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Thomas Frank, E&E News


9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Social Studies, Economics, Civics, English Language Arts

Resource Type

  • Articles and Websites

Regional Focus

North America, United States

LGBTQ People Are at Higher Risk in Disasters

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  • This article discusses a report by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that outlines the challenges faced by LGBTQ+ people, racial minorities, and single parents during a natural disaster.
  • Students will learn that LGBTQ+ people have been unfairly treated at emergency shelters and low-income households often lack resources and insurance that can be crucial after a disaster.
Teaching Tips


  • This article compares FEMA's operation during the Obama and Trump administrations.
  • This article provides statistics that are revealing and informative.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Student should know how America's two main political parties approach the issue of climate change.
  • Student should understand the historical context of African Americans and how that context impacts current-day members of this group.


  • This article could enhance a lesson on the economic oppression African Americans have faced and how that oppression still affects this group today.
  • After reading the article, the teacher could lead a classroom discussion on how the federal government could make its disaster relief apparatus more efficacious and equitable. 
  • This article could augment a classroom discussion on what specific organizations have been hostile to LGBTQ+ people during disasters and how governments and communities can combat this bigotry during disasters.
  • This article could supplement a lesson on the discrimination that LGBTQ+ people have faced in America and how that discrimination still affects this group today.
Scientist Notes
This article discusses the 2020 annual federal report about being prepared for various natural disasters and emergency events. The author focuses on what the report says about marginalized communities, especially the LGBTQ+ communities and how they often have more barriers and struggles after natural disasters. The article also briefly covers what these struggles are and how these communities often do not have access to the same resources as others. The author also talks about the government’s choice to not mention climate change in the federal report. As a note, while the report was released in 2020, the data used was from 2019, so COVID-19 is not mentioned. This is explained in the article. This resource is recommended for teaching.
  • College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Standards
    • Dimension 2: Civics
      • D2.Civ.14.9-12 Analyze historical, contemporary, and emerging means of changing societies, promoting the common good, and protecting rights.
      • D2.Civ.5.9-12 Evaluate citizens' and institutions' effectiveness in addressing social and political problems at the local, state, tribal, national, and/or international level.
  • Common Core English Language Arts Standards (CCSS.ELA)
    • Reading: History/Social Studies (6-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.9-10.7 Integrate quantitative or technical analysis (e.g., charts, research data) with qualitative analysis in print or digital text.
    • Reading: Informational Text (K-12)
      • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.11-12.2 Determine two or more central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to provide a complex analysis; provide an objective summary of the text.
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