Out Law: What LGBT Youth Should Know about Their Legal Rights

Out LawBy Lisa Keen


Can a high school principal make you cover up your “gay pride” T-shirt? What can you do if school officials say your gay/straight alliance can’t meet on school grounds?

If you tell your doctor you’re gay, does he or she have to share that information with your parents?
Out Law answers these questions and others, laying out the basics about laws that impact LGBT youth and telling you what your rights are, how to exercise them, and when and where to seek help.

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Independent Bookstore | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Beacon Press

Praise and Reviews

“Keen’s book is brilliant in its concise and well-researched treatment of complex legal issues for LGBT people. Engaging and accessible, it offers a unique and smart focus on the rights of young gay people in each facet of their lives.” —Urvashi Vaid, author of Virtual Equality and Executive Director of the Arcus Foundation

“Jam-packed with information—history, obstacles, and remedies—Out Law is a terrific legal guide for LGBT kids looking to achieve equal rights.” —Nancy Garden, recipient of lifetime achievement award by the American Library Association and author of Annie on My Mind

“Keen’s book is must reading for all gay youth and those who care about them.” —Kevin M. Cathcart, executive director, Lambda Legal

“Keen delivers a sharp and coherent analysis of legal issues affecting LGBT kids today . . . Geared to LGBT teenagers, this important, eye-opening book is also an essential read for any parent with a gay child.” —Publisher’s Weekly Review

“Established journalist Keen has written an indispensable introduction to the legal rights of LGBT youth. Though she’s not trained in the law, Keen has clearly done her research, and the result is a systematic and comprehensive survey that belongs in every library.” —Booklist Review

“Lisa Keen has created an important, vibrant book that will serve as both a guide for LBGT youth looking to make sure they know their legal rights, and as an historical document for future generations to mark the community’s growth.” —Between the Lines Review

“From a legal perspective, she hits the nail dead on its head in providing very accurate legal advice while making sure to point out the obvious loopholes . . . If you’re looking for a solid resource on the law for LGBT youth, consider checking out Out Law. This may be a new survival guide. Knowledge is half the battle, and Out Law certainly presents ways to be able to utilize the law to fight bullying and discrimination.” —Edge Boston 

“Keen addresses youth of high school and college age with respect for their intelligence and experiences, and provides suggestions for appropriate use of channels likely to be available to those who are somewhat, although not yet completely, independent as they emerge as young adults.” —Voice of Youth Advocates Review

Download Chapter One

Read chapter one by clicking here. 

About the Author

Lisa Keen is chief correspondent for Keen News Service, a professional news organization specializing in national political and legal news that involves or affects gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people. We deliver that news to interested readers through select means: gay newspaper clients, websites of LGBT community-based organizations, and through our own website—keennewsservice.com. Keen has been reporting news for gay audiences since 1979 and, for 18 years, was editor of one of the nation’s most respected gay newspapers, The Washington Blade (and its eventual sister paper, The New York Blade). She was one of the first reporters for a gay newspaper to cover the national Democratic convention, one of the first to be credentialed to cover the White House, and one of the only reporters to carefully analyze gay voting trends.

She won the Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association for her coverage of an anti-gay initiative in Colorado and its subsequent landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision in Romer v. Evans. And she won a Society of Professional Journalists award for her series of interviews — from diagnosis to death — with one of the first gay men to develop AIDS in the early 1980s.

She has published commentary in The Washington Post, written environmental news for The Nature Conservancy Magazine, and reported local news for the Boston Globe. She began her freelance work in 2001, with the sale of the Blade, and currently covers major legal and political stories for gay news outlets around the country.