LGBT Youth Resource Center

LGBT Students! You have the right to be yourself!

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Gender Queer, LGBT, GLBT, LGBTQ, GLBTQ, GLBTA, LGBTA, LGBTI, FTM, MTF, SGL, MSM, LGBTIQQ, QUILTBAG, LGBTetc., LGBTQetc., or an ally?

No matter where you fall on the spectrum of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression, or what you call yourself, you shouldn’t have to be afraid of yourself in school.

LGBTQ youth should have the freedom to be open (or not) about their identity and ideas in schools and government facilities. The ACLU of Tennessee strives to protect their right to be safe and visible, and to have their identity embraced rather than belittled or erased.

We help students protect their right to free expression, to establish gay straight alliance clubs, and to be taught in an environment respectful of their sexual orientation and gender identity. Students should always feel free to contact us with legal concerns.

Check out our information for students; parents of gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer, questioning or transgender youth; teachers; and administrators. Learn about your rights, what you can do to make a change, download resources, and get support here.

Know Your Rights

Keeping Graduation And Prom Inclusive

Know Your Rights – LGBT Students

Students’ Rights Handbook

Know Your Rights: A Guide for Trans and Gender Nonconforming Students

What’s Your Problem

Common issues faced by LGBT youth and their allies and what the law says about them.

Create Change

Support Student Safety Campaign – They did it, so can you!

In 2007, a group of former high school students in Nashville, Tennessee, recognized a bullying problem in their school. Not everyone was specifically protected under the anti-bullying bullying policy the schools had in place. They decided to take action, launching the Support Student Safety Coalition.

They sought to revise their school board’s anti-bullying policy to include gender identity and sexual orientation. In one year, they built a team, gathered support, and presented their case to the school board.

On October 10, 2008, just one year after they launched their efforts, the Metro Nashville School Board unanimously adopted the comprehensive anti-bullying policy. ACLU-TN’s Stand Up/Speak Up: A Guide for Youth Activists outlines their efforts and success as well as steps other students in Tennessee and beyond can take to promote a change that they seek in their own school or community.

Stand Up/Speak Up: A Guide for Youth Activists

How to Start A GSA

How To Start A GSA Video

Tips: What You Can Do To Make Schools Safer

Speaking Out with Your T-Shirt

ACLU Library: LGBT Youth & Schools Resources

ACLU-TN Fights for You

ACLU-TN Delivers Over 67,000+ Petition Signatures To Governor Asking Lawmakers to Veto Anti-Transgender “Bathroom” Legislation

ACLU Urges Governor to Support Transgender Students And Condemn Anti-Transgender Bathroom Bills

ACLU-TN Files Lawsuit Challenging School’s Censorship of Pro-LGBT Shirt After High School Senior Forced to Remove “Some People Are Gay, Get Used to It” Tee

Report Underscores Tennessee Schools’ Need for Comprehensive Anti-Bullying Legislation To Protect LGBT and Other Students, Says ACLU-TN

ACLU Urges School Board to Re-Post GLSEN “Safe Space” Anti-Bullying Posters in Middle Tennessee High School

ACLU Responds To Report Of Proselytizing And Anti-LGBT Remarks By Principal At Tennessee High School – Principal Also Reportedly Said Pregnant Students Will Be “Jobless, Homeless and Living off the Government.”

Tennessee High School Student: Principal Assaulted Me For Wearing T-Shirt Supporting Gay Straight Alliance. ACLU Demands Protection for Students’ Rights To Free Speech.

ACLU-TN Urges Tennessee High Schools to Keep Graduation and Prom Inclusive for All Students; Urges Schools to Allow Same-Sex Prom Dates and Gender-Nonconformitive Prom Attire

LGBT Equality, Free Speech and Street Law Student Rights Among Topics of ACLU-TN Students’ Rights Conference

ACLU Sues To Stop Tennessee Schools From Censoring Gay Educational Web Sites: Filtering Software Allows Anti-Gay Sites

Get Help

What’s your problem?

Explore common issues faced by LGBT youth and their allies and what the law says about them.

General Tips:

If you suspect that your school is mistreating you because of your sexual orientation or gender identity, here are some basic rules to help you out:

Be respectful and follow the rules!

Don’t give your school any excuses for treating you badly by behaving badly yourself. This can make things harder to solve in the long run. Explain your grievances in a mature, respectable manner.

Document everything!

Keep a record of the ‘Six Ws” each time you are harassed:

  1. WHO was involved,
  2. WHAT happened,
  3. WHERE it happened,
  4. WHEN it happened,
  5. WHO you reported it to,
  6. And if there were any WITNESSES.

Keep copies of anything in writing that you file with the school and be sure to write down the date. Also take notes about any additional conversations you have with school administrators, and be sure to write down the dates for those too.

File a complaint!

Request assistance from the ACLU of Tennessee.

Who Else Can Help?

LGBT Student Resource Guide– Visit our list of national, state, and local organizations that focus on assisting LGBT students.