Remember: Everyone deserves a safe and loving world to live and grow in, regardless of your sexual orientation, who you love, or your gender identity and expression. We at ImportaMí want you to feel welcome, supported and free to be your true self.
Many people are taught from a young age about gender, such as masculinity and femininity, and how society expects us to act, think, and feel based on gender. However, we may not fit into these boxes, and that's totally okay! It's normal to have questions about your identity, including your gender, sexuality, how you express yourself, and more. If you find yourself questioning or feeling confused about who you are, remember that you are not alone! Sometimes it can help to talk to a teacher, trusted adult, or friend who can listen and support you.
Below you can find LGBTQ+ resources and organizations especially focused on providing support for LGBTQ+ youth and their families. Click on your state to see local resources. We will be adding more resources soon!
If you or someone you know needs help immediately or is in a crisis, please see our hotline page here.
What does LGBTQIA+ mean?
LGBTQIA+ is a shortened term for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual, and more. These words are typically used to describe a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
What is gender and how can I figure out my gender?
You can break gender down into three parts:
- IDENTITY: Words that best capture YOUR internal gender experience (not what others think). These can include identities like: transgender, cisgender, non-binary, agender, genderqueer and many more!
- BODY: How we feel about our body and how others gender us based on our body. A lot of people think gender is only about our bodies (especially a person’s physical sex), but that is only one part of the picture.
- SOCIAL: Our social gender is the ways others can see how you express your gender. This can include hairstyles, makeup, clothing, how we walk or talk, etc.
If you can think about these three parts, gender can be a little less confusing and a bit easier to understand. Each of these categories is a spectrum and you can fall anywhere within these or not at all!
Are gender and sexual orientation the same thing?
Gender and sexuality are not the same. These terms are frequently lumped together and it can make things really confusing! You can think of gender as personal – it’s about who you are, and sexual orientation is interpersonal – it’s about who you like. Gender is unique to each of us and it is at the core of who we are as individuals. Gender includes our identity, body, and social gender. Sexual orientation is about who we are romantically, emotionally or physically attracted to.
How do I talk to my sponsor or other family members about my gender and sexuality? I’m worried about what they might say.
Sharing with your sponsor, family, or anyone else close to you about your gender can bring up a lot of emotions. For many unaccompanied children this can feel terrifying and stressful. You may have questions like:
- How do I talk about this in the right way?
- What will they say?
- Will they understand and support me?
- Will I wish I hadn’t said anything?
- Is it safe for me to say something?
If you feel it is safe for you to share with a family member, trusted adult, or someone else close to you, this can be really helpful! At first, this may seem scary, but having someone encourage you and be supportive can be a great way to make this process easier. If you don’t feel ready to talk to a family member, you can also speak to your school counselor or case worker. This can help you feel more comfortable and prepared when you talk about your identity.
Many of these questions are answered in more detail on Gender Spectrum’s Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page that you can explore here.
The Trevor Project’s Coming Out Handbook explains sexual orientation, gender identity, and advice for how to come out to your family and friends. You can also learn more definitions related to the LGBTQ+ community here.
The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project is a nationwide organization that provides support and resources for LGBTQ+ youth. If you are feeling sad, struggling with mental health, and/or thinking about harming yourself, you can get immediate support with The Trevor Project’s crisis counselors. Counselors are available any time of day, any day of the year, and anywhere in the US. Speaking to a trained counselor is confidential and free. These services are available in English, but it is possible to get connected to someone who speaks Spanish. You can speak to a counselor via phone, text, or online chat:
- Call 1-866-488-7386
- Text ‘START’ to 678-678
- Chat online here
The Trevor Project also has TrevorSpace, an online community for LGBTQ+ youth between the ages of 13 and 24 years old. On TrevorSpace you can explore your identity, share your experiences, get advice, and make friends. You can learn more about TrevorSpace and join the online community here.
You can visit Trevor Space Mexico for resources in Spanish here.
Youth Celebrate Diversity
Youth Celebrate Diversity is dedicated to educating and empowering youth in order to advance inclusion and equity for all. They provide many resources for LGBTQ+ youth, including a glossary of definitions, why pronouns are important, ways to support LGBTQ+ youth, statistics, videos, workshops, books and more here.
Transgender Law Center
The Transgender Law Center (TLC) advocates for transgender rights and provides resources to help support the trans community. You can also find information about identity documents and how to legally change your name and gender on your documents here. The Gender Justice Leadership Programs (a collaboration between TLC and the GSA Network) are youth-led groups that provide resources for trans youth, which you can find here.
LGBT National Help Center
LGBT National Center provides free & confidential peer-support, information, and local resources through national hotlines and online programs. Hotlines and chats are available in English, but it may be possible to get connected to someone who speaks Spanish. You can call any time on Monday–Friday from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. PT / 4 p.m. to midnight ET, and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. PT/noon to 5 p.m. ET.
- Call the Youth Talkline (for callers 25 and younger) at 800-246-7743
- Call the LGBT National Coming Out Support Hotline at 888-688-5428
- Join moderated teen chat rooms here
- Join a one-on-one peer support chat here
- Search for community resources (such as community centers, doctors, lawyers, social groups, sport teams, youth support and more) near you here
CenterLink is a network for LGBTQ+ community centers across the US. You can find the nearest center to you here and upcoming events here.
National Federation of Parents and Friends of Lesbian and Gays (PFLAG)
PFLAG is a national organization for education, advocacy and support for families and friends of LGBTQ+ persons. They have chapters available in all states in the United States and you can search for one near you here for local support. They also provide many resources for the LGBTQ+ community and families, including virtual meetings for parents, family members, and members of the LGBTQ+ community who are Latino here.
Q Chat Space
Q Chat Space is an online community for LGBTQ+ teens (ages 13-19) where you can meet friends in the community, support each other, share stories and interests, etc. This platform was made in collaboration with CenterLink, PFLAG and Planned Parenthood – members are verified and there are trained moderators to help make the online community safe. You can start signing up for Q Chat Space here, see the upcoming online group meetings here, and find resources and hotlines here.
Human Rights Coalition
Human Rights Coalition advocates for the LGBTQ+ community and provides many resources for youth, families, educators and more. They have many resources in Spanish for the Latinx LGBTQ+ community, such as a guide to coming out of the closest, understanding the transgender community, navigating religion while being a part of the LGBTQ+ community, frequently asked questions, and much more.
Gender Spectrum provides free online groups for pre-teens, teens, parents, caregivers, and other family members and adults. These groups allow you to connect with others, share experiences, and feel the comfort of a supportive community—they are a safe space to share as much or as little as you are comfortable with. You can ask questions, chat with people and make new friends, or simply listen to the conversation happening. All groups are facilitated by trained volunteers. These groups are a safe space to share as much or as little as you want. Gender Spectrum also provides:
- An Instagram Live Gender Question & Answer session, which you can find on their Instagram account here,
- A list of commonly asked questions and answers here, and
- Online events, which you can find here.
Latino Equality Alliance (LEA)
LEA provides many programs and services for Latino LGBTQ+ youth, such as workshops and conversations around youth and family empowerment, mental health, substance use awareness, arts and culture in the LGBTQ community. You can find the many programs and services that LEA provides here. They also provide a list of various organizations and resources here.
Lambda Legal provides resources for LBGTQ+ youth to help you know your rights and make sure that they are respected. You can find information about bullying, your rights at school (such as how you express yourself and same-sex dates and school dances), and more here. You can contact Lambda Legal by phone at 866-542-8336 or visit the website.
Somos Familia is based in San Francisco, California and provides various forms of support, tools, resources, and workshops for LGBTQ+ youth, young adults, and their families. The online support groups in Spanish provide a space for youth to meet new friends in the community. You can find many resources (videos, articles, personal stories, workshops and guides) on this page.
AGUILAS (Asamblea Gay Unida Impactando Latinos A Superarse) provides a supportive environment for gay/bisexual Latino men living in the San Francisco Bay Area. They provide free individual counseling sessions and support groups to adults, but social events are for all in the LGBTQ+ community. Become a member to join AGUILAS here.
The Los Angeles LGBT Center (California)
The Los Angeles LBGT Center provides programs and services to LGBT youth and families in areas such as health, social services, housing, culture, education, and more. If you’re looking for a safe space to connect with friends, experiencing homelessness, looking for a mentor, not feeling safe at school, or any other problems, you can contact this organization. You can find more details about this center and the services and programs they offer here.
San Diego LGBT Community Center (California)
The San Diego LGBT Community Center offers community services to LGBTQ+ youth, which you can find here. They also host online events and services for LGBTQ+ youth, families, Black and Latino communities (including some online groups/events in Spanish), and more. You can see more of their programs and services here.
Trans Youth Equality Foundation (TYEF)
TYEF is based in Portland, Maine, and provides support for transgender and gender non-conforming children and youth and their families. They provide various stories, tips and resources for youth and parents, including topics such as coming out, clothing, college, etc. You can find these resources here.
The Montrose Center
The Montrose Center provides support and resources for the LGBTQ+ community in Houston, TX. They have Hatch Youth Groups, which empower LGBTQ+ youth between the ages of 7 and 20. These groups provide a safe environment where youth can socialize, make new friends, and engage in educational and creative activities.
Entre Hermanos is based in Seattle, Washington and focuses on supporting the Latino LGBTQ+ community in Washington state. They provide direct legal services and take cases for both detained and non-detained LGBTQ+ members of the Latino community to apply for asylum and other forms of immigration relief. They prioritize cases for those people who are vulnerable and detained, and those who are already in immigration proceedings. Learn more about how to access immigration services and consultations here.