There are so many excellent resources for LGBTQ teens and their families. Some of my favorites are listed below:
Gay-Straight Alliances: For information about finding a GSA in your community, use Google to search “gay straight alliance” along with the name of your state. You may not have a GSA at your school yet, but I bet a local school does. Just by looking on Google, you should be able to find a state or regional network that you can go to for more information. Where I live, for example, the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance provides essential leadership and support for school GSAs in our state. Also, organizations like GLSEN (The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network) and the Safe Schools Coalition are national resources for information and answers.
Established in 1980, Advocates for Youth helps young people make informed and responsible decisions about their reproductive and sexual health, with a focus on what they call “the 3 Rs” – rights, respect and responsibility.
The LGBT National Help Center provides confidential, free telephone and internet peer counseling and resources. Once you go to the link, you’ll see numbers for the crisis hotline, a Teen Talk-line, and a link to online peer-support chat. Everything's anonymous and safe.
The Trevor Project promotes acceptance for LGBTQ youth and offers free assistance in crisis and suicide prevention among that group. If you ever need someone to talk to, no matter where you are, no matter when, you can call this FREE number: 1-866-4-U-TREVOR.
The Rainbow List offers annual lists of terrific books with LGBTQ characters. The list is created by a select group of readers at the American Library Association. If you love to read, this is the place for you!
Planning for college? Wondering how to pay for it? The Point Foundation gives generous college scholarships to LGBTQ students! Their mission is to provide “financial support, mentoring, leadership training and hope to meritorious students who are marginalized due to sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”
For nearly 40 years, a national non-profit group called Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) has united gay people and their families and friends in a positive atmosphere. PFLAG meetings offer a sense of community, information and advocacy. PFLAG has more than 500 local affiliates across the country. Each year at the Gay Pride Parade in Chicago, some of the biggest cheers go to the moms, dads and grandparents who march down the street.
And finally, if you’re in Chicago, be sure to take advantage of the Center on Halsted and the Howard Brown Health Center, two of the city's best resources for LGBTQ people of all ages. Both of these organizations offer social opportunities, job training, mentoring, counseling, health care, HIV testing and more - all for free! If you live in the western suburbs, check out Youth Outlook, an excellent resource for young people living in DuPage, Kane and DeKalb counties.