As debate continues in Tennessee about the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” bill, the ACLU has been finding success ensuring that students across the country have access to LGBT educational websites. The organization’s “Don’t Filter Me” campaign reaches out to school districts that have webfilters that block affirmative and education LGBT content while still allowing harmful, dangerous, and unscientific material on so-called “ex-gay therapy” through. Today, two Texas schools have agreed to end their censorship of the content.
These two school districts join schools in Missouri and New Jersey who have responded to the ACLU’s complaints by adjusting their web filters to allow students to access educational sites like the Day of Silence, the It Gets Better Project, and the Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network (GLSEN). The ACLU has sent letters to schools in states across the country with complaints about inappropriate filtering and continues to invite students to test their own school’s filter to see which sites are blocked and which aren’t.
A study recently found that students in conservative areas with lower access to LGBT education and support are more likely to attempt suicide. Nearly 90 percent of LGBT middle and high school students report experiencing harassment at school. The ACLU’s complaint states that the blocking of affirmative LGBT content violates students’ First Amendment rights to free speech and the Equal Access Act and also constitutes viewpoint discrimination. Watch the ACLU’s video about the “Don’t Filter Me” campaign: