The Legacy of Harvey Milk - Take a Stand for LGBTQ Students' Rights

May 21, 2010
ACLU of Northern California

Page Media

ACLU of Northern CA

Rochelle Hamilton is an out lesbian high school student in Vallejo. For months, she faced harassment from her teachers because of her sexual orientation. She was even forced to attend a counseling group designed to discourage homosexuality. Robby M. faced years of harassment and bullying from his peers because of his sexual orientation. He and his mom pleaded for the school to intervene, but the school never adequately responded. Eventually, the bullying escalated to violence.

With the help of the ACLU, both Rochelle and Robby stood up to their schools – and won.

May 22 marks the first statewide Harvey Milk Day, recognizing the lifetime achievements of the first openly gay public official. In honor of his legacy, let's make sure that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth in California know that state law protects their rights at school.

Get the essential guide on rights at school for LGBTQ youth in California.

In California we have strong laws protecting LGBTQ students, and many of them are a model for the rest of the country. We need your help to guarantee that students across the country will have the same protections that Rochelle and Robby did when they stood up for their rights.

This would be the first federal law banning harassment and discrimination in public schools based on sexual orientation – either actual or perceived – or gender identity. When LGBTQ young people know their rights, they can take the lead in making their schools a more safe and fair learning environment for everyone.