Skip to main content

Supporting LGBTQ+ Youth Beyond Pride Month

Supporting LGBTQ+ Youth Beyond Pride Month

By Joseph Kosciw, PhD | June 27, 2024
Director of Mental Health Research and Impact, ETR

Throughout Pride Month we have undoubtedly seen greater visibility of LGBTQ+ people and events – from Pride flags in our local coffee shops to rainbow versions of company logos on social media and news coverage of local Pride Parades.

But on July 1st, Pride flags come down; news stories on LGBTQ+ people and community events stop, and company logos on social media revert to their original ones without rainbows.

So how do we help LGBTQ+ youth continue to hold these feelings of acceptance and pride in themselves the rest of the year?

Key Elements for Acceptance & Pride in School for LGBTQ+ Youth

Much of my research career has involved examining what LGBTQ+ students experience in school and, more importantly, what are the mechanisms that create more positive learning environments for them.

Research has shown that four key elements help create safer schools:

1) Having adults at school who are supportive of LGBTQ+ students

2) Curriculum that is inclusive of LGBTQ+ people, history, and events

3) Safe spaces for LGBTQ+ students and allies to meet, such as Gender Sexuality Alliances

4) LGBTQ+ protective and affirming school and district policies.[i]

All four of these elements can be implemented throughout the year to help LGBTQ+ young people feel visible and affirmed, in school settings and beyond.

How to Consistently Support LGBTQ+ Youth

Continue to be a visible ally. Of all the supports, having a supportive adult has the strongest benefit for LGBTQ+ young people.[ii] It is important to continue visible signs of support whether it be in a classroom, a lobby, or a clinic waiting room.

Be inclusive of LGBTQ+ identities in your language and your work. It is important to talk about LGBTQ+ people, issues, and experiences as a matter of course. Use gender neutral language until you know what language or terms a person uses and be aware of making assumptions about a person’s gender and sexual orientation.

Support safe spaces for LGBTQ+ young people and their allies. If you are a school professional, support a school club like a Gender Sexuality Alliance. Know what resources are available in your area where LGBTQ+ young people can go for support.

Advocate. As of now, ACLU is tracking 523 anti-LGBTQ bills in the U.S. Research has shown how negative LGBTQ+ laws cause harm to physical and mental health for LGBTQ+ people.[iii] However, having protective policies in schools are related to better psychological and educational outcomes for LGBTQ+ students.[iv]

Beyond Pride Month

It’s more important now than ever, that we think about and commit to how we can be visible and effective allies for LGBTQ+ young people while working together to ensure pride extends beyond Pride Month.

Providing them the space to feel pride in who they are, safe, affirmed, and accepted in their daily lives is a huge part. 

Joseph Kosciw, PhD (he/him) is the Director of Mental Health Research and Impact at ETR. In this role, he focuses on ETR’s mental health initiatives, with special attention to approaches and interventions that are youth-focused, trauma-informed/healing-centered, and grounded in mental health equity.

[i]Hatzenbuehler, M. L., Corbin, W. R., & Fromme, K. (2008). Trajectories and determinants of alcohol use among LGB young adults and their heterosexual peers: results from a prospective study. Developmental psychology44(1), 81.
[ii] Kosciw, J. G., Palmer, N. A., Greytak, E. A., & Kull, R. M. (2013). The effect of negative school climate on academic outcomes for LGBT young people and the role of in-school supports. Journal of School Violence, 12, 45-63
[iii] King, E., Hebl, M., Corrington, A., Dhanani, L., Holmes, O., Lindsey, A., Madera, J., Maneethai, D., Martinez, L., Ng, E., Nittrouer, C., Sabat, I., Sawyer, K., & Thoroughgood, C. (2024). Understanding and Addressing the Health Implications of Anti-LGBTQ+ Legislation. Occupational Health Science, 8(1), 1-41.
Trevor News. (2024, May 8). New poll emphasizes negative impacts of Anti-LGBTQ policies on LGBTQ youth. The Trevor Project. 
[iv] Hatzenbuehler, M. L., & Keyes, K. M. (2013). Inclusive anti-bullying policies and reduced risk of suicide attempts in lesbian and gay youth. Journal of Adolescent Health, 53(1), S21-S26.
Kull, R. M., Greytak, E. A., Kosciw, J. G., & Villenas, C. (2016). Effectiveness of school district anti-bullying policies in improving LGBT youths’ school climate. Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, 3(4), 407-415.


Sign up for the ETR Health Newsletter.

Social Media :

  • YouTube
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Instagram