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
LGBTQ heart

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.


  1. Toomey RB, Russell ST. The role of sexual orientation in school-based victimization: A meta-analysis. Youth Soc 2016;48:176-201.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.