Guide for LGBTQ+ Students

More than half of all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (or questioning), and other LGBTQ+ people in the U.S. report they’ve been singled out — through harassment, name-calling, or violent acts — because of their sexuality, according to a 2017 survey conducted by the Harvard TH Chan School of Public health. Of LGBTQ+ community members who attended or applied to college, 20 percent say they felt discriminated against while on campus.

Members of the LGBTQ+ community are three times more likely to experience mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, than others, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Also, LGBTQ+ youth between the ages of 10 and 24 are four times more likely to attempt suicide than straight and cisgender youth.

Bullying, assault, lack of family and community support, and many other factors contribute to these increased rates of depression and suicidal thoughts in LGBTQ+ community members. This guide is meant to provide resources and information to help those community members as well as to assist those close to them in understanding how to be allies.

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Where to Find Anti-Bullying Help

LGBTQ+ community members experience bullying at a higher rate than straight and cisgender people. Here are resources to help stop bullying and harassment.

  • Organize: The U.S. Department of Education in 2011 mandated that all schools must allow students to form GSA clubs (originally called Gay-Straight Alliance clubs).
  • Know the laws: Stopbullying.gov published this breakdown of federal laws, including civil rights laws, that protect LGBTQ+ community members.
  • Talk to someone: The Trevor Project provides 24-hour phone, text, and online chat services to anyone experiencing a mental crisis.
  • It Gets Better Project: LGBTQ+ people share their stories to empower and uplift youth who’ve experienced discrimination based on their gender or sexual identity.

Sexual Assault/Discrimination and the LGBTQ+ Community

How to Find an LGBTQ+-Supportive Health Care Provider

What Is an Ally and How Can Allies Help?

An ally is anyone who actively supports and stands up for LGBTQ+ community members’ rights. This could mean not tolerating bullying or prejudice when confronted with it, attending activism events, speaking out in support of LGBTQ+ people, or any other action that creates a safe space. Here are a few specific ways to help people in the LGBTQ+ community:

  • Educate yourself: The Human Rights Campaign Foundation published this informative guide to help support LGBTQ+ individuals.
  • Use LGBTQ+-related terminology correctly: This glossary provides terms and their definitions that reflect proper respectful usage.
  • Display safe space materials: The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) offers a kit especially made for schools to let LGBTQ+ students know they’re supported.
  • Learn how to react respectfully: This article explains what to say and not to say when an LGBTQ+ person comes out to you.
  • Join or start a group or club: GSA clubs are run by students and allow members and visitors to support LGBTQ+ community members through activities, discussions, and self-expression.

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How to Create Safe Schools and Campuses

  • Inclusive campuses: This Higher Education Today page offers resources for professors and other educators who want to make safe spaces for LGBTQ+ students.
  • Stomp Out Bullying: This page lists information and resources to help high school administrators recognize and prevent bullying and harassment.
  • Stop the Hate: This Campus Pride project supports colleges and universities in preventing discrimination and bullying.

More Impactful Resources

Educational and Informative Videos
Step In Speak Up

A Year of Inspiring LGBTQ+ Youth