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Youth Initiative

In schools and community-based organizations, in state-run child welfare programs, in the foster care system and juvenile justice facilities, LGBTQ youth and the children of LGBT parents experience harassment and discrimination regularly.

GLAD is committed to ensuring that LGBTQ youth and the children of LGBT parents are safe, welcomed, and treated equally and with respect in every facet of life.

GLAD has done behind-the-scenes advocacy for LGBTQ youth for many years. With the LGBTQ Youth Initiative, we are broadening and deepening our work to generate systemic change that builds a just, inclusive, and affirming environment for all LGBTQ youth and the children of LGBT parents.

We pursue “impact litigation” – lawsuits that set new precedents to establish and enforce protections for LGBTQ youth in a range of settings, including schools, community programs, the child welfare system, and the juvenile justice system.

Often helping LGTBQ youth means intervention, not a lawsuit. Our goal is to empower youth to advocate for themselves. We first assess whether we can coach the youth or family involved to resolve the discrimination on their own. But when necessary, a GLAD lawyer will intervene directly with a school or other agency on the youth’s behalf, providing the incentive the agency needs to act properly.

We work collaboratively with state agencies, statewide LGBT organizations, youth advocates, and other allies, to draft and promote legislation that is essential for ensuring full legal protections for LGBTQ youth and the children of LGBT parents throughout New England and beyond.

We strive to effect policy change with public and private entities. Our work extends to many areas affecting youth, including anti-bullying efforts, safe and supportive policies in the foster care and juvenile justice systems, and positive learning environments in schools.

Through GLAD Answers, social media and other community outreach, and publications for schools and providers, we offer useful, user-friendly and up-to-date legal resources. We provide LGBTQ youth with information about their rights so that they can invoke the protection of the law when needed, and educate providers and the general public in order to ensure full and lasting protections for LGBTQ youth in all settings.

Latest Youth Initiative NewsMore→

June 10, 2016

GLAD Praises RI Dept. of Ed Guidelines on Supporting Transgender Students

Rhode Island’s Department of Education (RIDE) has issued guidelines to schools to protect the state’s transgender students.

“The guidance is … Read More →

April 29, 2016

LGBT Legal Orgs Say NC and MS Federal Funding is at Risk for Anti-T Discrimination

GLAD has joined the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal, National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Transgender Law Center in a letter urging … Read More →

Latest Youth Initiative Blog PostsMore→

August 15, 2016

A Look Back at High School

Public affairs and education intern Alison Geoffrey reflects on her experience in high school.

July 13, 2016

Why Religion is Not an Excuse to Discriminate in Public Accommodations

With wit, logic and common sense, Professor Joe Singer exposes how public accommodations that invoke “religious freedom” to bar service to LGBTQ … Read More →

Related Cases


G.G. v. Gloucester County School Board

GLAD, the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), and Goodwin Procter LLP have filed an amicus brief on behalf of medical and mental health … Read More →

Victory • 2014

Doe v. Clenchy

January 30, 2014 - Victory! Maine High Court rules  that denying a transgender girl the use of the girls' restroom at her school violated her rights … Read More →

Victory • 2012

Parents of Student K.1 / SAU #53 – Epsom School District

In a victory upholding the efficacy and enforceability of New Hampshire’s anti-bullying statute, GLAD represented an Epsom, New Hampshire student … Read More →

Victory • 2000

Doe v. Yunits

GLAD obtained a landmark ruling, in the first reported decision ever in a case brought by a transgender student, that a middle school may not … Read More →

Victory • 1999

Jason H. v. Boston Public Schools

Representing a Boston student subjected to peer harassment, GLAD negotiated a settlement that includes system-wide training and information regarding … Read More →

Victory • 1999

West High GSA v. Manchester School District

Faced with a lawsuit by GLAD and its NH co-counsel, the Manchester School District directed West High’s principal to recognize a student initiated … Read More →

Victory • 1980

Aaron Fricke v. Richard B. Lynch

GLAD’s 1980 case, Aaron Fricke v. Richard B. Lynch, is a milestone in protecting the rights of LGBT students. GLAD founder John Ward and co-counsel … Read More →