If you’re a LGBTQ teen or ally, there are lots of resources to help you get the support and info you need.
Where can I get more information about LGBTQ issues?
There are lots of places online where you can find info about LGBTQ issues and to get connected with communities. Here are a few ideas of where to start:
GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network)
Q Chat Space (Live chat, facilitated, LGBTQ+ online discussion groups)
If there’s a LGBTQ center in your area, that can also be a great place to meet people and find a community. Check out CenterLink to see if there’s an LGBTQ center near you. Reaching out to the older LGBTQ folks in your community can also be really helpful if you’re looking for information and resources, or just want to connect.
Where can I get help if I’m struggling with issues around my sexual orientation or gender identity?
As you’re learning more about your gender identity and sexual orientation, it’s normal to feel lost sometimes. And it can be easy to feel alone or scared when you’re having these feelings. Reaching out to people who care about you and understand what you’re going through can really help. If you’re struggling, reach out! You’re not alone. Here are some people who might be able to help you:
Parents, guardians, or other trusted adult family members
Close friends and their parents
Other LGBTQ young people, in your community or online
Your school’s Gay Straight Alliance
A supportive teacher, school counselor, or coach
A minister, rabbi, priest, or spiritual mentor who you know is LGBTQ friendly
A local LGBTQ youth support group
Live chat, facilitated, LGBTQ+ online discussion groups at Q Chat Space
GLBT National Youth Talkline: 1-800-246-PRIDE
If you’re worried that you might hurt yourself or another person, it’s important to get help. You can contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or The Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 if you need to talk to someone right away for help or support. There’s also Trans Lifeline (877-565-8860) — a hotline staffed by transgender people for transgender people.
How can I help support my LGBTQ friends?
Being an ally is about supporting equal rights and justice for LGBTQ folks, and it’s also about helping your friends know that you have their back and they aren’t alone.
Here are some ideas for being the best ally you can be.
Educate yourself. Learning about the experiences and history of LGBTQ people is an important way to understand the issues that are affecting your friends. It’s not the responsibility of LGBTQ people to educate you, so step up to the plate and explore the books, blogs, and videos, out there. Tumblr and YouTube are places where many LGBTQ people are sharing their stories and experiences.
Listen! As a person who’s trying to ally yourself with your LGTBQ friends, one of the most important things you can do is listen to as many people in the community as possible. There are many, many different LGBTQ experiences and stories, and listening to a diverse group of voices is one way to understand the issues that affect the people you care about.
Don’t Assume. It’s impossible to know what a person’s gender identity or sexual orientation is just by looking at them, so don’t make assumptions. But do assume there could be LGBTQ people in every space you’re in. Assuming that everyone around you is straight makes things harder for LGBTQ people.
Speak up. If you notice bullying or oppressive language, say something. Anti-LGBTQ comments and jokes are hurtful. Call out your friends, family, or co-workers and let them know that you find them offensive. If you see a young person being hurt or bullied because of their gender identity or sexual orientation, let an adult know. And speak up when you see anti-LGBTQ comments online, or jokes where LGBTQ people are the punchlines.
Never “out” someone. It’s important to let people come out in their own way, and on their own terms. Telling people that a friend is LGBTQ without their permission can break trust and even put them in danger. Depending on their personal situation, they may be at risk for homophobic bullying and violence if people find out they’re gay or trans. It is never okay to out someone without their permission.