Civil Rights and Education Groups: Schools Must Be Safe and Inclusive for LGBTQ+ Students and Educators

Contact: Charmaine Riley, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, [email protected], 202.548.7166
Kara Watkins-Chow, GLSEN, [email protected] 
Rodrigo Heng-Lehtinen, National Center for Transgender Equality, [email protected] 


WASHINGTON – The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, GLSEN, National Center for Transgender Equality, and more than 235 civil rights and education organizations today called for an end to discrimination against LGBTQ+ students, educators, faculty, and staff. Highlighting the Supreme Court’s ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia that it is illegal to discriminate against people based on sexual orientation or gender identity wherever it is illegal to discriminate based on sex, the groups urged all students, educators, and families to advance inclusive and welcoming environments in all schools that celebrate and affirm LGBTQ+ students and staff.

“This landmark decision from the Court is a powerful tool for changing education environments, both at K-12 schools and in higher education, for the better by removing those barriers that are impeding LGBTQ+ students and educators — especially those who are also people of color — from being safe and affirmed in schools and college campuses across the country,” the groups wrote. “Historically, federal, state, and local policies have required or allowed for discrimination against LGBTQ+ students, educators, faculty, and staff, and created environments where they are not safe to learn or safe to work. When students are not safe at school, they are denied an education; and when educators do not feel safe at school, they cannot do their jobs.”

“This decision affirmed what many civil rights and education advocates have long known: Discrimination against people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity has been and still is prohibited under federal civil rights law,” said Vanita Gupta, president and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “Without question, community members and policymakers must ensure inclusive and welcoming learning environments for LGBTQ+  students, educators, and staff.”

“The Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock is a clarion call to schools and districts across the country: It is time to end unlawful discrimination against LGBTQ+ people in our schools, and stop these insidious assaults on the well-being of LGBTQ+ students and educators,” said Eliza Byard, director, GLSEN. “We are proud to partner with The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, National Center for Transgender Equality and over 200 other national and state organizations to call for an end to anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination in schools. Together, we will redouble our efforts to make our schools safer for all youth, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, especially those who are also Black, brown, Latinx, Indigenous and/or people with disabilities.”

“As students, teachers and staff return to school during these unprecedented times, we must all work to ensure that LGBTQ members of our community are treated with the respect and dignity that they deserve. School should be a place where everyone is safe and given the opportunity to reach their fullest potential,” said Mara Keisling, executive director of the National Center for Transgender Equality. “The Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, makes clear that it is illegal to discriminate against anyone based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. K-12 schools and colleges and universities, with support from the communities they serve, need to ensure that they are creating a welcoming environment for everyone.”

The signatories and letter are available here.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 220 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its member organizations, visit

GLSEN is a national education non-profit organization, leading the movement to create safe and inclusive K-12 schools for all since 1990. We work tirelessly to ensure that all children can have a high quality education where they feel safe and affirmed.  We envision a world in which every child learns to respect and accept all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, and/or gender expression, and in turn is respected and accepted themselves. 

Each year, GLSEN programs and resources reach millions of students and educators in K-12 schools, via action at the national, state, and local level, including through a national network of state and local volunteer GLSEN Chapters. Over nearly three decades of work, GLSEN has improved conditions for LGBTQ+ students across the United States and launched an international movement to address LGBTQ+ issues in education and promote respect for all in schools. 

The National Center for Transgender Equality advocates to change policies and society to increase understanding and acceptance of transgender people. In the nation’s capital and throughout the country, NCTE works to replace disrespect, discrimination, and violence with empathy, opportunity, and justice. For more information on NCTE, visit