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LGBTQ Youth: We've Got Your Back

Bethany Woolman,
ACLU of Northern California
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October 29, 2010

In California, we’re lucky that our laws protecting Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) students are among the most progressive in the country. But sadly, school can still be a very painful experience for LGBTQ students. It shouldn’t be that way.

Over the past month, the tragedy of several suicides of LGBTQ young people has shocked the nation. It’s time for us to make it better. Anti-gay bullying is everywhere, and close to home. The ACLU’s Northern California affiliate put out a new video to empower youth to know their rights when it comes to bullying and harassment in school.

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Watch the video on YouTube >>

Rochelle Hamilton, an 18-year-old ACLU of Northern California client and one of the youth in the video, faced constant harassment from teachers and staff at her high school, simply because she is a lesbian. Rochelle partnered with the ACLU to put an end to harassment at her school, and won. Now she’s helping us spread the word that California public schools are required, by law, to protect their students from harassment based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

“Your Rights, Your School” tells youth that they have the right to be themselves. No one should have to go to school afraid for their safety or their dignity.

Please watch and share this moving video featuring Rochelle, and ACLU of Northern California staff and activists who have experienced homophobic harassment and bullying first-hand, and are fighting to make it better for young people today.

Every student should have the protections we have here in California. Please also take a moment to support the Student Non-Discrimination Act, which would protect LGBTQ students across the country from harassment and discrimination in public schools.