Tennessee School Relents in Battle to Allow Pro-Gay Messages

The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee and Lambda Legal announced yesterday that a Tennessee high school has agreed to stop censoring a student who has worn shirts with pro-gay messages.

According to The Advocate, Greenbrier High School officials temporarily suspended 15-year-old Cole Goforth on April 5 after he wore a shirt to class that read “I ♥ Lady Gay Gay.” Administrators said that the shirt was “disruptive.”

After mounting pressure from the ACLU and Lambda Legal, however, the school has relented on its “pro-gay” ban.

"Sending Cole home for wearing a shirt with the word 'gay' on it not only trampled this student's right to freedom of expression, but also sent a destructive message to all students that there is something wrong with being gay or even saying the word 'gay,'" said Lambda Legal attorney Beth Littrell. "We are pleased that school officials have recognized their obligation to respect pro-LGBT speech and to protect students from anti-gay harassment instead of allowing bullies to silence speakers."

The school has also agreed to provide anti-bullying training to staff and students “to ensure that it is clear that harassment of any student, regardless of sexual orientation, is not acceptable.”

GLAAD will continue to follow developments in this story. Updates can be found on GLAADblog.org