This is a picture of the banner we made for the Gay-Straight Alliance at my high school. Finding friends, teachers, and other allies who could accept and support me was crucial to my survival.
LGBT kids are still vulnerable, especially in conservative religious communities and in conservative and rural parts of the country. We are more vulnerable to physical, emotional, and sexual abuse at home and more likely to end up in the criminal justice system than kids who are straight. LGBT kids are also more likely to experience emotional health issues and to use or abuse drugs and alcohol, especially when their families reject them. In places like Utah, it’s estimated that five thousand youth experience homelessness every year—at least 40 percent identify as LGBT, and the majority are from Mormon homes and families.
Parents and families of LGBT teens also deserve support. The Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University has conducted research into how to raise healthier, happier LGBT teens and has developed helps for parents and families, with special resources for families of faith including LDS families. Please visit their site here.
I also encourage you to use HRC Welcoming Schools, a program that offers LGBTQ-inclusive professional development tools, lessons, etc. aligned with the Common Core State Standards, and many additional resources for elementary schools on:
- Embracing Family Diversity
- Creating LGBTQ-inclusive Schools
- Preventing Bias-Based Bullying
- Supporting Transgender and Gender Expansive Students
And learn even more at these helpful websites:
About HRC Welcoming Schools: http://www.welcomingschools.org/about/
Steps You Can Take as a School Counselor: http://www.welcomingschools.org/pages/steps-you-can-take-as-a-school-counselor
The HRC Welcoming Schools Starter Kit: http://www.welcomingschools.org/pages/download-an-introduction-to-welcoming-schools
What Do You Know? Community or Evening School Screenings for families: http://www.welcomingschools.org//what-do-you-know-the-film/