National Clearinghouse on Homeless Youth and Families

Ask NCFY: Being an LGBTQ-friendly space

Rainbow flag

Q: I want lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth who come into our program to know that it's a welcoming program, but I'm not sure how to communicate that message. I've seen that some programs have rainbow stickers. How do we get those?

A: Stickers and other promotional materials are a good first step in creating a welcoming environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth. Couple the outward displays with solid training for you and your staff, and you'll truly be a safe space for all youth. GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, offers Safe Space Kits that include stickers and posters as well as a guide on how to be an ally to LGBTQ youth. Though GLSEN focuses on schools, the same principles of inclusiveness and understanding apply to youth-serving organizations. You can download the kit's components for free or order the complete kit by mail for a small fee.

For more information on becoming a gay-friendly organization, see this post on working with LGBTQ youth and our article "Safety, Support and Respect for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Youth."