ACLU Joins New Orleans Gay Pride Festivities

Affiliate: ACLU of Louisiana
June 26, 2008 12:00 am

ACLU Affiliate
ACLU of Louisiana
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New Orleans – This weekend, the American Civil Liberties Union will participate in New Orleans’s Gay Pride festival to support the LGBT community and to call attention to the discrimination lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people face throughout Louisiana.

“Most people don’t think of the ACLU as a gay advocacy organization,” said Marjorie Esman. “But LGBT people deserve the same basic rights – the right to privacy, the right to equal treatment in the workplace, the right to be free from violence and harassment – that other people enjoy. The ACLU will help affirm those rights however we can.”

The ACLU has been at the forefront helping LGBT people in Louisiana.

In the last twelve months, the ACLU of Louisiana has contacted school principals in Ruston and Amite, in support of students seeking to bring same-sex dates to school dances. The ACLU says it’s unconstitutional to keep LGBT students from participating in school events, and urges schools throughout the state not to discriminate. In the past year the ACLU also contacted school officials in Orleans Parish after a student was questioned by school staff about being gay and pressured to “come clean” to her parents. Students’ personal lives are private matters, and schools shouldn’t interfere with private matters that do not affect school performance.

A few years ago, the ACLU went to the defense of an elementary school student punished for telling a friend that his mother is ‘gay.’

By participating in Pridefest, the ACLU emphasizes that these are basic civil liberties concerns. “We worry that a lot of LGBT people encounter discrimination but don’t think to come to us for help,” Esman said. “For example, we know many schools create an atmosphere where students feel they’ll be punished for openly discussing gay rights, forbidden from starting an after-school support club, or told they cannot bring a same-sex date to prom.”

ACLU staff and volunteers will be at Pridefest to distribute ‘know your rights’ literature and talk with people about their concerns. There are many ways LGBT people can fight for equal treatment at work, at school, and in public.

The festival begins 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 28, at Washington Square Park, 2100 Royal Street.

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