What If My Child Isn’t LGBTQI, But Is Being Harassed As If He Or She Was?
The New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (NJ LAD) not only prohibits discrimination against people who are actually in protected groups, but also prevents hostility, intimidation or abuse in an educational setting against students who are (inaccurately) perceived or believed to be in those groups. Put simply, a straight student is just as protected from homophobic abuse as an LGBTQI student would be. After all, if a school were to escape responsibility and accountability for permitting a student to be called homophobic, abusive names simply because the student was straight, we wouldn’t be doing very much to prevent and discourage homophobia.
This protection also extends to students who, in ever-increasing numbers, are openly declaring themselves trans (at a young enough age that they can’t begin medical intervention, but can begin to transition their clothing, mannerisms and outward appearances), or even students who are simply questioning their sexuality or gender identity or expression.
It is important to remember that homophobic, transphobic and other types of abuse directed at sexual minorities is not OK regardless of whether the target actually belongs under any part of the LGBTQI rubric.