TCRP Litigation and Education Programs on behalf of LGBTQ Rights
Since 1990, the Texas Civil Rights Project (TCRP) has achieved important successes in areas such as disability rights, Title IX in secondary education, minority voting rights, privacy, farm workers’ rights, traditional civil liberties (such as free speech, assembly, and press, and equal protection), and opposing official misconduct, sex discrimination, employment bias, and grand jury discrimination.
TCRP services include direct legal representation, community education, public awareness campaigns, education and advocacy for those who have historically been underserved or excluded from the justice system.
TCRP has a long history of protecting and asserting the rights of the LGBTQ community:
- Represented a gay man in a case which ultimately required Williamson County Jail to provide medical services for HIV+ individuals
- Successful lawsuit on behalf of a gay Abilene man denied shock probation for a DWI because he was HIV+ and sent to prison in Beaumont instead
- Settled two cases involving unlawful disclosure of HIV status of LGBT clients by health-care providers (Odessa nurse, Austin HIV clinic workers)
- Litigation on behalf of a junior-high boy who was harassed by classmates based on his percieved sexual orientation; this resulted in Georgetown ISD establishing a school-wide anti-bullying diversity training program with the Anti-Defamation League
- Current lawsuit against Kilgore ISD where a coach outed a lesbian student to her mother
- Settled a federal case on behalf of a high school art teacher, fired because he allowed his students to paint a mural with two men kissing
- Appealing the dismissal of a case against San Antonio police who busted into the home of a lesbian couple late at night with an erroneous “no knock” warrant and then harassed them for an hour
- Successful suit against an Austin landlord, who evicted a lesbian couple because of their sexuality
- Won a case against the El Paso county jail for failing to protect a young gay man from being raped, who had been raped before in the same jail, being held there on relatively minor charges
- Ongoing lawsuit against El Paso police and Chico’s Tacos for an incident in which two men were thrown out of a restaurant for exchanging a kiss at their table. When they called the police for help, the police threatened them with arrest for violating state homosexual conduct statute ruled unconstitutional in 2003 (Lawrence v Texas, 539 U.S. 558)
- Filed amicus curiae briefs in Lawrence v. Texas, both in state court and U.S. Supreme Court
TCRP’s Safe Schools Program
The Safe Schools Program is a free, curriculum-based seminar series for middle and high school students aimed at preventing harassment and discrimination in school. Safe Schools exists to protect all students, with a focus on the LGBTQ community.
Research shows that the top reasons for harassment in school are: (1) appearance, (2) perceived sexuality, and (3) gender expression. The program brings these issues to light through class discussion, case studies, students’ rights information, and personal accounts by speakers from the LGBT community. Ultimately, the goal is to empower students to create a safer learning environment for themselves and their peers.
Since 2008, the Safe Schools Program provided presentations to schools and organizations such as: Pflugerville High School, Lehman High School, St. Stephen’s Episcopal School, Lanier High School, LBJ High School, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), The University of Texas Law Day, Region XIII, and The Anti-Defamation League’s Summer Educators’ Institute.