Gay Parade in Moscow Crushed By Police (Intermediate News Lesson Plan)

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Homosexuality ESL News Lesson Plan : Warm-up

1)    Have you ever been involved in a rally, protest, or parade?
2)    What does the term “lobbying” mean? What are some powerful lobby groups in your country?
3)    Does your city or town have a gay community? Would you say your city is gay-friendly?
4)    Are there any well-known gay people in your country, for example, politicians, actors, or athletes?

Gay Parade in Moscow Crushed By Police (May 20th, 2011)

Gay-rights activists have tried to hold a parade in Moscow for the sixth year in a row. But dozens of people were arrested after the activists clashed with counter-protesters. Russian officials have detained three global gay rights leaders, and dozens of others, after they tried to hold an unauthorized rally near the Kremlin.
Police say a small crowd of marchers, some waving rainbow flags and others carrying signs that read, “Russia is not Iran,” was attacked by an ultra-Orthodox group who had successfully lobbied the Moscow city government to ban the event.
The leader of Russia’s Orthodox Union, Leonid Simonovich, said people should not be allowed to hold a gay pride parade. He said God once burned the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, and if something like homosexuality was condoned in Russia, God would burn down Moscow as well. He referred to the Russian capital as a “holy” city.
Witnesses say police aggressively arrested the marchers, protesters, and members of the ultra-nationalist group before putting them in police vans.
Many rights activists had hoped they would be able to hold a gay-rights parade after former Mayor Yuri Luzhkov was fired. Luzhkov had likened homosexuality to the devil. Russia decriminalized homosexuality in 1993, but homophobic attitudes remain. In October, the European Court of Human Rights fined Russia for banning homosexual parades in Moscow.
Officials say most of the detained people have been released. [232 words]


Homosexuality ESL News Lesson Plan : Comprehension Questions

1)    True or False: This is not the first time a gay rally has been stopped in Moscow.
2)    According to the article, who was responsible for getting the rally banned?
3)    True or False: Leonid Simonovich is a global gay rights leader.
4)    Why did many activists hope a parade would be successful this year?
5)    True or False: Homosexuality is still a crime in Russia.
1 – True. This was the sixth time.
2 – A ultra-Orthodox religious group lobbied the government to ban the parade.
3 – False. He is against homosexuality.
4 – They hoped it might be successful because the mayor of Moscow, who was strongly against homosexuality, was no longer the mayor.
5 – False. It was decriminalized in 1993.

Homosexuality ESL News Lesson Plan : Vocabulary Matching

Match the words with their meaning as used in the news lesson.
clash (verb)
detain (verb)
lobby (verb)
condone (verb)
liken (verb)
decriminalize (verb)
fine (verb)
  • activist – a person working for political or social change.
  • clash – fight, do battle
  • detain – arrest, capture
  • unauthorized – unofficial, illegal, not permitted
  • lobby – try to persuade, influence
  • condone – accept, allow
  • aggressively – forcefully, violently
  • liken – compare
  • decriminalize – make legal
  • fine – to make someone pay money as a punishment

Homosexuality ESL News Lesson Plan : Connect the below idea(s) to make a sentence.

government / uprising
activists / clashed
police / detain
unauthorized / area
lobby / church
condone / violence
drive / aggressively
Life / liken / journey
decriminalize / marijuana
fine / $500
Possible Answers:
  • Activists clashed with the police on the street.
  • Many activists were detained by the police.
  • The government’s secret laboratory is an unauthorized area for the general public.
  • The Orthodox church lobbied the government to stop the parade.
  • Gandhi did not condone the use of violence.
  • Linda is scared to get in the car with her husband because he drives so aggressively.
  • Like can be likened to a journey.
  • Marijuana has been decriminalized in some countries.
  • The man was fined $500 dollars for running naked through the shopping mall.
Idiom Focus: in a row
in a series, or set, without interruption; consecutively
The football team won six games in a row.
Police shot at protestors for the second night in a row

Read and complete the below sentences where necessary.

I have for three nights in a row.

I don’t like to for more than two days in a row.

Possible Answers:
  • I have gone to bed after 1 a.m. for three nights in a row
  • I don’t like to eat the same food or go without showering for more than two days in a row.

Homosexuality ESL Lesson Plan: Debate

Student A:Your country is planning to pass a law to allow same-sex marriages. You are against the idea. Think of reasons to support your argument for one minute.
Student B:Your country is planning to pass a law to allow same-sex marriages. You support this idea. You believe gay people should have the right of marriage. Think of reasons to support your argument for a minute. Start the conversation when you’re ready by asking your partner what he thinks of the same-sex marriage law.

Do you think there are jobs that homosexuals should not be allowed to do? Consider these jobs, and then discuss your opinions with your partner.

scout leader
police officer

Homosexuality ESL News Lesson Plan : Discussion Questions

(Write your answers in the Comments section below if you wish).

  1. What jobs tend to be dominated by gay people? Why is that?
  2. Sigmund Freud believed that “normal” people have homosexual tendencies. This means that everyone is gay to a degree. What do you think of this idea?
  3. What effect could being raised by same-sex parents have on a child?
  4. Nature versus Nurture: is homosexuality a result of a person’s environment and surroundings, or of his biology and genetics?

News lesson plan copyright Matthew Barton of

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4 comments on “Gay Parade in Moscow Crushed By Police (Intermediate News Lesson Plan)

  1. imber (Posted on 10-7-2012 at 04:44) Reply

    seems to assume that none of the class members actually are gay

  2. Augier (Posted on 8-5-2014 at 15:43) Reply

    These questions are homophobic>

  3. Anonymous (Posted on 1-25-2016 at 10:26) Reply

    As a gay teacher, the entire premise of this lesson and questions are rooted in homophobia. At best, this lesson is outdated and should be modified or removed. Russia’s current political climate regarding LGBTQ issues is homophobic enough.

    1. mb Post author (Posted on 1-25-2016 at 16:11) Reply

      Thank you for your feedback. I have reworded two of the discussion questions.

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