resources / Teaching Ideas

Introducing 5 memorable LGBTQ poems for the classroom

Two people are standing side by side with their backs facing the viewer. The person on the left has an inclusive Pride flag draped over their shoulders while the person on the right has a rainbow Pride flag draped over theirs. The background is a blurred sky. The image reads, "5 LGBTQ poems for the classroom"

Give your students a chance to understand and celebrate diversity with these five LGBTQ poems for the classroom. They make the perfect addition to any secondary ELA curriculum!

An inclusive Pride flag hangs behind the title "5 Memorable LGBTQ Poems for the Classroom"

*Please note: I identify as Queer and will often interchange terms like LGBTQ, LGBTQIA+, Queer, etc.

"I Invite My Parents to a Dinner Party" by Chen Chen

Published in 2018

Recommended grade level(s):

Brief summary:
✨ Chen Chen writes of the uncomfortable homophobia his parents covertly and overtly display at a family dinner with his partner.

Devices to pair:
✨ Allusion to Home Alone
✨ Enjambment
✨ Tone

Published in 2017

Recommended grade level(s):

Brief summary:
✨ Ladin writes a poem of encouragement for young folks to unapologetically embrace their identity.

What to teach:
✨ Irony
✨ Metaphor
✨ Coming-of-age & identity themes

Recommended grade level(s):

Brief summary:
✨ Lorde explores what it means to navigate an intersectional, marginalized identity in society.

What to teach:
✨ Anaphora
✨ Term: intersectionality
✨ Text-to-self reflections

Recommended grade level(s):

Brief summary:
✨ A Queer mortician prepares the deceased body of the homophobic person who murdered Harvey Milk.

What to teach:
✨ Situational irony
✨ Allusion
✨ Text-to-world connections

Recommended grade level(s):

Brief summary:
✨ In an extended metaphor for discovering one’s identity, Baez Bendorf writes about following an instinct.

What to teach:
✨ Alliteration
✨ Imagery
✨ Extended metaphor

Two individuals stand side by side with their backs facing us. One is holding the Intersex flag (yellow with a purple circle in the center) and the other is holding a Trans flag (blue line followed by a pink line then a white line, pink, and blue).

Final thoughts

If you are looking for resources other than LGBTQ poems for the classroom, check out some of these helpful suggestions:
✨ Making an inclusive space of your classroom
✨ 7 LGBTQ+ YA books
✨ LGBTQ+ short texts
✨ LGBTQ+ middle-grade novels
✨ Teaching LGBTQ+ rights

If you are looking to better understand how to support LGBTQIA+ students, check out these educational resources:
✨ GLSEN: These queer and trans students of color use poetry to put #kindness in action
✨ 2023 Trevor Project National Survey on Mental Health of LGBTQ Young People 
✨ The Relationship Between Caring Teachers and the Mental Health of LGBTQ Students

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