Unheard Voices: Stories and Lessons for Grades 6-12

GLSEN, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and StoryCorps have collaborated to create Unheard Voices, an oral history and curriculum project helping educators integrate lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) history, people and issues into their instructional programs.


At the core of Unheard Voices are brief audio interviews with individuals who bore witness to or helped shape LGBT history in some way.

Listen to the interviews below or download the MP3 files for later use. 



Each intereview has a downloadable transcript to help students follow along visually and examine the nuances in the stories. 

Download transcripts for each individual, below, or find the combined files in the blue Resource Downloads box on the right. 


Each interview is accompanied by classroom materials that include:

  • Student handouts highlighting the personal and historical context.
  • Questions to discuss with students following the interview.
  • Suggested activities and assignments for extended learning. 

Download materials for each individual, below, or find the combined files in the blue Resource Downloads box on the right. 


Unheard Voices also has middle and high school lessons that explore broader themes:

  • “A Peculiar Disposition of the Eyes”: The Invisibility of LGBT People in History
  • The History and Impact of Anti-LGBT Slurs
  • In-Group, Out-Group: The Exclusion of LGBT People from Societal Institutions
  • Winning the Right to Marry: Historic Parallels
  • Understanding Gender Identity

Download the Thematic Lessons, and accompanying resources, in the blue Resource Downloads box on the right.





 Kendall Bailey: Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Five years later he was a sergeant assigned to a recruiting office in Virginia and was considering becoming career military. At StoryCorps, Kendall told his friend, Don Davis, how because of Don't Ask, Don't Tell those plans changed.

RIGHT CLICK & SAVE TO DOWNLOAD:  Interview Transcript     Classroom Materials     MP3



David Barr: The Early Days of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic

David Barr was a young man when the first cases of AIDS were diagnosed. While many people he knew were getting sick and dying, Barr began working in the community to fight the epidemic. The work of Barr and his colleagues changed the response to AIDS in the U.S. and galvanized the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community.

RIGHT CLICK & SAVE TO DOWNLOAD:  Interview Transcript     Classroom Materials     MP3




Terry Boggis: LGBT Family Rights

Terry Boggis was one of the founding members of Center Kids, Center Families, a New York City based LGBT families program, in 1988. That same year, her son, Ned was born. Here, Boggis talks about parenthood.

RIGHT CLICK & SAVE TO DOWNLOAD:  Interview Transcript     Classroom Materials     MP3



James Dale: Takes on the Boy Scouts of America

In 2000, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) could refuse membership to people who


identify as gay. It was a ten-year court battle. The plaintiff in the case was James Dale, who began scouting when he was eight years old. By the time he entered Rutgers University he had achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. Here, James remembers how he ended up as a lightning rod for gay rights in the United States.

RIGHT CLICK & SAVE TO DOWNLOAD:  Interview Transcript     Classroom Materials     MP3



Jamison Green: Transgender Activist

Jamison Green is an activist and writer who has worked on behalf of transgender men and women for more than 20 years. Jamison transitioned from female to male in 1988. Here, he speaks with his daughter, Morgan Green, about what life was like for him as a child.

RIGHT CLICK & SAVE TO DOWNLOAD:  Interview Transcript     Classroom Materials     MP3




Michael Levine: The Stonewall Rebellion

Michael Levine was at a popular gay bar in New York City in June 1969 when it was surrounded by police. At the time, the vice squad routinely raided and emptied gay bars. Patrons usually complied with the police - frightened at being identified publicly. But this


particular Friday night was different because patrons at the Stonewall Inn stood their ground.Here, Michael Levine reflects with his friend, Matt Merlin, on what happened that night.

RIGHT CLICK & SAVE TO DOWNLOAD:  Interview Transcript     Classroom Materials     MP3




Phyllis Lyon: The Daughters of Bilitis and the Homophile Movement

Phyllis Lyon has been a gay rights activist for over fifty years. She was one of the founding members of the Daughters of Bilitis - a group named for a lesbian character in French poetry. Formed in 1955, it was the first lesbian rights group in the United States. Here,


Phyllis tells her friend, Margie Adam, about coming of age in an era when sexuality was rarely discussed.

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Charles Silverstein: Declassification of Homosexuality as a Mental Illness

Between 1952 and 1973, homosexuality was classified as a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association. Gay men and women across the country were subjected to a variety of treatments aimed at curing their "condition." During that era, Dr. Charles Silverstein was in graduate school training to become a psychologist. Here, he talks about his role in changing the medical

Charles Silverstein

community's ideas about homosexuality.

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David Wilson: Struggle for Marriage Equality

David Wilson and his partner, Rob Compton, were two of the plaintiffs in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health - the landmark state appellate court case in Massachusetts that awarded marriage equality to samesex couples in the state. Ten years before the

David Wilson

lawsuit, David Wilson was living with his first partner, Ronald Loso, outside of Boston, until November 29, 1994. Here, Wilson remembers that day. 

RIGHT CLICK & SAVE TO DOWNLOAD:  Interview Transcript     Classroom Materials     MP3