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LGBTQ Support Groups

Mutual support groups whose members identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning. Some groups may include intersex individuals. Groups may also be structured for the parents, children, heterosexual spouses or partners or other relatives or significant others of LBGTQ individuals. The groups provide an opportunity for members to share their issues and concerns with others in a safe, supportive environment. Meeting formats may include in-person, telephone or Internet options.

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Gay Straight Alliances

Student-run clubs (typically in a middle school or high school, or on college/university campuses) which provide a safe place for students to meet, support one another, talk about issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity, and work to address homophobia and transphobia. Many GSAs function as a support group and provide safety and confidentiality to students who are struggling with their identity as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or questioning. In addition to support, some GSAs work on educating themselves and the broader school community about sexual orientation and gender identity issues. They may bring in outside speakers to cover a particular topic such as LGBTQ history. They may organize a "Pride Week" or "LGBTQ Awareness Events" and offer a series of educational workshops, panels and pride celebrations. Other GSAs are activist clubs and have worked to get LGBTQ issues represented in the curriculum, LGBTQ related books in the library, and progressive non-discrimination policies implemented at a district level. All of these different types of GSAs also provide a social outlet for LGBTQ students and their straight allies. GSAs help to build community at schools and lessen the isolation that LGBTQ students might otherwise experience.

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LGBTQ Helplines

Programs that provide immediate assistance for individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, two-spirit or queer as well as people who are in the process of coming out, people who are questioning their sexual orientation/gender identity and/or their friends and families. Included may be short-term emotional support, resources and community referrals. The service is generally free and confidential and may offer peer support. Helpline staff are generally available via telephone, email, chat and/or text.

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The above terms and definitions are part of the Taxonomy of Human Services, used here by permission of INFO LINE of Los Angeles.


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