Students | Transgender Rights | New Hampshire
What are my rights as an LGBTQ+ student?
All New Hampshire public school students have the right:
- To be safe in school without being bullied,
- To be protected from discrimination or harassment based on sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status.
- To access information about LGBTQ+ subjects including educational websites,
- To dress and present yourself in a manner consistent with your gender identity,
- To free speech and expression. This means you have the right to express ideas that may offend other people and you have the right to disagree with others, as long as you express those ideas in a respectful way.
All New Hampshire public and many private school students have the right:
- To form a Genders & Sexualities or Gay/Straight Alliance or Gay/Straight Alliance (GSA) that gets treated the same as every other non-curricular group. This means equal funding, access to facilities, and the ability to choose your group’s name.
Outside of school, you have the right:
- To be protected from discrimination based on your actual or perceived sexual orientation, HIV status, or gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations (like restaurants or stores).
- If you are over the age of 14, to give your own consent to get tested for HIV without your parents’ permission. For more specific information, see the “HIV/AIDS” Issue Area.
- To report to the police anyone in or out of school who physically harms you, threatens you, or vandalizes your property.
Are there any laws protecting transgender students in New Hampshire?
The 2010 law requires that each school district and charter school adopt a written policy prohibiting bullying and cyberbullying that includes:
- a procedure for reporting the bullying;
- a procedure for notifying the parents or guardian of a victim within 48 hours of the incident report that can be waived if the school feels that doing so is in the best interests of the victim or perpetrator;
- a procedure for investigating the incident in a timely manner, and, for any substantiated incident of bullying, the school must create a remediation plan that may include appropriate disciplinary action against the perpetrator, steps to reduce future incidents or retaliation and, if appropriate, offer assistance to the victim or perpetrator. The remediation plan must also be communicated to the parents or guardians of all the students involved in the incident;
- a plan for communicating, training and educating students, staff and parents about the anti-bullying policy.
Does the New Hampshire anti-discrimination law also protect public school students?
Yes, New Hampshire law Section 354-A:27 states:
“No person shall be excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination in public schools because of their age, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, race, color, marital status, familial status, disability, religion or national origin. . .”
For more information about the New Hampshire anti-discrimination law and how to file a discrimination complaint, see the “Discrimination” Issue Area.
Are there federal laws that protect students?
Yes, Title IX prohibits discrimination against students based on sex in any school or college that receives federal funds. In light of the Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, which determined that sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination are forms of sex discrimination, the federal Department of Education, which enforces Title IX, has stated that it will interpret any sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination as sex discrimination.
To file a complaint with the federal Department of Education Office of Civil Rights, see: How to File a Discrimination Complaint with the Office for Civil Rights.
Complaints can be made to your school Title IX coordinator, as well as to:
Office of Civil Rights
The U.S. Department of Education
John W. McCormack Post Office & Courthouse, Room 222
Post Office Square
Boston, MA 02109
Additionally, some kinds of discrimination and harassment may violate a student’s constitutional rights.
What can I do if I’m being discriminated against at school?
There are many ways to approach the issue. One is to ask for support from a friend, teacher, or counselor and talk to the people who are bothering you. That is not an option, however, if you don’t feel safe doing so.
Take a look at your school policies and notify whoever is supposed to be notified— usually a vice principal or Title IX coordinator. You should document any incidents of harassment or discrimination in writing with at least the date and time. Once you meet with the right officials, write yourself notes about what you told them and on what date and ask when they will be getting back to you with a response. If they don’t help you or don’t follow through, you may wish to write to the principal and superintendent and ask for them to end the discrimination.
If this fails, you may also wish to consider legal action against the town by contacting the New Hampshire Commission for Human Rights or the federal Department of Education Office of Civil Rights.
This is a complicated area of law as well as being emotionally challenging. Contact GLAD Answers by filling out the email form at GLAD Answers or by phone at 800-455-4523 (GLAD) to discuss options.
Advocates Respond to Arguments in Federal Challenge to NH Classroom Censorship LawRead More
The “banned concepts” law creates an unconstitutional barrier to discussions of race, gender, disability, and LGBTQ+ topics in schools and public workplaces.
New Hampshire House passes two bills attacking LGBTQ+ rights; LGBTQ+, public education, and child welfare advocates respondRead More
New Hampshire House passes two bills attacking LGBTQ+ rights; LGBTQ+, public education, and child welfare advocates respond For…
ACLU-NH and GLAD Warn School Library Book Removals Would Violate Free Speech and N.H. ConstitutionRead More
Banning books from school libraries undermines diversity and inclusion in our schools and raises serious legal questions.