AFT Resolution

AFT Condemns Record-Breaking Year of Anti-LGBTQ+ Policies

WHEREAS, the American Federation of Teachers stands for equality and human rights for all, embracing inclusiveness of all groups from the time of its founding more than 100 years ago; and

WHEREAS, AFT members are committed to ensuring the safety, well-being and success of those we represent and those we serve, particularly our students, regardless of their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, race, national origin, religion, disability status or economic class; and

WHEREAS, the AFT was the first international labor union to defend the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers in the 1970s; and

WHEREAS, on June 30, 2023, in a supermajority 6-3 decision in 303 Creative LLC v. Elenis, the U.S. Supreme Court turned back the clock of progress by allowing entities to discriminate against members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning (LGBTQ+) community, by weaponizing and contorting the freedom of speech and the free exercise of religion; and

WHEREAS, in 2023, a record 520 anti-transgender state laws and 23 national laws have been introduced, including more than 30 anti-transgender bathroom bills filed, more than 100 anti-LGBTQ+ curriculum censorship bills and 45 anti-LGBTQ+ drag performance ban bills; and

WHEREAS, this extremist movement continues to use these legislative attacks coupled with mass disinformation campaigns to continue a cycle of hate and bigotry that seeks to destroy the basic rights and freedoms of the LGBTQ+ community while dividing the country further; and

WHEREAS, all of this targeting of the LGBTQ+ community has increased the difficulty and fears among AFT members to effectively perform their duty to foster a safe and affirming working and learning environment for all students, patients and community members with fidelity; and

WHEREAS, these restrictive and punitive measures make already vulnerable students even less secure, which has been shown to lead to students missing classes, underperforming academically and dropping out of school, as well as making them prone to homelessness; and

WHEREAS, a study by the Center for American Progress found that LGBTQ+ patients report experiencing discrimination in healthcare settings, ultimately discouraging them from seeking medical care, and, as a result, LGBTQ+ people may experience greater difficulty in finding alternative services if they are turned away; and

WHEREAS, the Trevor Project, a national organization founded to eradicate suicide and other mental health challenges facing the LGBTQ+ community, reports that affirming school environments were found to have the strongest association with reduced odds of a suicide attempt among LGBTQ+ youth; and

WHEREAS, suicide is the second-leading cause of death among adolescents and young adults ages 10 to 34 years old in the United States, and transgender and nonbinary adolescents report significantly higher rates of suicide attempts, up to five times greater, compared with their cisgender peers; and

WHEREAS, a 2021 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey indicated that 43 percent of transgender youth have been bullied on school property and 29 percent of transgender youth, 21 percent of gay and lesbian youth and 22 percent of bisexual youth have attempted suicide; and

WHEREAS, these laws and their proponents have legislated and misused the courts to enact policies that promote discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning individuals:

RESOLVED, that the American Federation of Teachers will continue to defend the rights of the LGBTQ+ community to learn, work and live freely without fear of harassment and discrimination based on their sexual orientation and/or their gender identity or expression; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will continue to vigorously defend school, healthcare and public employee workers who support LGBTQ+ youth, their families and the broader LGBTQ+ community, and those who teach about their existence and history and the fight for dignity, rights and pride for LGBTQ+ people; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will advocate for and support LGBTQ+-inclusive schools; anti-bullying and harassment policies; professional development, continuing education and training for school staff; complaint procedures that are inclusive of LGBTQ+ pupils; and clear, age-appropriate and inclusive policies relating to the use of school facilities, including, but not limited to, bathrooms and locker rooms; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will develop model resolutions for local affiliates and state federations to adopt in support of the LGBTQ+ community that uplift the needs of LGBTQ+ students, families, patients and the broader community and lobby for similar measures to be adopted at the local and state level; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will engage local affiliates and state federations in critical community conversations that connect students, parents, patients and community with AFT members to stand in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community and broader movement to ensure equal protection and the full participation in society for all students, families and members of the community, including the rights to use bathroom facilities, receive medical care, and live in communities and attend schools that are safe and welcoming; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will support resources and advocacy organizations―including, but not limited to, Pride at Work, PFLAG, GLSEN, the Human Rights Campaign, Lambda Legal and the Trevor Project―while also identifying local, community-based organizations that provide support and services to LGBTQ+ youth, workers and families; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT will continue to encourage, support and conduct LGBTQ+ trainings and workshops during the AFT convention and other AFT conferences and convenings; and

RESOLVED, that the AFT LGBTQ+ Task Force will help guide and support the work of the above actions.


Adopted July 19, 2023