Created by Academy Award-winning Director Debra Chasnoff and Producer Helen S. Cohen, It’s Elementary — Talking About Gay Issues in School, is a highly acclaimed film shot in first through eighth grade classrooms across the United States. The film, intended for an adult audience, is a window into what really happens when educators address gay issues with their students in age-appropriate ways.
With surprisingly funny and moving footage, It’s Elementary demystifies what it means to talk with kids about gay people. The film makes a compelling argument that anti-gay prejudice and violence can be prevented if children have an opportunity to have these discussions when they’re young. The San Francisco Examiner wrote, "[It’s Elementary] could become one of the most important films ever devoted to lesbian and gay issues."
Released in 1996, It’s Elementary has won numerous awards for excellence, been acquired by nearly 2,000 educational institutions, and has received widespread acclaim from educators, policymakers, parents and religious leaders. Not surprisingly, It’s Elementary has also been relentlessly condemned by the conservative right.
Since its release, the producers have run a remarkably successful grassroots distribution campaign, intended to make It’s Elementary accessible to every conceivable type of institution working with children today. Through this effort, the film has had an unprecedented impact, creating a tidal wave of activism and public dialogue about dealing with lesbian and gay issues in schools.
It’s Elementary received its national broadcast premiere on public television stations around the country in June 1999. More than 100 stations aired the film.
Accompanying It’s Elementary on the newly released DVD, is the recently produced retrospective documentary, It’s STILL Elementary. This companion film follows up with some of the original students and teachers from It’s Elementary. It tells the fascinating history of why the film got made, the response it provoked from the conservative right, and the questions it raises about the national safe schools movement today. It’s STILL Elementary is a call to action for parents and educators to continue working for safe, inclusive schools.
DVD and VHS of the film are available for educational, community or home use.