Inclusive Policy Advocacy
Policies affecting LGBTQ+ students in Arizona schools
GLSEN’s policy work strives to develop safe and inclusive national, state, and local policies that create positive school climates for all students, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. GLSEN is also committed to dismantling all identity-based oppressions, including but not limited to, race, ethnicity, ability, and immigration status. The policy pages of the GLSEN National website contain helpful information about federal policy, state policy, local policy, and policy resources like model anti-bullying and harassment policies.
Locally, GLSEN Arizona also works closely with the ACLU of Arizona, Equality Arizona, Arizona Trans Youth and Parent Organization (AZTYPO), HRC Arizona, and other organizations to fight discriminatory bills that, if passed, would harm LGBTQ students in Arizona schools. For the 2023 legislative session, we are monitoring the following bills. We encourage students, teachers, and parents to take action against this harmful legislation.
Here’s How You Can Take Action Now
Whether you are a student, parent, teacher, administrator, or community member, you play a role in helping to fight anti-LGBTQ bills. Here are some actions you can take immediately:
Let your voice be heard through the Request to Speak (RTS) system. Once your account is activated, you take a number of actions through the online system, without being physically present during committee hearings (i.e., from the comfort of your home or workplace). You can (a) register a formal position on a bill (“for” or “against”), (b) submit brief comments about your position, or (c) indicate that you wish to make oral comments during a committee hearing.
Register your RTS account with the Arizona legislature. RTS is a website that allows the public to register opinions and voice comments on bills as they are discussed during committee hearings in the Arizona Senate or House of Representatives. Learn more about how to create an account by visiting this page on the ACLU of Arizona website. Note that accounts must be activated in person before you will have full access to all RTS system functions. If you are unable to visit the Capitol in person to activate your account, you can fill out an online form to allow volunteers with the Civic Engagement Beyond Voting to create an account on your behalf. After your account is activated, review the AZ legislature's RTS manual for step-by-step instructions on how to use the system.
Find and contact your legislators. First, use the online district locator tool to look up your address and see your AZ Senate and House district. After locating your districts, look up your legislators.
Sign up to tell your story. GLSEN Arizona has developed a training on how to tell your story as part of the legislative process, including during hearings around anti-LGBTQ bills. Scroll down for more information.
Educate yourself on the issues by reviewing these policy resources.
Learn to tell your story to advocate for LGBTQ+ youth!
This legislative session, GLSEN Arizona is offering free biweekly Zoom workshops to equip community members – students, educators, school administrators, and parents – with the practical knowledge needed to deliver their own 2-minute testimony at the legislature and during school board meetings.
Key Features of Testimony for Public Advocacy
- Covers the structure of a 2-minute testimony
- Breaks down specific components of an impactful testimony
- Logistics of testifying and steps to protect your safety and privacy after testifying
[I]t is our belief that to work with School Resource Officers (SROs) would run counter to our mission, compromise our efficacy, and make schools feel hostile, especially for BIPOC students. For these reasons, we at GLSEN Phoenix support policies that defund SROs.
Arizona LGBTQ+ Lobby Day
Every year, Equality Arizona alongside other organizations and community members alike rally together to lobby for state-wide legislation that protects the LGBTQ+ community from discrimination and harassment, whether it's lobbying for the repeal or blocking of harmful legislation or advocating for the implementation of legislation that protects. LGBTQ+ Lobby Day is an opportunity to meet with your legislators and learn critical advocacy skills with your community.
In 2019, GLSEN Arizona was part of the coalition of organizations that successfully lobbied for the repeal of the "No Promo Homo" Law, which prohibited all public school districts in Arizona from including in their HIV/AIDS instruction any information that “promotes a homosexual life-style, portrays homosexuality as a positive alternative life-style, [or] suggests that some methods of sex are safe methods of homosexual sex.”
In 2020, GLSEN Arizona also lobbied against the trans sports bill that would prevent trans girls and young women from playing on the sports team of the gender they identify with.
“I'm really excited to see our conversations about safe schools grow and to have, on policy committee, the opportunity to expand our notions of safe schools.”
Carolyn Evans, GLSEN Phoenix Board Member + Policy Co-Chair
Attend Your Local School Board Meeting
Our local school boards can have the most direct impact on student safety. For instance, school boards make important curriculum decisions and decide whether a school stays online during a pandemic versus hybrid or in-person. As an educator, student, family member, or local community member, your voice can make a difference in creating safer schools for LGBTQ+ youth.
How can you make your voice heard? First things first, visit your school district's website. You can find your school district using K12 Academics directory here. Next, do your research; find out what the issues are, what's being voted on, and any relevant facts or findings. Once you have all the information you need, attend your district's next school board meeting. The next meeting date should be listed on the district website's event calendar with information on how to attend in-person and/or virtually. Most school boards even provide an online livestream for public viewing.
If you're feeling empowered to speak to the safety of LGBTQ+ students, you can submit your public comment. There is power in numbers, so rallying folks to support or oppose the same issue can make a difference. GLSEN Arizona can help. For more information or support from GLSEN Arizona, email firstname.lastname@example.org.