Supporting LGBTQ+ Youth

According to a National Survey conducted by The Trevor Project in 2020, 40% of youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the previous 12 months, and more than half of transgender and nonbinary youth have considered suicide. Anxiety and depression rates are also high with 68% of LGBTQ youth reporting symptoms of generalized anxiety in the past 2 weeks, including more than 3 in 4 transgender and nonbinary youth.

One of the leading risk factors is a lack of family support. Research published in the Journal of Adolescent Health shows us that when families reject the chosen name, gender, and/or identity of a transgender or non-conforming youth it negatively impacts their overall mental health and wellbeing, and the quality of the relationship. 

There are things we can all do now that will support LGBTQ youth in our community: 

Use proper pronouns

You may notice that people are sharing their pronouns more frequently, or that social media platforms, legal forms and applications are starting to become more inclusive by providing options to choose various pronouns, genders and sexual orientations. Including these options is an intentional step to normalize the conversation around SOGIE (sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression), decrease the stigma and remind us of the importance of not assuming based on physical appearance.   

Find information on gender grammar, how to support queer youth of color and trans youth, information for trans immigrants and myths about trans regrets by visiting Transstudent.org and reviewing their easy to download graphics showcasing important stats to help spread awareness.

Educate yourself to create affirming spaces in school and home

GLSEN’s flagship report highlighted the challenges that LGBTQ+ youth experience in schools, and identified strategies to promote safe and supportive school climates.  They include supportive educators, LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum, inclusive and supportive policies, and student clubs, such as Gay-Straight Alliances or Gender and Sexuality Alliances (GSAs).  Additional school resources include:

  • The NYS Parent Teacher Association (NYSPTA) has resources, support and information for families and caregivers of LGBTQ+ youth.
  • The NYS Education Department (NYSED) created the Transgender and Gender Nonconforming Students Guidance Document to provide educators and school staff with definitions, illustrative examples and resources to foster safe and discrimination-free environments. 

The Family Acceptance Project educates families and caregivers about the impact of acceptance and rejection on the wellbeing of LGBTQ+ children and youth.  Learn how resilience, diversity, and supportive relationships can promote and maintain health and wellbeing. 

  • Explore their peer-reviewed research and publications
  • Use their posters and booklets to help build healthy futures for LGBTQ & gender diverse children & youth and educate family members, providers, religious leaders, LGBTQ youth and others about the critical role of family support to prevent suicide and other serious health risks and to build healthy futures for LGBTQ children and youth. 

*Posters available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Punjabi, Tagalog and Vietnamese and 4 size options. 

Be an Ally and an Advocate

Transgender and nonbinary youth should not have to bear the burden of educating others about their experiences.  We all have a role in creating a safer, kinder, and more accepting world. The Trevor Project’s Guide to Being an Ally to Transgender and Nonbinary Youth is an introductory educational resource that covers a wide range of topics and best practices on how to support transgender and nonbinary people. 

There are many organizations promoting allyship and advocacy including:  

  • PFLAG is the nation’s largest family and ally organization and the first and largest organization for LGBTQ+ people, their parents, families and allies. They are committed to creating a world where diversity is celebrated and all people are respected, valued and affirmed. 
  • Human Rights Campaign fights for equality at work, at home and in the community. Explore their interactive state maps to learn more about laws and policies that affect LGBTQ people in areas of non-discrimination, healthcare, youth, and more.
  • NY Association for Gender Rights Advocacy (NYAGRA) was the first statewide transgender advocacy organization in NY
  • The Jed Foundation empowers teens and young adults with the skills and supports to grow into healthy adults with a focus on protecting emotional health and preventing suicide. 
  • GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) is a dynamic media source that tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and change the dialogue that leads to cultural change provides a helpful LGBTQ Resource List broken down by categories including youth, bisexual, military and more.
  • Youth Resources:
Find support and services in NYS

Contact Us

Please contact us at schools@mhanys.org or call 518.434.0439 from 8 am to 5 pm.

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