Things you can do:
Create a safe space by posting
symbols, such as a rainbow flag or safe zone poster, in your office or program.
Pay attention to heterosexist and homophobic language. Instead of asking youth if they have a boyfriend or girlfriend, ask if they are seeing anyone. Never use the word “gay” as an adjective, as in “that’s so gay.”
Explore your misconceptions by reading about
issues, watching films, or attending trainings.
Things your organization can do:
Examine existing policies for heterosexist language and amend your nondiscrimination and confidentiality policies to include sexual minorities.
Offer staff training about how to address the needs of
Develop collaborations with organizations that target
youth and compile a resource list of
-friendly services in your area.
Interested in learning more?
GLASS Youth and Family Services. (2007). LGBTQ Youth Facts. Available at
National Alliance to End Homelessness. (2007). Fact Checker: Youth Homelessness. National Alliance to End Homelessness: Washington, DC. Available at:
National Coalition for the Homeless. (2007). Homeless Youth NCH fact sheet #13. National Coalition for the Homeless: Washington, DC. Available at:
Girl’s Best Friend Foundation & Advocates for Youth. (2005). Creating a Safe Space for LGBTQ Youth: A Toolkit. Girls Best Friend Foundation and Advocates for Youth: Chicago, IL & Washington, DC. Available at:
Mottet, Lisa. Ohle, John M. (2003). Transitioning our shelters: A guide to making homeless shelters safe for transgender people. National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Policy Institute, National Coalition for the Homeless: Washington, DC. Available at:
Ammerman, S.D., Knsigen, J., Kirzner, R., Meininger, E.T., Tornabene, M., Warf, C.W., Zeger, S., Post, P. (2004). Homeless young adults ages 18-24: Examining Service Delivery Adaptations. National Health Care for the Homeless Council, Inc.: Nashville, TN. Available at:
California Safe Schools Coalition. (2004). A safe place to learn: Consequences of harassment based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender non-conformity and steps for making schools safer. San Francisco: Author. Available at:
Woronoff, Rob. Estrada, Rudy. Sommer, Susan. (2006). Out of the Margins: A Report on Regional Listening Forums Highlighting the Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning youth in Care. Child Welfare League of America: Washington, DC. Available at: