This list of resources was created by Out On The Lakeshore’s Friends & Family team in collaboration with LBGTQ+ youth and teens in the Lakeshore Community. A local GSA (Gay Straight Alliance, or Gender Sexuality Alliance) Club made a list of their members’ questions and recommended resources.

Language is important. 

The language that describes the identities, lives, and experiences of individuals in the LBGTQ+ community has evolved. There is new inclusive terminology that better describes the gender spectrum.

In describing the gender spectrum, educators and professionals use the “Gender Unicorn.” Two concepts of the Gender Unicorn that are important to this discussion are gender identity and gender expression. An individual’s gender identity is how they view themselves on the gender spectrum. Sometimes, this aligns with their sex assigned at birth, sometimes it does not. In most cases where one’s gender identity does not line up with their sex assigned at birth, they fall into “questioning” for a period of time. Gender expression is how one displays their gender to other people. Expression is conveyed through how one dresses, looks, or speaks. (Lay this up next to the image below)

With new understanding of gender identity and gender expression, there are new terms and language that describe people who identify on a gender spectrum, as well as those who identify on the binary. This updated terminology is used to describe how people identify across the gender spectrum (ex: cisgendered, genderqueer, intersex, nonbinary, transgender, etc.) Other terminology is used to explain a more complex understanding of gender (ex: gender expression, gender identity, cisgenderism, gender nonconformity).

For more information on inclusive terminology, go to https://www.hrc.org/resources/glossary-of-terms. For more information on the gender spectrum, go to https://www.genderspectrum.org/ 


Take Care of Yourself – Physical and Emotional Health

There are a number of resources available for LBGTQ+ youth that focus on both physical heath and emotional health. The Trevor Project, https://www.thetrevorproject.org/, is the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organization for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning) young people. They have hotlines, resources, and online counselors that you can access 24/7. 

Locally, kids and teens can reach out to their school counselor or school social worker. They are in schools to support your emotional and physical health. OOTL’s Family+Friends Committee provides connections and resources for families including programming and parent mentors. OOTL also has a list (hyperlink) of doctors and therapists who are LBGTQ affirming. 


Looking for Social Connections?

There are lots of options to meet and connect with the LBGTQ+ affirming communities. An online option is TrevorSpace, https://www.trevorspace.org/,  an affirming, online community for LGBTQ youth and young adults between the ages of 13-24 years old. Most high schools in on the Lakeshore have a GSA (Gay-Straight Alliance, or Gender-Sexuality Alliance) Club. A GSA is a safe place for LBGTQ+ kids and their allies to gather, talk about kids’ things, and get the social support they need. You also can sign up for the OOTL Family+Friends Newsletter. We have monthly programs that connect families with LBGTQ+ kids.

Other questions?

This list is a place to begin. Consider signing up for our newsletter or coming to one of our programs!

Youth and College Resources