Resources for Supporting LGBTQ+ Students

It’s absolutely critical that LGBTQ+ students are effectively supported throughout their time in PreK-12 classrooms. Support for this diverse student population encompasses their physical safety, their mental health, their relationships with peers, representation in curriculum, relationships with teachers, and so much more.

Creating a school culture that protects, empowers, and celebrates LGBTQ+ students can be a substantial task for educators, especially when providing those supports or creating that culture requires innovative resources or policies. True equity for these students will inevitably require educators to become advocates for students, and to make the school a place where their voices can be heard, amplified, and valued.

To help educators better understand the challenges that LGBTQ+ students face and navigate the supports that your school can put in place to help them, we’ve taken a look some of the strongest organizations that offer education-specific resources. Below, you’ll find a few highlighted resources from each group. We encourage you to explore more of what they have to offer that is specific to your role in your learning community or to your students’ needs.

GLSEN

GLSEN (pronounced “glisten”) is a fantastic resource for both research and teaching strategies. On their site, you’ll find a variety of reports surveying the current and evolving state of education for LGBTQ+ students, including a recent report entitled “Supporting Safe and Healthy Schools for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Students: A National Survey of School Counselors, Social Workers, and Psychologists.” By collecting data from key staff members who have direct interaction into the safety of all students, GLSEN was able to gather valuable insights from this report. A few of the key findings they highlight on their site include:

“37% of school mental health professionals had never received any formal training on LGBTQ student issues during their career.”
“76% of school mental health professionals received little to no preparation on working with LGBTQ youth.”
“77% of school mental health professionals believe that sex education should portray LGBTQ identities as normal and healthy.” (GLSEN 2019)

The study also explores mental health professionals’ perspectives on school climate, awareness of LGBTQ+ students, and efforts to support students. As a resource, this report could be reviewed by school leadership as a starting point for school evaluation.

A few of GLSEN’s other valuable reports and surveys are below. Be sure to check out the “Safe Space Kit” for actionable strategies, terminology, and self-assessments.

Teaching Tolerance

Teaching Tolerance is always an excellent resource for both classroom teachers and district leaders to promote educational equity and inclusivity. They have many resources for supporting LGBTQ+ students, and many more that encompass equity and inclusivity from a broader lens which would also be useful for your efforts. Resources specific to LGBTQ+ students include a robust guide on best practices that covers policy, classroom culture, instruction, and family and community engagement. This resource is excellent for educators in any role, and applicable for students of all ages. Teaching Tolerance also offers a printable poster and a webinar.

The Trevor Project

The Trevor Project is an important resource for all educators and their students, offering crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ young people under 25. Outside of making students aware of their services, educators can also look to The Trevor Project for research and resources. You can find their current research projects below, in addition to their support center designed for young people and resources around suicide prevention, which contain important information for educators.

The Human Rights Campaign

The Human Rights Campaign is a well-known organization that spans far beyond education but shouldn’t be overlooked by educators seeking to support their students. The “Children and Youth” section of their website contains a plethora of resources for teachers and district leaders to serve students of all ages. There, you’ll find national surveys, tools for talking with students, and guides for administrators. The Human Rights Campaign even hosts a national conference for educators called Time to Thrive in Washington, D.C. Explore their resources below:

Many (Familiar) Others!


Which resource hubs did we miss? Add to this list by commenting your favorites below.