LGBT children, particularly those living in the Deep South, face many challenges and are often targeted for harassment, bullying and discrimination – particularly in school.
Although school bullying is a severe, nationwide problem, many teachers and administrators are reluctant to intervene or adopt policies to prevent it. And many children don’t report violence or harassment because they believe it either won’t make a difference or will make matters worse.
Through legal action and educational campaigns, we’re working to ensure that school environments are inclusive, equitable and safe for all students.
For example, a settlement in our groundbreaking lawsuit against the Anoka-Hennepin district – Minnesota’s largest school system – provided a blueprint that schools across the country can use to protect LGBT students.
Our Teaching Tolerance project also promotes safe school environments. Its classroom film Bullied has been distributed, free of charge, to more than 50,000 educators across America.
We’ve also taken strong action to defend the rights of LGBT students who have encountered school policies or practices that violate their free expression rights under the First Amendment.
Outside the classroom, we’re working to ban the practice of “conversion” therapy, which has been discredited by virtually all major American mental health and medical associations. Many LGBT youths have been harmed psychologically and alienated from their families by conversion therapy, which purports to change a person’s sexual orientation. The practice, based on the idea that LGBT people have a mental disorder, also promotes a climate of bigotry and discrimination.