The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a toll on all kids (and their families) in a variety of ways, but according to a recent report from The Trevor Project, LGBTQ+ youth may be particularly vulnerable to the mental health impacts of COVID-19 and need support
While some LGBTQ+ youth may be quarantined in unsupportive environments—others who are in supportive homes may be feeling an additional sense of loss of community, unable to connect in person with support groups or June pride events.
All kids need and deserve supportive adults in their lives. Whether you’re a parent or family member of an LGBTQ+ kid—or your child is friends with a LGBTQ+ youth—you have a role to play! Here are a few ways you can support the LGBTQ+ youth in your life:
Educate yourself (and your family).
Now is a great time to learn more about sexual orientation and gender identity. Showing the LGBTQ+ people in your life that you understand and respect their identities is a great first step. If you already have a solid grasp on the basics, consider using this time at home to do a deeper dive into LGBTQ+ history. Here are a few great places to start!
- Understanding What Transgender Means
- Human Rights Campaign’s Glossary of Terms
- GLSEN’s Coming Out and Pronoun Resource Guides
- GLSEN’s LGBTQ History Resources
- Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Women of Color: The Stonewall Inn and the Modern LGBTQ Movement
Encourage kids to find community online.
Staying connected to the LGBTQ+ community can help youth combat feelings of loneliness and isolation. Children’s schools may be offering GSA programming online or your local LGBTQ+ community center may be offering virtual events. A number of national organizations are also offering free support groups and social events online. Here a few of our favorites below!
- Gender Spectrum is offering online groups for trans, nonbinary and gender-expansive teens and preteens, as well as groups for parents and family members.
- TrevorSpace is an affirming social networking site for LGBTQ+ youth.
- Q Chat Space offers online support and discussion groups for LGBTQ+ teens 13 to 19 years old.
- The GLSEN BULLETIN: Every Tuesday and Thursday at 3:30 p.m. (Eastern), GLSEN’s National Student Council members bring the stories and experiences of LGBTQ+ students directly to your Instagram feed. Join them on IG Live, as they discuss how to stay connected to LGBTQ+ youth across the country.
Recommend LGBTQ+ books and media.
Representation is powerful. Seeing movies, television shows and books with LGBTQ+ characters help kids feel less alone. Take a look at some book suggestions that your child can read on their own—or with the whole family!
- Explore Human Rights Campaign’s Welcoming Schools’ new online resources for learning at home. Each Wednesday they’re releasing a new video read-aloud and discussion questions, and their book lists and lesson plans are perfect for elementary school-age children.
- Offer to get your teen some new books. This list of 100 Must-Read LGBTQIA YA books is a good place to start!
- Check out Welcoming Schools’ current and extensive booklists
- GLSEN and Netflix partnered to create a discussion guide for the wildly popular film Netflix The Half Of It
Celebrate Pride Month with them.
With pride celebrations getting canceled around the world, your LGBTQ+ child might be feeling an added sense of disappointment during June. The good news is there are ways you can bring pride month into your homes and your communities.
- See if your child wants to do some decorating for pride month—inside or outside your home! This could include a new flag, some new pride apparel or some homemade crafts.
- Participate in a virtual pride! Explore virtual pride celebrations happening in your area or plan to attend Global Pride June 27 and make it a family affair!
Rebecca Bauer is the family engagement specialist for the National PTA Center for Family Engagement.