LGBTQ History and Heroes

Men, women, transgender, and nonbinary persons have fought for the last sixty years to be seen and treated as everyone else is treated. Resources and discussion questions have been curated for Middle and High School students. 

LGBTQ Heroes and History
Credit: MY HERO

History of the LGBTQ movement and early activists. 

This film, The Top 10 Important LGBTQ Movements in US History, looks at the most important LGBTQ milestones in US History. These moments include the Stonewall Riots, the first Pride parade, the publishing of The Transsexual Phenomenon,  the passing of the Matthew Shepard Act, and more. Although the introduction of bills and laws is definitely monumental, the filmmakers have chosen to exclude events like the introduction of the Equality Act and instead focus on the legislation once they have been passed.

Top 10 Important LGBTQ Movements In US History

Produced by:Jaimie Roussos
In honor of Pride month, this film looks at at the most important LGBTQ milestones in US History.

Discuss how the way society deals with LGBTQ+ issues has changed. 


Marsha P. Johnson was an American gay liberation activist who was a prominent figure in the Stonewall Uprising of 1969. After learning about Marcha P. Johnson, research the Stonewall Uprising. Who were others involved? Share their story with MY HERO.

Marsha P. Johnson

By: Robin Venter
Marsha P. Johnson was an American gay liberation activist/advocate for gay rights. Johnson was one of the prominent figures in the Stonewall uprising of 1969

Marsha P. Johnson / Catmose College / Their Stones

By: Ned Evans

In 1978, Harvey Milk was one of the first gay public officials in San Fransisco. His dream was for a better tomorrow filled with hope for equality and a world without hate. It is recommended students read the essay and research Harvey Milk. Discuss how he was influential as an early LGBT activist. Do you know anyone in your community who is a LGBT activist? Consider sharing that story with MY HERO.

Harvey Milk

By: Jordan from San Diego

Story written by a student from San Diego.

Harvey Milk by Marilyn Huerta from California

By: Marilyn Huerta

Harvey Milk was an American politician and first openly gay elected official in California who advocated for gay rights

The Mayor of Castro Street: The Triumphs and Tragedies of Harvey Milk

Angela Kim

The Following Film The Mayor of Castro Street: The Triumphs and Tragedies of Harvey Milk Is Recommended for High School Students (10 min. run time) 

Harry Hay was an American Gay Rights Activist and the co-founder of Mattachine Society, the first sustained gay rights group in the United States. 

Harry Hay (1912 - 2002) by Robert Shetterly, AWTT.org was a prominent American gay rights activist and labor advocate

By: Robert Shetterly



"Out of the mists of our long oppression,
We bring love for ourselves and each other,
And love for the gifts we bear,
So heavy and so painful the fashioning of them,
So long the road given us to travel them. A separate people,
We bring a gift to celebrate each other,
'Tis a gift to be gay!
Feel the pride of it!"

- Harry Hay -

Learn about Karl Heinrich Ulrichs - the first known activist for gay rights and Lili Elbe who was one of the first transgender women to receive sex reassignment surgery.

Karl Heinrich Ulrichs

By: Maddy from San Diego

Karl Heinrich Ulrichs was the first known activist for gay rights.

Lili Elbe

By: Eren Knudsen

Lili Elbe was one of the first transgender women to receive sex reassignment surgery.


Alan Turing is known as the Father of Computer Science for developing the idea for the first computer and a test for artificial intelligence. The first story has text and audio allowing students to listen as they read along.

Alan Turing

By: Edward Ortiz

Alan Turing was a brilliant British scientist and mathematician who laid the theoretical groundwork for the first computer. (Story with text and audio)

Alan Turing

By: Keegan Goodwin

Detailed story about Alan Turing.

How was each of the individuals in the stories and portraits of trailblazers and early LGBT activists?  

Do you know anyone in your community who is an LGBT activist? Share their story with MY HERO. 

Janet Miller is a teacher at Hoover Middle School who wanted to create a safe learning environment for all students regardless of their sexuality.

Janet Miller

Producer: The Working Group

Janet Miller leads her students to stand up for their LGBT peers.

Janet Miller

By: David from The MY HERO Project
Janet Miller is a teacher who stepped up to prevent bullying of LGBT students.

After watching the movie and reading the story, students discuss the benefits of a Gay Straight Alliance and what they can do to ensure their school is accepting and supportive of all members of their community. Share your story with MY HERO.


Students watch the film, I Have Four Parents, about Daniel Roy who has four parents: two moms and two dads. They're not divorced and he is not adopted. His dads are gay and his moms are lesbian. The two couples had been friends for many years and then decided to have a child and co-parent. 

I Have Four Parents

Daniel Roy
This video is a magical rendition of the story of my very unique four-parent family. Everything I talk about in the video is true, and these are the answers to the questions I most commonly get asked.

After viewing the film, discuss the different structures of student families in your class.

Selection of Short Films

From AIDS to Advice: LGBTQ+ Seniors Tell Their Stories

Sophie Kim
Nine LGBTQ+ senior citizens share their experiences, including coming out stories, life during the HIV/AIDS crisis, and advice for LGBTQ+ youth, parents, and allies.

Austin Police Department & LGPOA: It Gets Better

Producer: Steven McCormick/Shawn Northcutt

The Lesbian & Gay Peace Officers Association sends a message to LGBTQ youth that it does get better.

Interview with Georgia Bridgers (LGBTQ YouTuber)

Kitty Richardson
An interview with Georgia Bridgers, a YouTuber, on how she uses her channel to promote LGBT acceptance.

Love Has No Labels

Produced by:Prod. The Ad Council / Dir. R/GA
The Love Has No Labels campaign challenges us to open our eyes to our bias and prejudice and work to stop it in ourselves, others and institutions.

Half-century of Love Drives Couple's Pride

Produced by:Sam Wolson
Donald Bird and David Young have married each other three times

Short Films About Transgender Youth

TRANSPARENCY: Becoming Oliver

Tessa Grace Morell
Experimental short film made to visually accompany the original poem "Becoming Oliver" written by Oliver Marino.


Caroline Callender & Silver Liftin
Each day, different people experience and view the world through entirely different lenses, based on those identities. Often, we forget that this is the case.

The Toothmans

Hansen Bursic

Deb and Jim Toothman and their transgender daughter Cooper Toothman, talk about their struggles with acceptance both within their family and in the community.

What is your reaction to the opinions expressed in these films? Do you know anyone who is transgender, or a family with a transgender member? Share their story with MY HERO.

Selection of Stories

Danica Roem

By: Kathryn Atwood
Danica Roem is the first transgender elected official in the state of Virginia.

Felix Gonzalez-Torres

By: Robin Venter

Felix Gonzalez-Torres was a Cuban American visual artist whose work reflected the LGBT community and the AIDS epidemic. (Story with Text and Audio)

Frank Mugisha

By: H. Doerflein from Madison
Ugandan LGBT advocate who has won the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.

Laverne Cox

By: Michelle from San Diego
"Cox doesn't want to be seen as an icon or a hero, she just wants to prove that everyone is human and even if they may be different that just makes them special."

James Baldwin

By: Eric from Elmhurst
James Baldwin was a famed African American novelist and essayist whose writings dealt with homosexual issues before the gay liberation movement.

Ingrid Nilsen

By: Mia Islas

Naya Rivera: Performer, Mother, Daughter, Friend, and Inspiration

By: Cara Jonas Delos Reyes
Naya Rivera was an actress who portrayed Santana Lopez on the TV show Glee and was a pioneer in Afro-Latinx and gay Latinx representation.

Freddie Mercury

By: Camellia from San Diego

Freddie Mercury was the memorable lead singer of the band Queen.

Oscar Wilde

By: MY HERO Staff
Oscar Wilde was a famous 19th century playwright, epigrammatist, poet, dandy and all around wit.

Selection of Artwork

Gay Activists depicted by EB protest to change our world for the better

By: EB

Marsha P. Johnson

By: Robin Venter
Marsha P. Johnson was an American gay liberation activist/advocate for gay rights. Johnson was one of the prominent figures in the Stonewall uprising of 1969

Inspiration by Alex is dedicated her two courageous moms

By: Alex Hunt

Harry Hay (1912 - 2002)

By: Robert Shetterly

Henry "Harry" Hay, Jr. was a prominent American gay rights activist, communist, labor advocate, and Native American civil rights campaigner. 

James Baldwin by Robert Shetterly, AWTT.org

By: Robert Shetterly

Lady Gaga, Singer and Activist by Yvonne LaPointe

By: Yvonne LaPointe
Lady Gaga is not only a wonderful entertainer but she has started the Born This Way Foundation


Laura Nietzer

This LGBTQ+ resource was created by MY HERO Education Outreach Director Laura Nietzer.

Organizer created on 6/29/2022 9:15:19 AM by Laura Nietzer

Last edited 5/2/2023 11:21:50 AM by Laura Nietzer