Policy Changes for LGBT Issues in Schools

Brian Navarro (bio) explains how to build an LGBT-inclusive school environment.

You know, I have seen many changes. Changes in the department that are really going to be coming from a policy standpoint — The Department of Children and Family Services — laws and policies about one's gender expression and inexpression of their sexuality. So we're seeing some policy changes, which really means that the environment may still look very similar. I thought it could be hostile to the LGBT youth, but now there might be some actual consequences or repercussions that now as a therapist or as a social worker, I can direct that family or that child into having some kind of plan or recourse. And I think oftentimes going a legal route might be a way to pressure larger institutions to being compliant with the laws and policies that they have in place.

There's going to be a new policy in [Los Angeles Unified School District] LAUSD. I want to say it's under Title IV, or Title VII, which is the Civil Rights Act, so really trying, in the state of California, to incorporate gender identity and expression and sexual orientation as a protected class. And having that as a protected class means that you have certain freedoms and liberties, right, as an individual in this state and this school, and if those are ever abridged, there will be some kind of legal repercussions. So I think that's the beginning. The hard part is that for many of the youth that we work with, they're going to be marginalized. They are going to be people of color who really don't have the economic means to really begin to really fight large bureaucracies like that.

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Excerpted from an interview at CBITS Summit 2013 in Santa Monica, CA.


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