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LGBTQ+ Support & Protection

Defending the Freedom of our LGBTQ+ Students to be Themselves
Our LGBTQ+ students need us to ensure our schools are places where all students are protected and empowered.

How to use this toolkit

  • Read about the importance of supporting and protecting LGBTQ+ students, take action, and get involved with the movement
  • Find art to help you communicate your opinions and express your emotions
  • Learn how to talk about this issue effectively and respectfully, particularly with those who think differently
  • Explore resources to help you learn more about LGBTQ+ issues

Stand Against Hate and Bias


We all deserve the right to live, work, and thrive no matter our sexual orientation or gender identities—no exceptions. But today, certain politicians are pushing laws that restrict our freedoms and divide us, so they can get and hold onto power at any cost—even if that means denying us the basic rights, resources, and respect that we all deserve.  

Educators, parents, students, and communities are uniting across race, genders, and place to demand safe and affirming schools where all our students can learn, grow, and thrive. 

Now is our time to demand the fully resourced and supportive schools all our families need, and to ensure all LGBTQ+ people are free to be their authentic selves and pursue their dreams. 

Please use the guidance in this toolkit freely and as you see fit! Share it with your colleagues and community, so we can all work together in the fight for LGBTQ+ rights. We're absolute believers that if our words don't spread, they don't work and as such we are honored to have you use this language verbatim.



How we speak about issues is of critical importance in activism. Use these narratives for creative and social media content, visuals, public messages, calls to action, spokesperson materials, and more.

6 Key Narratives

Freedom from Being Put in "Boxes"

Whether we are Black, white or brown, Native or newcomer, transgender or not, we want the freedom to be ourselves. But some people try to get and hold onto power by putting us in boxes based on what we look like, where we’re from, or our genders. We see this in how schools tell Black kids how to keep their hair or send girls home for the clothes they wear. And in how certain politicians exploit lack of familiarity with transgender people, excluding trans kids from healthcare, school, or sports. They stoke fear so we turn against some group instead of demanding what our families need. By joining together, we can make this a place where we are all free to thrive and support each other for who we are.

Everyone Deserves a Quality Education, Period

Educators want to provide every student with an accurate and quality education. But some politicians are pushing laws that restrict some kids' freedom to learn, excluding them from healthcare, school, and sports.

A Politically Motivated Fake "Moral Panic"

Politicians fuel divisions among parents by pushing laws that erase our history, from Selma to Stonewall. We are not fooled by their cruel and politically motivated tactics and will continue to join parents, students, and educators to make public schools places where we are all free to thrive and support each other for who we are.  

A Distraction from What Really Matters

Politicians are exploiting lack of familiarity with transgender students to distract us from their failures to deliver for our families and communities. We must work together to force elected officials to address the real issues facing public schools, like solving the teacher shortage, fixing teacher pay, and providing all students with the support and opportunities they need to succeed. 

The Right to be our Authentic Selves

Across our races, backgrounds and genders, we want to be treated with dignity and respect. But today, certain politicians are pushing laws that restrict our freedoms because of the color of our skin, what’s in our wallets, or because we are transgender. They exploit divisions and fears among us so they can get and hold onto power, denying us the basic rights, resources, and respect all people deserve. By [rejecting this division/passing protections against discrimination], we can ensure each one of us has the freedom to be ourselves, pursue our dreams, and have a good life — no exceptions.

Harnessing the Power of Young People

Young people across time, race, and movements for equality have always helped lead the way. But now as before, certain politicians are trying to get and hold onto power by silencing young people — stoking fear against Black and brown kids leading protests for racial justice, and taking advantage of unfamiliarity with transgender people to punish students for being their authentic selves. Whenever a powerful few have tried to pick and choose who counts, there have always been those of us who showed up for each other and built welcoming communities. Now it’s our time to show up, reject division, and chart a better future for all of us, no matter our ages, races, or genders.

RA attendees hold signs supporting LGBTQ+ students

Creating Welcoming and Empowering Schools

Creating Welcoming and Empowering Schools

NEA offers educators LGBTQ+ information, tools, and resources they need to support transgender and non-binary students, to be more inclusive of LGBTQ+ history in their classrooms, and to stop LGBTQ+ bias and intolerance in our public schools.
LGBT and American flags

NEA LGBTQ+ Trainings

NEA offers multiple LGBTQ+ trainings to teach educators and school personnel how to create a safe school climate for students and staff.
a black girl hangs a poster with a rainbow that says love on it

Creating an Inclusive Space

Learn about your rights, and get tips for avoiding controversy while decorating your classroom, school bus, and other workspaces.
A woman holds a small whiteboard with a message inviting people to share their pronouns

A Guide to Pronouns

Use this guide to better understand and use pronouns in a respectful way at school and in the community.
A book is marked with a pride ribbon

2023 Back to School Checklist

Start the new school year right with this guide from Human Rights Campaign.
Milo and Marcos book cover

LBGTQ+ Book Recommendations

Inspire and engage your students with these recommended LGBTQ+-affirming books.
Rainbow Flag

Get a Free Set of LGBTQ+ Books

Teachers, librarians, and other school staff can request a set of LGBTQ+-affirming K-12 books, courtesy of GLSEN's Rainbow Library program.
Student holds up rainbow flag in school hallway

Your Rights and Protections

Learn about SCOTUS's 2020 Bostock ruling and other federal laws that protect LGBTQ+ public school educators and students from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.


New Title IX Rules: An Overview

On April 19, 2024, the Biden Administration, through the U.S. Department of Education (ED), released its final rule “to fully effectuate Title IX’s promise that no person experiences sex discrimination in federally funded education.” The new rule amends the existing Title IX regulations and goes into effect on August 1, 2024.

This overview details the protections the new rule provides in three main areas: 1) protections for LGBTQ+ students and educators; 2) protections for pregnancy and related conditions; and 3) changes to requirements for schools to prevent, investigate, and respond to complaints of sex discrimination and sex-based harassment.

Learn more

Transgender Awareness and Support

Transgender Awareness and Support

Use these resources to foster a trans-inclusive culture in your school.
A woman holds a sign reading Trans Children Are Not Political Pawns

Legal Guidance on Transgender Students' Rights

Get a brief primer on transgender issues and learn best practices for schools when it comes to respecting trans students' rights.
A chalk drawing of a rainbow on a sidewalk

Schools in Transition: A Guide to Support Transgender Students in K-12

This helpful guide offers practical advice, field-tested tips, and narratives of real experiences from students and educators.
A person with LGBTQIA+ written in rainbow colors across their knuckles

Trans Action Kit

GLSEN's toolkit helps educators and students learn about gender diversity, pronoun visibility, trans students' rights, inclusive curriculum, and more.
People at a march supporting trans youth

Transgender Awareness Week

This annual event from GLAAD raises the visibility of transgender people and addresses issues members of the community face.
A row of toy blocks spells out LGBTQ while a judge bangs a gavel in background

What to Know about State Anti-Trans Laws

State legislatures across the country have introduced a record number of laws attacking the rights of transgender youth. Here's how to fight back.
A row of Lego people each representing a color of the rainbow

Transgender Youth and the Freedom To Be Ourselves

Learn how to use a Race Class Gender Narrative to effectively mobilize advocates (particularly Black, AAPI, and Gen Z audiences) to support LGBTQ+ rights.
ron desantis

Anti-LGBTQ+ Laws and Legislation

Keep track of state legislators' efforts to limit the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.

Art to Share

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From Our Partners

From Our Partners

Trevor Project logo

The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project’s mission is to end suicide among LGBTQ young people.
GLSEN logo


GLSEN works at the federal, state, and local levels to advance intersectional equity for LGBTQ+ youth in K-12 education systems.
Human Rights Campaign Pride Inside logo

Human Rights Campaign

The Human Rights Campaign envisions a world where every member of the LGBTQ+ family has the freedom to live their truth without fear, and with equality under the law.


The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance empowers LGBTQ+ Asians and Pacific Islanders through community capacity building, policy advocacy, and resource development.
Lambda Legal logo

Lambda Legal

Lambda Legal represents LGBTQ+ people and people living with HIV in the court of law and in the court of public opinion.
Official seal of the U.S. Department of Education

U.S. Department of Education

The DOE's Office for Civil Rights ensure that LGBTQI+ students have equal access to all aspects of a school’s programs and activities.

Are you an affiliate?

Jump to updates, opportunities, and resources for NEA state and local affiliates.
3 activists hold a banner protesting immigration policy

Take Action on Racial & Social Justice

We are on a mission to dismantle unjust systems, and together, as educators and allies, we can take actions to address the inequities that result from institutionally racist policies and practices in our schools and the communities in which our students live. Join us to work for access and opportunity for all students.
National Education Association

Great public schools for every student

The National Education Association (NEA), the nation's largest professional employee organization, is committed to advancing the cause of public education. NEA's 3 million members work at every level of education—from pre-school to university graduate programs. NEA has affiliate organizations in every state and in more than 14,000 communities across the United States.