There is a world of wonderful resources out there for parents and families of LGB teens, and for LGB teens themselves. I’ve linked to some of them from my posts, but I wanted to give a few more. They all support transgender teens as well, which is convenient, since next week I will be starting on the series “Transgender Teens.”
PFLAG: PFLAG stands for Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (they support all sexual minorities). It was created in 1972 as a place for families of gays and lesbians to advocate for their health and well-being. There are chapters all over the U.S. and in other countries as well, providing everything from support to parents of a teen who just came out to national political campaigns for equality. They are a fantastic organization and a PFLAG meeting should be your first stop if you feel you need support or connection as a parent of a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or questioning (LGBTQ) teen- or if you want to get involved in making the world a better place for your kid.
It Gets Better: This is the brainchild of Dan Savage, a Seattle-based writer and gay right advocate. After a spate of gay teen suicides, he put together a Youtube video of him and his partner discussing the trials they went through with their families, peers, and society in general. They also discuss their current life, in which they are happily married with a son and wouldn’t change anything. He asked other people to put out similar videos about their experiences- and how life got better- to give hope to LGBTQ teens who fear it won’t. There are now tens of thousand of videos by people who want kids and teens to know that “it gets better.” This is not just helpful to teens who are thinking of suicide, but to any LGBTQ teen who is feeling down or hopeless about their situation or surroundings. There are videos from politicans, musicians, actors, employees of well-known companies, universities, and of course, many, many teens and adults. The extent and creativity of the videos are amazing; this one has a special place in my heart.
The Trevor Project: This is a foundation started in 1998 specifically to provide crisis intervention services for LGBTQ teens who feel they might hurt themselves. It has branched out into a number of programs designed to help LGBTQ teens feel connected and safe.
Camp Ten Trees: This Washingt0n-based nonprofit runs a camp for LGBTQA (the A is for Allies) children and teens, as well as one for children from non-traditional families. OUT!Doors is a similar camp in Arizona, as is Camp Fyrefly in Canada.
The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network: GLSEN is a great all-around education-based resource, working to end bias and discrimination everywhere from in the hallways to in the national legislature.
Local Resources: This page, created by Lambert House (which is in itself a great local resource), lists resources for LGBTQ people in Seattle. What resources are helpful to your teen depends a lot on their age, personality, and needs; go over the list with your teen to see what might be a good fit for them. If you don’t live in Seattle, try GLBT Near Me, and if that fails, Google is your friend! Try searching for “LGBTQ youth resources <city, county, or area> and see what pops up!
This is far from an all-inclusive list- what are your favorite organizations?