Library: LGBT Youth & Schools Resources and Links

There's a ton of information about schools issues for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth both on the ACLU's website and elsewhere on the web, but sometimes it can be difficult to find your way to the resources you need online. We've gathered some of the best information we have plus great stuff from other organizations and websites here to help you find things that can help you learn more about your rights and what you can do to make your school a safer, more welcoming place.

 

General Resources

Information from the ACLU

Elsewhere on the Web

Equal Access Act/Gay-Straight Alliances

Information from the ACLU

Elsewhere on the Web

Harassment

Information from the ACLU

Elsewhere on the Web

  • 2013 National School Climate Survey: The most recent national survey from GLSEN about attitudes towards LGBT students in our nation's schools, the prevalence of harassment and bullying towards LGBT students, and school safety.

  • Bullied: A Student, a School and a Case That Made History: A documentary from our friends at the Southern Poverty Law Center about Jamie Nabozny, a Wisconsin student who sued the school that turned its back on him when he was mercilessly harassed and assaulted by classmates because he is gay. Jamie's case set an important legal precedent that protects LGBT students in public school to this day. The 40-minute documentary film is available at no charge to schools and educators.

  • The Principal’s Perspective: School Safety, Bullying and Harassment: A study of 1,580 public school principals by GLSEN in collaboration with the National Association of Secondary School Principals which found that half of principals view bullying as a serious problem at their schools, yet they appear to underestimate the extent of harassment that LGBT students experience.

  • Teaching Tolerance: A program of the Southern Poverty Law Center with lots of information and resources on how to reduce bigotry and bias and foster communities that value diversity.

  • Bullying and LGBT Youth: Facts and statistics from Mental Health America (formerly known as the National Mental Health Association) about the harmful effects of anti-gay bullying and harassment in schools.

  • StopBullying.gov: A website that collects all of the federal government's resources on bullying in one place.

  • U.S. Department of Education "Dear Colleague Letter" on bullying and harassment: An open letter from the federal government that makes it clear that schools have a legal obligation to address anti-gay harassment. The letter includes studies and case law to demonstrate schools’ responsibility to equally protect all members of their student body.

  • Questions and Answers on OCR's Complaint Process: Information from the United States Department of Education on how to file a federal harassment complaint with the department's Office of Civil Rights.

  • California Safe Schools Coalition: Focused on the state of California, but many of this organization's resources could be useful in other states, especially the information at its Tools section.

  • Make It Real: An organizing guide from GSA Network for California students who want to use the California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act of 2000 to reduce harassment in their schools.

  • Safe Schools Coalition: A coalition of organizations based in Washington state that serves schools, students, and parents throughout the U.S., with extra focus on Washington. Their site features training materials, information, and an extensive links section.

Free Speech/Free Expression/Prom

Information from the ACLU

  • Speaking Out with Your T-Shirt: T-shirts are a common way for students to express their views, and schools often try to censor this form of speech, especially when it's about LGBT people. If you're thinking about wearing an LGBT-positive t-shirt to school and you expect trouble, here's what you should know and what to expect. A printable PDF version is available here.

  • Letter to School Officials Regarding LGBT Censorship: A letter to principals and educators explaining the legal requirement that schools allow students to wear clothing or accessories with slogans or symbols that express support for LGBT people. You can print this out and give a copy to your school. A printable PDF version is available here.

  • Letter to School Officials about the Day of Silence: A letter to principals and educators explaining the Day of Silence, ways to support students who are participating and obligations schools have to protect students' safety and freedom of speech.  A printable PDF version is available here.

  • Letter to School Officials about Ally Week: A letter to principals and educators explaining the Day of Silence, ways to support students who are participating and obligations schools have to protect students' safety and freedom of speech.  A printable PDF version is available here.

  • Prom Resources for LGBT Students: Every year, the ACLU receives calls from students whose schools have told them that they cannot bring a same-sex date to prom or homecoming, or that they must wear clothing to the dance that conforms to traditional gender norms. In response, we have written letters to principals and superintendents that students can use to advocate for their rights at prom, homecoming, and other school dances.

  • Know Your Prom Night Rights! A Quick Guide for LGBT High School Students: There are laws protecting your right to be yourself at the prom, and this handout can help you learn about them so that you too can be safe and have fun on the big night! A printable PDF version is available here.

Elsewhere on the Web

Privacy

Information from the ACLU

Transgender/Gender Nonconforming Student Resources

Information from the ACLU

Elsewhere on the Web

  • Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Students: Your Rights at School: This brochure from our colleagues at the National Center for Transgender Equality outlines the rights trans and gender nonconforming students have in schools under Title IX and how to file formal complaints.

  • Questions and Answers on Title IX and Sexual Violence: This recent guidance document from the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights makes it clear that Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 extends to claims of discrimination based on gender identity.

  • Harsh Realities: The Experiences of Transgender Students in Our Nation's Schools: A 2009 report from GLSEN on the experiences of transgender youth in schools across the United States. Topics covered in the report include biased language, overall safety, harassment and assault, impact of victimization on educational outcomes, engagement with the school community, in-school resources and supports, and recommendations for policy and practice.

  • Fact Sheet: Transgender & Gender Non-Conforming Youth in School: A resource-filled fact sheet created by the Sylvia Rivera Law Project about the issues rights of transgender youth at school. While some of the info on this fact sheet is specific to New York state only, it's a good general overview of terminology and the type of discrimination transgender and gender nonconforming youth face at school.

  • Welcoming Our Trans Family and Friends (PDF): PFLAG’s support guide for parents, family, and friends of transgender and gender non-conforming people which includes a chapter that offers advice for parents, family members or friends who are seeking guidance on how to support their transgender or gender non-conforming loved ones in school.

  • Transgender Model District Policy (PDF): GLSEN's model school policy on how to treat transgender students, containing vocabulary definitions, commentary on discrimination, federal protection, parental involvement, dress code, and how to deal with any media attention and privacy policies.

  • Supporting Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students: Video of GLSEN webinar on best practices for educators working with transgender and gender nonconforming students.

  • Gender Spectrum: An organization that provides education, resources and training to help schools, health care providers, and family service agencies create a more gender sensitive and supportive environment for all children including gender variant and transgender youth.

  • Gender Odyssey Family: An organization that hosts conferences and other means of support for transgender children and their families.

  • Mermaids: A UK support group for transgender children and teenagers which offers a variety of information, especially its "Helpful Hints and Shared Experiences" page.

  • Peeing in Peace: A Resource Guide for Transgender Activists and Allies: This guide from the Transgender Law Center provides information to transgender people, activists, and allies about creating bathroom safety, including tips on how to address harassment, ideas for getting good bathroom policies passed, and an outline for doing a bathroom safety campaign.

  • Toilet Training: A documentary video and collaboration between transgender videomaker Tara Mateik and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project addressing the persistent discrimination, harassment, and violence that people who transgress gender norms face in gender segregated bathrooms. There's also a detailed a toolkit full of useful facts and talking points about trans equality and bathroom access to accompany the film.

  • TransYouth Family Advocates: A coalition of parents, friends and caring adults dedicated to educating and raising public awareness about the medical and cultural challenges faced by children with gender variant and gender questioning identities and the families who love them.

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  • Changing the Game: The GLSEN Sports Project: This project gives ideas for students and parents to take steps within their own schools to make school sports a more inclusive, safe space for LGBTQ students, including resources on Title IX as it relates to the protection of transgender athletes.

  • Gender Diversity: This organization provides family support, works with schools, and provides community-building services to improve the well-being for people of all gender identities and expressions.

  • Camp Aranu'tiq: Annual summer camps for transgender and gender-nonconforming children and teens and their families.  The camps are in New England and California but welcome campers from anywhere.

  • Transgender Child: A website that provides extensive information, resources, and support for the parents of transgender and gender nonconforming children.

  • WeHappyTrans: A website that provides a platform for trans people to share positive stories about their lives.  They also have a blog that covers media, news, support, and legal issues.

Help for Youth Considering Suicide

Elsewhere on the Web

  • The Trevor Project: A national suicide and crisis prevention resource for LGBT youth, including a 24-hour hotline (866-4-U-TREVOR/866-488-7386), as well as a Q&A forum, a live chat, blog, and many other resources for youth, educators, and parents.

  • Hetrick-Martin Institute: HMI, the home of the Harvey Milk High School, provides multiple resources pages with links to guidance on dealing with bullying and other LGBT youth specific issues.

  • Suicide.org: A non-profit suicide prevention informational and educational resource whose website offers support and links to articles pertaining to LGBT youth suicide. The site's homepage also has links to multiple suicide prevention hotlines (with both talk and text options) and resources for suicide survivors and the family and friends of suicidal individuals.

  • It Gets Better Project: The It Gets Better Project was created to show young LGBT people the levels of happiness, potential, and positivity their lives will reach – if they can just get through their teen years. The It Gets Better Project wants to remind teenagers in the LGBT community that they are not alone — and it WILL get better.

  • ACLU Staffers' "It Gets Better" Videos: We made our own videos to contribute to the It Gets Better Project, featuring several LGBT staffers from the national ACLU's New York and Washington, D.C. offices.

Web Filtering at Your School

  • Don't Filter Me: Web Content Filtering in Schools: Our campaign to end viewpoint-discriminatory web filtering that blocks access to LGBT-positive web content in public schools.

  • Letter to School Officials Regarding Web Filtering: This letter explains to public schools that using web filtering software the blocks students' access to pro-LGBT websites is illegal and unconstitutional. You can print this out and give a copy to your school.  A printable PDF is available here.

  • M86 filtering fact sheet: If your public school district uses the M86 web filter and is blocking positive LGBT websites, this fact sheet tells you how to get your school to fix it.

  • Websense filtering fact sheet: If your public school district uses the Websense web filter and is blocking positive LGBT websites, this fact sheet tells you how to get your school to fix it.

  • Blue Coat filtering fact sheet: Blue Coat’s web filtering software has a category called “LGBT.” Blue Coat created this category in 2007 to separate non-sexual LGBT websites from sexually explicit ones, in order to make the non-sexual LGBT content more accessible for students. But some schools and libraries have blocked this category in the mistaken belief that the category was designed to include sexually explicit websites. In order to dispel this confusion, Blue Coat has updated its definition of the LGBT category.  Read about the updates here.

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