Supporting LGBTQ Youth
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth are more likely than non-LGBTQ youth to experience violence at school and have lower levels of school connectedness.
Professional development delivered to teachers and school staff should address fundamental knowledge about:
- concepts of sexual orientation and gender identity, including appropriate language
- health risks faced by LGBTQ youth
- effects of the school environment on the health of LGBTQ youth
- supportive school policies and practices (e.g., Gay-Straight/Genders and Sexuality Alliances, safe spaces, inclusive curricula)
- unique needs of transgender and gender diverse students
Conducting professional development with school staff is a best practice for improving the health, safety, and school connectedness for LGBTQ youth. Other approaches for supporting LGBTQ youth in schools include instituting programs, policies, and practices that ensure inclusivity.
- CDC. How to Conduct More Effective Professional Development. This webpage describes the six CDC professional development practices and provides tools and resources to assist school districts in achieving a sustainable professional development framework.
- American Psychological Association. RESPECT Workshopexternal icon. This workshop provides pre-service and in-service education for middle and high school counselors, school nurses, school psychologists, school social workers, and other specialized instructional support professionals.
- Los Angeles LGBT Center. Out for Safe School Campaignexternal icon. In addition to offering badges to identify allies, this campaign also includes a PD program to facilitate the creation of safe spaces for LGBT youth.
- GLSEN. Professional Developmentexternal icon. These materials include toolkits, webinars, and workshops for educators.
- CDC. LGBTQ Inclusivity in Schools: A Self-Assessment Tool pdf icon[PDF – 6 MB]. School and district staff who are interested in facilitating a more inclusive environment for LGBTQ students can use this tool to assess individual-level knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors that foster inclusivity, in addition to determining strengths and weaknesses in current school-level inclusive policies, programs, and practices.
- Gender Spectrum. Schools in Transition: A Guide for Supporting Transgender Students in K-12 Schoolsexternal icon. A resource guide for supporting transgender students.
- GLSEN. Safe Spaces Kitexternal icon. An implementation resource on establishing safe spaces.
- GLSEN. Changing the Game: For Adultsexternal icon. An implementation resource on making sports more inclusive for students; there is an educator-specific version.
- CDC. Health Considerations for LGBTQ Youth. This webpage provides an overview of key health considerations for LGBTQ youth including information on how schools can promote protective factors and address health disparities that disproportionately affect LGBTQ youth.
- Toomey RB, Russell ST. The role of sexual orientation in school-based victimization: A meta-analysisexternal icon. Youth Soc 2016;48:176-201.
- Rasberry CN, Lesesene C, Herbert A, et al. Factors associated with school connectedness for sexual minority youth. 89th Annual American School Health Association Conference Orlando, FL, 2015.
- Kosciw JG, Palmer NA, Kull RM, Gretak EA. The effect of negative school climate on academic outcomes for LGBT youth and the role of in-school supports. J Sch Violence. 2013;12:45-63.