Road, Getting It, A Tale of Two Summers, The Laramie Project, So Hard to Say, Geography Club, Esaura Tuaolo ...
• Groups of at least three must choose one book that they will read and report about back to the class.
• Start reading.

Lesson Nine:
• Assign roles in each group.
• Explain expectations of the literary circles.
• Students start reading and recording their findings.

Lesson Ten:
• Groups report back to the large class about the exposition of their novels. Students also discuss any intolerance they see in their novels.
• Use examples of intolerance to discuss intolerance that they see happening with their peers.
• Homework: Think of ways the characters could hinder the mistreatment of others.

Lesson Eleven:
• Students watch 60 Minutes "Gay or Straight"
• Students have time to read their novels.

Lesson Twelve:
• Within literature circles students discuss how family members or friends of the characters mistreat others when they are intolerant. Lead discussion to whether students see this in reality.
• Watch MTV's True Life: Gay Parents video

Lesson Thirteen:
• Discuss, first in literature circles then as a large group, how the people in the MTV video would have been treated at our school. Now students must address the question: How can we change our school to welcome all people? – this is a writing prompt that they must have finished for tomorrow. It will be assigned at the end of the hour.
• Before the writing is assigned, the students should meet and discuss the novels they are reading, with a focus on the positive steps society is taking, in each book, toward full acceptance of all persons. Once they create their lists, we will put them on the board. This is a great starting point for their writing assignment.

Lesson Fourteen:
• Discuss and collect writing assignment.
• Faculty Advisor from the Gay/Straight Alliance comes in to speak to the class about questions they may have and what happens at a GSA meeting. Students are offered extra credit to go to a GSA meeting and participate in the discussion.
• If your school has no Gay/Straight Alliance, students can hold a debate on whether they should form one.
• Students are given the remaining ten minutes to silently read their novels.

Lesson Fifteen:
• Students, in their literature circles, are going to write a quiz that covers both the books and notes we have taken for this unit. Each quiz must be worth 20 points, but it may not have any more than 15 questions. Students must have one essay question that asks the students to analyze the text with an application of the notes. All other question formats are their decision. Note: students must provide the answers for the quizzes as well.

Lesson Sixteen:
• As a large group, we go over the quizzes. Even though all students will not know the answers to specific book questions, they will be able to practice applying the notes.
• Students are expected to finish their novels for the next day. In addition, students are assigned a current events homework assignment. Students must find one social organization that promotes human rights.

Lesson Seventeen:
• Students share their current events and we discuss them along with the outcomes of their novels. This will take the entire hour if not two class periods.

Lesson Eighteen:
• Continuation of discussion

Lesson Nineteen:
• Students are given the day to complete Jeopardy review questions. Each literary circle makes questions for their book; I write the questions for the notes. We will play this tomorrow.

Lesson Twenty:
• Students play Jeopardy.

Lesson Twenty-one:
• Test

Lesson Twenty-two:
• Students are given specific instructions regarding their individual portfolios. I also show them some examples of artifacts that they could use in their portfolios.
• Go to the computer lab to work on portfolios.

Lesson Twenty-three through day Twenty-seven:
• Computer lab to work on portfolios

Lesson Twenty-eight:
• Students return to classroom to watch Race, Gender, and Sexuality. They are required to take notes on the video. Notes will be used for tomorrow's discussion.

Lesson Twenty-nine:
• Discuss video.
• Watch The Laramie Project (takes three days)

Lesson Thirty:
• Portfolios are due

Lesson Thirty-two:
• Finish movie. Students present their portfolios to the class.