National Clearinghouse on Homeless Youth and Families

Ask NCHYF: Working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Youth

cover page of National Recommended Best Practices for Serving LGBT Homeless Youth

Q: My program needs help working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth. What resources are out there?

The recent tragedies among gay youth have sent shockwaves throughout the youth work field and reinforced for many people, like you, the importance of respecting young people and providing a safe environment for them, regardless of their sexuality. Guaranteeing safety for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning young people is also a priority of federal government programs for youth and families.

A good place to start is the "National Recommended Best Practices for Serving LGBT Homeless Youth." Most of the principles apply whether or not the young people you work with are homeless.

Advocates for Youth, an organization that promotes adolescent sexual health, publishes YouthResource, a blog written for and by LGBTQ youth. The blog includes videos, resources and access to peer educators. AmbienteJoven targets Spanish speaking youth with similar information. 

GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, which supports the work of gay-straight alliances in schools, has a good selection of online resources, including lesson plans and guides to preventing bullying and creating a safe space for all youth. The National Youth Advocacy Coalition, which advocates for and with LGBTQ youth, also offers resources for educators and young people.

We welcome other readers to send the resources they rely on to In addition, we're focusing on LGBTQ youth throughout the month of December, so check The Beat often for more information or sign up for our RSS feed.