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Building a Better World for LGBTQ+ Students and Communities

LGBTQ+ students are facing unprecedented attacks with increasingly anti-transgender rhetoric and “Don’t Say Gay or Trans” legislation from some politicians.

We need to work together as educators, parents, and elected officials to eliminate the vitriolic and divisive rhetoric from our schools and communities. Students of all backgrounds, sexual orientations, races and genders deserve to feel safe, supported and affirmed at school—and trans and nonbinary students are no different.

Here, you’ll find LGBTQ+ information, tools and resources to support our transgender and non-binary students and the LGBTQ+ community in our classrooms and our daily lives.

Forced Outing Policies in Our Schools

Politicians are targeting LGBTQ+ students, their right to a safe education free from discrimination and the educators who support them.

Some school districts in California are adopting school board policies requiring schools to force the outing of students about their gender identity without the student’s consent. This is in direct violation of case law and in violation of guidance by the California Department of Education.

We are also seeing other attacks, including banning Pride flags, removal of curriculum related to telling the truth about our history, efforts to ban books, and broader attacks on our unions and our collective bargaining.

  • Policies that require outing students without their consent harm everyone—students, parents and guardians, families and school staff—by removing opportunities to build trust.
  • 64% of transgender and nonbinary young people reported that they have felt discriminated against in the past year due to their gender identity.
  • Schools should be welcoming and safe places for all students, regardless of their race, sexual orientation, or gender identity

Image of CTA President David Goldberg with the following quote: “When politicians try to push their own agendas and politicize our classrooms, educators can and will push back together in their union. California students deserve to learn a rich and inclusive curriculum in a safe learning environment, and teachers should not be penalized for providing that education or for following state law. CTA will continue to support educators and students."

Our union has taken a strong stance against the policies forcing the outing of LGBTQ+ students without their consent, as adopted by some school districts in California. These policies violate case law and the guidance by the California Department of Education, causing harm not only to students but also affecting parents, guardians, families, and school staff by eroding trust.

Educators are caught in the middle between state law and district policy and are facing retaliation from their employers for protecting students’ privacy or even serving as a staff resource for a GSA (Genders & Sexualities Alliances) club while also confronting broader attacks like the banning of Pride flags and the removal of inclusive curricula.

In response to these challenges, our union is committed to advocating for safe, supportive, and inclusive educational environments free from discrimination. Policies promoting discrimination and hindering a rich and truthful curriculum should not overshadow the fundamental mission of education. To uphold the integrity of education, our union vows to resist harmful policies rigorously, ensuring that educators are not penalized for providing quality education in compliance with state laws and that the focus remains on enhancing learning conditions and resources essential for every student’s success.

Fighting Extremism in Our School Districts

Orange Unified Education Association leaders Greg Goodlander, Karin Barone and Dr. Heather Chapman shared some learned best practices on fighting extremism in your school district.

  • Start the work now. Get engaged in your community before extremists go public, so your local is seen as a community partner. Getting active in your local elections is key.
  • Strength in numbers. Ask members from neighboring CTA locals to support by attending your school board meetings. Be in close contact with CTA leaders and staff, who can provide important assistance.
  • Safety above all. Have a conversation in your local about how to ensure safety for members and students at school board meetings and other events.
  • Tell your story. Establish a presence on social media to share your story as educators in your community.
  • Take care of you. Self-care is especially critical in these highly charged environments.
  • It’s a marathon. Prepare and pace yourself for a lengthy fight that can be very draining, even in the best of conditions.

LGBTQ+ students have rights under federal laws.

Read NEA’s latest guidance on how to communicate effectively about current issues facing the LGBTQ+ community.

Check out this breakdown from NEA’s legal team on the recent anti-trans laws passed in several states.

Take Action

Protect our schools by supporting bills in Congress and actions that fight to end discrimination against LGBTQ+ people.



State Guidance for School Districts and Educators on Inclusive Education

On May 30, 2023, the California Department of Education released this guidance on inclusive education addressing the removal of instructional materials and curriculum. Gov. Gavin Newsom, Attorney General Rob Bonta and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond issued this joint letter amplifying the guidance and emphasizing that the state has and will exercise authority to investigate and enforce the right of students to receive inclusive and accurate education.

Download the Teaching Tolerance guide: Best Practices for Serving LGBTQ Students

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Grants and Scholarships

LGBTQ+ Safety in Schools Grant & Scholarship Program in Honor of Guy DeRosa

The LGBTQ+ Safety in Schools Grant and Scholarship Program in Honor of Guy DeRosa was created to promote human and civil rights by making our public schools safe for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer/questioning+ persons.

LGBTQ+ Pride Month

Former President Barack Obama declared June to be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Pride month. The modern “pride” movement began after the Stonewall riots in 1969.

Harvey Milk Day

On May 22 we honor Harvey Milk, the first openly gay politician in California and an advocate for civil rights for all Americans.

Learn More about Harvey Milk

To learn more about Milk’s life and contributions, visit the Harvey Milk Foundation. And check out the SFO Museum Exhibition Catalog: Harvey Milk: Messenger of Hope – SFO Museum.


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