Don't Block LGBT
About the issue
When public schools and libraries in the United States take public funding, they are required to have safety filters in place to protect those accessing the Internet in the public facilities.
Where it impacts the LGBTQ community?
As it stands, the laws outlining how filters are set in public schools and libraries give the local district Chief Technology Officer (CTO) the power to interpret the laws of what content to filter. This gives the local district CTO the ability to block useful LGBT resources that are not sexually explicit in any way based off personal opinion and/or biases.
Actions that need to be taken!
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) must have guidance from Congress to set a national standard of what should be filtered. This means an LGBTQ individual living in rural Alabama or New York City would be able to access the same information.
"Unfortunately, many LGBTQ+ youth do not have a proper support system at home. This leads many of them to turn to online communities for emotional support and/or educational resources. Some of those individuals may not have access to internet at home, leaving school as the only place they can access these resources. LGBT Tech strives to create accessibility for LGBTQ+ resources."
~ Chris Wood, ED, LGBT Tech
Steps Taken by LGBT Tech
Letter to the FCC - In September of 2014, The LGBT Technology Partnership, 17 Members of Congress and over 20 LGBT organizations sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) seeking information on why LGBT content is blocked in public schools and libraries. Read letter here.
Response from FCC - In November of 2014, the FCC responded to our September letter confirming that the guidelines need to be outlined by Congress. Response from FCC here.
Don't Block LGBT Act 2016 - In September of 2016, with the help of Representative Mike Honda, LGBT Technology Partnership brought the Don't Block LGBTQ Act of 2016 to the floor of the 114th congress. Rep. Honda’s bill will ensure the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) protects useful LGBTQ resources from being blocked in public schools and libraries, without modifying other content filters. Read the bill here
Don't Block LGBT Act of 2017 - October of 2017, LGBT Technology Partnership & Institute worked with Rep. Schneider to introduce the Don’t Block LGBT Act for a second time and applaud his leadership to improve access for LGBTQ Americans. The final bill can be seen below. Press Release.