Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-03-14
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Schools look at software blocking non-sexual LGBT websites
From an ACLU news release

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

NEW YORK — Public schools across the country overwhelmingly responded positively to the "Don't Filter Me" campaign to address discriminatory censorship of web content in public schools, the American Civil Liberties Union announced in a report today.

The report chronicles the conclusion of the campaign, which asked students to determine if web content geared toward the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities — a frequent target of censorship in schools — was blocked by their school's web browsers.

The ACLU found that most schools did not realize that, in addition to blocking all sexually explicit websites regardless of sexual orientation, their filtering software also contained a feature to block LGBT-related websites that were not sexually explicit. Students were blocked from accessing anti-bullying resources or websites about the civil rights of LGBT people, but could still access anti-gay websites that condemn homosexuality or oppose legal protections for LGBT people. After being contacted by the ACLU, most schools reconfigured the software so that students could access LGBT-related websites on a viewpoint-neutral basis.

"Public schools aren't looking for software that discriminates," said Joshua Block, staff attorney with the ACLU LGBT Project. "Schools want filtering software that blocks pornography while still allowing students to access diverse viewpoints and educational resources. They don't need or want software that discriminatorily blocks non-sexual LGBT websites."

The ACLU had to sue one district in order to fix its discriminatory software. That district, in Camdenton, Missouri was ordered by a federal court to reconfigure its software to stop discriminating against LGBT websites. The court held that under the First Amendment, public schools cannot use filtering software that engages in viewpoint discrimination.

The release of the report comes on Banned Websites Awareness Day and in the middle of Banned Books Awareness Week, which draws attention to censorship of literature and online resources in public schools.

"Just as a school library can't censor a book about LGBT people on the shelves, school web filters can't block access to pro-LGBT content online," said Block. "Barring access to all LGBT content sends a harmful message to kids that their school thinks being gay is shameful or inappropriate."

The campaign also prompted software companies to change their web filtering programs. Several software companies simply removed their special LGBT filters from the software and categorized all LGBT-related websites into generally applicable categories such as "history," or "politics." Other companies issued public statements and rewrote their category descriptions to make clear to public schools that the LGBT filters are not recommended for public school customers and do not have to be activated in order to block pornography or sexually explicit content.

Although the campaign is ending, the ACLU has provided a toolkit as an appendix to the report for students to advocate on their own behalves if their school blocks pro-LGBT content. Students are also encouraged to contact their local ACLU offices if their rights are being violated.

The full report can be viewed at:

For more information on the campaign, please visit:

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Precious Minds project seeks to mentor youth 2018-03-14 - Precious Minds Mentoring Program is a program for young women, founded by a youth who has experienced her own struggles and who now ...

Gay News

Point Foundation hosts networking event at Salero 2018-03-12 - Approximately 80 people attended Point's 2018 Chicago Cornerstone Society Reception at Salero restaurant on March 8. Point board members Alexia Ward and ...

Gay News

9 to 12 Bowling hosts Youth Outlook 'fun-raiser' March 31 2018-03-08 - The 9 to 12 bowling league is hosting its 23rd annual fundraiser, "Bowl for Their Future," a fun-raiser for Youth Outlook Sat., March ...

Gay News

As students plan protests of Parkland shooting, UCLU urges civics lessons in education 2018-03-05 - Chicago — Noting the heightened interest of high school students across the nation and Illinois to participate in public policy discussions, the American ...

Gay News

Olympian Adam Rippon Launches GLAAD Campaign for LGBTQ Youth 2018-03-01 - New York — GLAAD, the world's largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, today announced that Olympic medalist Adam Rippon launched a fundraising campaign to ...

Gay News

ELECTIONS 4th Dist. State Rep. candidate Delia Ramirez on marijuana law, homeless youth 2018-02-28 - Community advocate Delia Ramirez was until recently the Deputy Director of the Community Renewal Society: she resigned to become one of four candidates ...

Gay News

30 Under 30 Awards to honor young LGBT individuals, nominations sought 2018-02-28 - Windy City Times is seeking to recognize 30 more outstanding LGBT individuals ( and allies ) for its annual 30 Under 30 Awards. ...

Gay News

University of Chicago teaching program starts LGBTQ initiative 2018-02-28 - In a new initiative, University of Chicago's Urban Teacher Education Program ( UChicago UTEP ) is adding gender identity and sexuality to its ...

Gay News

Point notes new college program, holding event 2018-02-28 - Point Foundation (Point) encourages LGBTQ community-college students who are planning to transfer to a four-year degree program to apply for its Community College ...

Gay News

Journalist explains history of LGBTQ acronym at event 2018-02-27 - "I'd like to apologize on behalf of my entire generation," longtime journalist E.J. Graff told the audience who attended her lecture "LGBTQ: How ...


Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.