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LGBTQ issues

Some lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth experience supportive, welcoming school environments where they are physically and emotionally safe and their LGBTQ identity is respected. But others may experience unwelcoming, unsafe, and unsupportive conditions in schools.

Research has found that LGBTQ youth are more likely to experience stress and fear in school than are non-LGBT youth. This experience is associated with verbal harassment (e.g., being subject to name calling), physical harassment (e.g., being pushed or shoved), and physical assault (e.g., being punched or kicked) because of their sexual identity and gender identity or expression.

Public schools are required by law to address harassment against LGBTQ students just as they are required to address harassment against other students. Public schools are required to ensure that LGBTQ students have equal access to all school activities and programs.

The United States Constitution (the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause) and Title IX (Title 9) (a federal statute located at 20 U.S.C. §1681) are two of the laws that provide these protections against LGBTQ discrimination in public schools.

In Texas, public schools are legally obligated to provide a safe and non-discriminatory environment for all students, including LGBTQ youth. Under the 14th Amendment's Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution, all students are entitled to equal protection under the law, which includes protection from harassment and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Additionally, Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits sex-based discrimination in any school or any other education program that receives federal funding, which has been interpreted to include discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation. Texas schools must address harassment against LGBTQ students and ensure they have equal access to educational programs and activities. Failure to do so can result in legal consequences for the educational institutions. It is important for LGBTQ students and their families to be aware of these rights and for schools to actively work to create supportive environments for all students.

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