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Moving Justice Forward For 60 Years!

20th Anniversary of East High GSA v. Board of Education

26 July 2018 Published in Past Events


CAN 1996 sizedTwo decades ago when a handful of East High School students decided to organize a gay-straight alliance, they had no idea what they would unleash. Join us for a panel discussion including two of the original student plaintiffs. Fri. Aug. 3, 6:00 p.m., Utah Pride Center, 1380 Main St. SLC UT 84115

On August 3 you can hear from two student plaintiffs—Ivy Fox and Leah Farrell—from East High Gay Straight Alliance vs. Board of Education of Salt Lake City as the Utah Pride Center and the ACLU of Utah host a panel discussion. Also appearing on the panel will be Carol Gnade, who directed the ACLU of Utah during the legal challenges.

Their challenge to homophobic policies spawned several ground-breaking lawsuits that made Salt Lake City an epicenter of students’ rights activism in the late-1990s. School administrators were so afraid of these teenagers that they banned all non-curricular clubs (i.e. the chess club) for four years before relenting under the force of more lawsuits brought by more students. 

Don’t miss this celebration of an important milestone in gay rights and civil liberties history that happened right here in Salt Lake City. 

UPDATE: Watch the video of the event at the YouTube window beloe (Recorded 8/3/2018)


20th Anniversary of East High GSA v. Board of Education
Panel Discussion, Fri. Aug. 3, 6:00 - 7:30 p.m.
Utah Pride Center, 1380 Main St. Salt Lake City, UT 84115
All of the panelists were involved in the case:
Ivy Fox
Leah Farrell, Senior Staff Attorney, ACLU of Utah
Carol Gnade, retired Executive Director of the Utah Pride Center who was E.D. of the ACLU of Utah during the case. 

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Legal Resources

Case Backgrounds (1995-2000) (link)

Complaint (March 18, 1998): East High Gay / Straight Alliance v. Board of Education Complaint

District Court Decision (Nov. 24, 1998): East High Gay/Straight Alliance v. Board of Educ. of Salt Lake City, 30 F. Supp. 2d 1356 (D. Utah 1998)


Media Coverage

Utah Board Bans All School Clubs in Anti-Gay Move (Los Angeles Times, Feb. 26, 1996)

To Be Young, Gay and Going to High School in Utah (New York Times, (Feb. 28, 1996)

Deseret News Timeline of East High GSA Lawsuit (Desert News, March 20, 1998)

S.L. school board mulls club policy (Deseret News, Aug. 14, 2000)

Gay student clubs blossoming in Utah (Salt Lake Tribune, Dec. 20, 2010)

How Utah’s Schools Went From Homophobic War Zones to Crowning a Trans Prom Queen (The Daily Beast, May 11, 2015)

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