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Using the LGBTQ History Coloring Book

LGBTQ History

GLSEN’s LGBTQ History Coloring Book (avaliable for download in color or B&W) features leaders and groundbreaking events in American history that highlight people with LGBTQ identities. By bringing this book into classrooms, students can learn about icons like Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, inspirational trans women of color who amplified the LGBTQ Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, and We’Wha, a creative and talented indigenous, two-spirit Zuni tribe member from New Mexico. These leaders and events for this first edition were chosen by our National Student Council of young LGBTQ leaders to highlight the diversity within the LGBTQ community, and shed light on the influence of LGBTQ leaders who are all too often erased.

It’s imporant to bring LGBTQ visibility into your classroom, in any subject area and grade. GLSEN research shows that LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum not only affirms LGBTQ students and assures them of their connection to history, but it also provides opportunities for non-LGBTQ students to question stereotypes and better understand the world around them.

To conclude the activity, remind students that when we hear about history, we often don’t hear about the history of marginalized people and communities, or learn about the sexuality and/or gender identity of certain historical figures, such as Bayard Rustin.

This book should be used to supplement and support conversations you are already having about LGBTQ icons and history. Go to for more LGBTQ history resources.

  • Be sure to begin with photos, articles, or books about these icons before passing out coloring book pages to your students. While students are encouraged to add details to the backgrounds and choose the fabulous colors on Marsha P. Johnson’s necklaces, it is important that they do their best to represent the skin tone of these historical figures. This can be a great opportunity to discuss the beauty of the diversity of skin tones as well as the importance of racial identity along with LGBTQ identity.
  • Some LGBTQ icons and events from this book come from the LGBTQ Civil Rights Movement. These pages can be used to support discussions about activism, making change, other social justice movements, and the 1960s in America.
  • Students can be broken into groups and each given a page of the coloring book to learn about, color, and share with the class. Alternatively, each day or each week can begin with learning about one of these events or icons at a time.
  • GSAs can use this coloring book to learn more about LGBTQ history, and can color and share with the rest of their school to spread LGBTQ awareness and celebration.
  • Coloring can be for adults too! While this is a classroom resource, the adults in your school or family members in your community can also use this book to learn more about LGBTQ history.
  • Stay tuned for our second edition! We will continue to grow this coloring book resource with more pages for LGBTQ history each year. Check out our interactive history timeline at for an interactive list of iconic people and events to learn about this year.

Bringing the LGBTQ History Coloring Book into your classroom can bring to life these often untold stories and can also begin a celebration of LGBTQ history and identity in your school.