Caring Adults: Supporting 2S/LGBTQIA+ Youth During DifficultTimes
Safe relationships and places matter.
Schools and school 2S/LGBTQIA+ clubs like Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) may be the few or only safe spaces some 2S/LGBTQIA+ students have. At times, they have been the only space where these students could truly be themselves.
We know that many 2S/LGBTQIA+ young people don’t feel safe at home. That’s a big part of why as much as 40% of homeless youth in Ontario identify as 2S/LGBTQIA+.
Many 2S/LGBTQIA+ students have to hide their identities from their families to protect themselves. As a caring adult, it is important to be attentive to this reality for some students and do your best to help 2S/LGBTQIA+ students feel cared for and connected. 2S/LGBTQIA+ youth may also be impacted by other forms of oppression, like racism, ableism or sexism. Caring adults need to recognize the unique experiences and needs of 2S/LGBTQIA+ youth from diverse communities.
Educators and other caring adults can help 2S/LGBTQIA+ youth by reaching out and letting them know they aren’t alone. Checking in can make a big difference in the lives of 2S/LGBTQIA+ youth. Here is a short example of the kind of message you can send to check-in on 2S/LGBTQIA+ young people you are connected to:
Hi (Student Name),
How are you? I hope that you are doing well! I know there’s been a lot going on these days, especially with (insert example). So, I wanted to check in with you to offer some support, if you need it.
I had some resources sent along to me to help students who may need some support right now. Would you be interested in checking them out? I can send them along, or you can see them here: https://smho-smso.ca/students. I’m happy to talk about these resources with you, or just talk, if you need someone to listen.
Resources for Caring Adults on Supporting 2S/LGBTQIA+ Youth
Black Youth Helpline: A resource for black youth
Canadian Parents of Trans Kids: Parent-led Facebook support group for Canadian parents of trans and gender diverse children
Egale Canada: A resource for affirming adults in the school community who would like to learn to be supportive and affirming to 2S/LGBTQIA+ youth
Family Acceptance Project, San Francisco State University: Supportive Families, Healthy Children —Toolkit for parents and caregivers with 2S/LGBTQIA+ children and youth
Gender Creative Kids Canada: Resource for trans and gender diverse children and youth, their families and allies
LGBT YouthLine: A resources list from YouthLine, a 2S/LGBTQIA+ youth-led organization that affirms and supports the experiences of youth across Ontario
OK2BME: Definitions for Different 2SLGBTQIA+ identities
PFLAG Canada: National organization focused on supporting parents and caregivers of 2SLGBTQIA+ youth
Planned Parenthood Toronto: Tips for Supporting Trans and Gender Diverse Youth
PREVNet: Resource for parents supporting 2S/LGBTQIA+ youth experiencing bullying
The Native Youth Sexual Health Network: Resources for Two Spirit and LGBTQ+ Indigenous Youth
The Trans Partner Handbook: A book with practical information and tips to help parents, partners and loved-ones support trans and gender diverse people in their families (goodreads.com)