March 31, 2010 7:39 pm

A message for LGBT youth and Allies in Illinois

Dear LGBT Students, GSA Members, and Friends,

Constance McMillen stood up for her right to take her girlfriend to the senior prom dressed in a tuxedo. Her fight has not been easy, but she has never once regretted demanding that she be treated fairly. Constance has been an inspiration to us at the ACLU and to lesbian gay bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students all over the United States.

We at the ACLU are thrilled to help Constance in her fight for equality. (Learn more about her struggle.) We’ve been privileged to assist hundreds of other LGBT young people whose request for equal treatment was met with some resistance or even outright hostility.

We’ve developed a number of pretty effective tools to help students advocate for themselves. Sometimes respectfully telling your principals that you know your rights will inspire them to give in and treat you fairly. We have answers to some of your questions, sample letters, and lists of other resources to help you at our website. If despite your efforts, you face the kinds of resistance that Constance faced, we’re here to help.

Are you or other students at your school insulted or called names because you’re LGBT or friends with other LGBT students?

Are there transgender students at your school who’ve been told they can’t wear the male or female clothing that fits their gender identity?

Does your school try to keep LGBT students and their allies silent and invisible by telling them they can’t wear gay-positive T-shirts or buttons or talk about being gay?

Have LGBT students been turned down when they asked to take a same-sex date to prom?

As the Gay Straight Alliance for your school, you’ve probably already dealt with unfair treatment of LGBT students at your school. Or you may know students at other schools who have been treated unjustly. We’ve created a pamphlet that addresses many of the problems LGBT students regularly face and offers suggestions about how to handle them. It can be downloaded from our website or you can contact John Knight for copies of this free pamphlet.

If the ACLU of Illinois can help you advocate for fair treatment by answering your questions or offering legal support, let us know. Contact us if you believe your school may be violating your rights or the rights of other LGBT students, or if you just have questions you need answered.

John Knight

Tel: 312-201-9740, x335

Email: jknight@aclu-il.org

Fax: 312-201-9760

www.aclu-il.org

action.aclu.org/lgbtintake (online intake form)

Youth Pamphlet

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