LGBTQ+ Students' Rights
Students in public schools and schools that receive federal funding have the right to:
- Be free from bullying, and harassment from students, staff and teachers.
- Speak about LGBTQ+ issues and be out at school.
- Dress according to your gender identity and expression.
- Start or participate in GSAs.
- Bring the date of your choice to school events like prom.
- Use the bathrooms and locker rooms that match your gender identity.
- Be called by your preferred name and pronoun, even if you have not had a legal name change.
- Participate in sport teams according to your gender identity regardless of your sex assigned at birth.
My school won’t let me use the bathroom that matches my gender identity.
You have the right to use the bathroom that that matches your gender identity.
My school says I have to follow the dress code associated with my birth sex.
As long as what you want to wear would not violate the dress code if worn by a cis student, then you should be able to wear that clothing even if it isn’t stereotypically associated with your gender.
My school says I can’t talk about being LGBTQ+.
Your school can only restrict your speech when it is disruptive (like in the middle of class). Speech is not disruptive just become someone doesn’t like what you are saying.
I’m out at school but not to my family, can my school out me?
Your school does NOT have the right to "out" you to anyone without your permission, even if you’re out to other people at school.
My school says I should dress as my assigned sex to avoid getting bullied.
Your school is required to protect you from bullies and cannot blame you or ask you to disregard your rights to stop bullying.
My school says something in this brochure is not true or doesn’t apply to them.
Don’t always believe what the school says! Sometimes school officials don’t know what the law requires or are betting you won’t question what they say. If something doesn't seem right, contact us!
What laws protect me?
The U.S. Constitution
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972
Equal Access Act
Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act
What do I do if my school Violates my rights?
Tell Your School
Make a formal complaint to your school by speaking to a teacher, guidance counselor, or other adult that you trust. You should always follow your school policy. You should also keep detailed notes about your experiences and your school’s actions as they happen can help others understand exactly what happened and the ways that the discrimination has harmed you.
File a Complaint
A discrimination complaint can be filed with the U.S. Department of Education or the U.S. Department of Justice.
Contact the LGBT Law Project