Know Your Rights: LGBTQ Students

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Harassment of LGBTQ students

All students have the right to be treated equally and to be free from bullying, harassment and discrimination, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.

Respecting trans and gender-nonconforming students' rights

Transgender and gender non-conforming students have the right to be respected and to dress and act in ways that don’t conform to stereotypes associated with their gender. Transgender students also have to the right to be referred to by their pronoun of choice, and to wear clothes and ac­cess spaces such as locker rooms and restrooms that fit their gender identity.

Freedom of speech and expression

You have the right to be “out” and to be yourself at school. You also have the right to speak out about LGBTQ issues, including by wearing LGBTQ-positive t-shirts, stickers and bracelets, to access information about LGBTQ issues on school computers, and to bring same-sex dates to prom.

Privacy and "outing" students

You have a right to keep your LGBTQ identity private, which means that school staff cannot “out” you without your permission, except under very limited circumstances. 

Gay-straight alliances

If your school has even one extracurricular club, the school must allow you to start a Gay-Straight Alliance and cannot treat the GSA differently than any other club.

Unbiased and LGBTQ inclusive instruction

Your school should be teaching LGBTQ inclusive history and sexual health education, and should never be allow­ing bias in the classroom.

If you are being bullied, harrassed, or discriminated against

  • Don’t be silent, file a complaint!
  • Ask for a Uniform Complaint Form from your front office or school district website (if you can’t find it, contact us at the information below).
  • Write down a who/what/where/when/why descrip­tion of every incident.
  • Make sure to get a signed and dated copy of your complaint from whoever you turned it into at the school office.

To find out more about filing complaints, go to www.aclu-sc.org/SRP. 

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