Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth have a right to be who they are and to express themselves no matter where they go. Sadly, many LGBT youth are harassed and bullied by their peers. Federal civil rights laws do not specifically address bullying, but many of the protections in federal law overlap bullying with discriminatory harassment protections.

For example:

  •         Title IX and Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects all youth (students) from sex-based harassment. These laws do not prohibit discrimination based solely on sexual orientation, however.
  •         Harassment that is based on sexual orientation or sex are not mutually exclusive. Youth who are harassed based on their sexual orientation (actual or perceived) are often also subjected to discriminatory acts.

While federal laws could offer more clarity, it is important for LGBT youth to know that they do have rights. Schools are required to provide a safe learning environment for all students. Schools themselves cannot discriminate, and they legally cannot ignore discrimination or harassment.

LGBT youth are also protected under many state and federal laws. Currently, 45 states have anti-bullying laws. Three states have specific laws protecting LGBT community members from harassment or bullying on the basic of their sexual orientation.

Several states have also implemented ethical codes of conduct and educational programs for educators to ensure that school staff is prepared to address issues of bullying, discrimination, or harassment. There are proposed laws that would further require educators to receive training on matters related to gender, sexual orientation, and gender identify/expression, and related harassment.  

Despite actual and proposed changes, there is still room for improvement. Many LGBT youth face discrimination and harassment without the support they need to understand and protect their rights. That is why Pride Legal is here. We offer legal guidance and support for families with LGBT youth. If you have questions or concerns about bullying or harassment, contact us to find out how we can help.

 

Do federal civil rights laws address harassment of LGBT youth?

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth have a right to be who they are and to express themselves no matter where they go. Sadly, many LGBT youth are harassed and bullied by their peers. Federal civil rights laws do not specifically address bullying, but many of the protections in federal law overlap bullying with discriminatory harassment protections.

For example:

  •         Title IX and Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects all youth (students) from sex-based harassment. These laws do not prohibit discrimination based solely on sexual orientation, however.
  •         Harassment that is based on sexual orientation or sex are not mutually exclusive. Youth who are harassed based on their sexual orientation (actual or perceived) are often also subjected to discriminatory acts.

While federal laws could offer more clarity, it is important for LGBT youth to know that they do have rights. Schools are required to provide a safe learning environment for all students. Schools themselves cannot discriminate, and they legally cannot ignore discrimination or harassment.

LGBT youth are also protected under many state and federal laws. Currently, 45 states have anti-bullying laws. Three states have specific laws protecting LGBT community members from harassment or bullying on the basic of their sexual orientation.

Several states have also implemented ethical codes of conduct and educational programs for educators to ensure that school staff is prepared to address issues of bullying, discrimination, or harassment. There are proposed laws that would further require educators to receive training on matters related to gender, sexual orientation, and gender identify/expression, and related harassment.  

Despite actual and proposed changes, there is still room for improvement. Many LGBT youth face discrimination and harassment without the support they need to understand and protect their rights. That is why Pride Legal is here. We offer legal guidance and support for families with LGBT youth. If you have questions or concerns about bullying or harassment, contact us to find out how we can help.