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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→

October 6, 2015

GLAD’s Jennifer Levi Testifies in Support of Transgender Equality

Jennifer Levi, Director of the Transgender Rights Project for Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders, testified today at the Massachusetts Statehouse in … Read More →

August 12, 2015

RI Governor Signs Legislation to Protect Children in DCYF Care from Discrimination

Today Governor Raimondo signed a bill sponsored by Senator Gayle Goldin and Representative Grace Diaz adding non-discrimination language to the … Read More →

Latest Youth Initiative Blog PostsMore→

August 31, 2015

Everything is Rent

For so many LGBT people who have been rejected by families and experienced disproportionate rates of homelessness, poverty, discrimination and … Read More →

August 26, 2015

My Child’s School Won’t Tell Me How They Disciplined a Bully: What Can I Do?

Oftentimes we at GLAD hear from parents of LGBTQ youth who have been told that the school cannot disclose any disciplinary steps they have taken … Read More →

Project Director

Photo of Vickie Henry

Vickie Henry

Vickie Henry leads GLAD's Youth Initiative. Vickie joined the legal team as a Senior Staff Attorney in January 2011, after a twenty year history supporting GLAD as a volunteer and co-counsel. She is a skilled litigator who came to GLAD from the law firm Foley Hoag LLP, where she worked for 15 years, becoming a partner in 2002. Vickie focused her career on intellectual property and commercial litigation disputes.

Prior to joining Foley Hoag, Vickie served as law clerk to the Honorable Denise R. Johnson of the Vermont Supreme Court. She is … 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 →