Posts By :


Embracing Body Positivity During Summer (And Beyond) 495 401 cj

Embracing Body Positivity During Summer (And Beyond)

Embracing Body Positivity During Summer (And Beyond)

Summer has arrived, and with it come visions of playing in the ocean, unwinding by the pool, and soaking in the sun. However, as we welcome this lively season, an all-too-familiar narrative emerges. Advertisements and media bombard us with messages like, “Are you beach body ready?” and “Prepare for bikini season!” These messages insist that only certain body types are worthy of summer enjoyment, prompting many of us to feel pressured to change our bodies. For LGBTQ+ youth, these messages can be particularly challenging.

Redefining the “Ideal Body”
In our society, beauty standards often promote a narrow ideal of what a body “should” look like – and typically present unrealistic views that may be rooted in systems of oppression like patriarchy, misogyny, and racism. These beauty standards may unintentionally exclude and cause harm to many people, especially those in the LGBTQ+ community who may feel that their bodies are not acceptable or desirable. Queer and trans youth face additional pressures to conform to these ideals, which can be particularly challenging when it comes to finding swimwear or clothing that allows them to feel comfortable and affirmed in their identities and bodies.

Challenging the Gender Binary
Swimwear is often designed to reinforce the gender binary, perpetuating the idea that there are only two acceptable ways to present oneself. This can be particularly distressing for trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming individuals, as traditional swimwear can emphasize body parts that cause gender dysphoria—a profound discomfort or anxiety due to a mismatch between one’s biological sex and gender identity. What should be a joyful day at the beach or pool can become a stressful experience or be avoided altogether.

For young people exploring their gender identities, summer can be a sensitive time. They might wonder, “Is it safe to present as my true self in a swimsuit? Will I face harassment in the changing room? Will I be misgendered based on my swimwear choice?” These concerns can overshadow the simple pleasures of summer.

Thankfully, the fashion industry is slowly catching up, with more brands offering gender-inclusive swimwear designed to affirm all bodies. These companies create swimsuits that are comfortable, high-quality, and make everyone feel good about themselves, breaking away from the restrictive “men and women” categories.

If you’re looking for inclusive swimwear options, “10 Best Places To Buy Gender Inclusive Swimwear” is a fantastic resource. This guide highlights companies that cater to all body types, genders, and gender expressions, offering a refreshing departure from traditional swimwear.

Celebrating All Bodies
A body-positive approach can make all the difference. At Kaleidoscope, we are proud to offer a safe space for our youth to show up exactly as they are, in all types of dress, fashion and expression. Embracing body positivity means recognizing that all bodies are beautiful and deserve to be celebrated, regardless of size, shape, color, or gender. Kaleidoscope believes that everyone has the right to feel comfortable and confident in their own skin. At our events, youth can connect with each other and share tips about gender affirming clothing, finding gender affirming haircuts and other forms of expression that help them to feel like their authentic selves.

This summer, we invite you to come exactly as you are to our LGBTQ+ Game Night on July 19th at 6pm! Come meet other peers in a safe space and relax with games, music and free food and drinks. We can’t wait to see you there!

With love,

What Pride Means to Us: Celebrating the Voices of our LGBTQ+ Youth 495 401 cj

What Pride Means to Us: Celebrating the Voices of our LGBTQ+ Youth

What Pride Means to Us: Celebrating the Voices of our LGBTQ+ Youth

Pride Month is celebrated every June to honor the LGBTQ+ community and our fight for equal rights. It began with the Stonewall Uprising in the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, when LGBTQ+ people in New York City protested police brutality and discrimination during a police bar raid of a gay bar, the Stonewall Inn. The riots are widely considered to be a turning point in the LGBTQ+ rights movement. Pride month is a time to honor the bravery of those who paved the way for LGBTQ+ rights, while also serving as a reminder of the ongoing struggle for equality and acceptance worldwide. Pride Month is the perfect time to amplify the voices of our LGBTQ+ youth and understand what Pride truly means to them So, let’s dive right in and hear from some real-life quotes from our Kaleidoscope participants that beautifully capture the essence of Pride from the perspective of the LGBTQ+ youth community:

“To me, Pride is being proud of and embracing who I am and what I identify as. Pride is who and what I am, and who and what I am not ashamed to be. I am proud of who I am, and that is what pride means to me.”

These words speak volumes about the power of self-acceptance and embracing one’s identity without reservation. Pride is about celebrating every facet of ourselves, unapologetically and authentically.

But Pride goes beyond individual celebration; it’s also about societal acceptance and support. As another youth shares, “To me, pride means the ability to feel cared about by society. It means I can be seen and heard as an individual for my differences and how that builds me as a person. It also means I can feel safer in the world and less like a burden, even for just one month.”

These sentiments highlight the importance of creating a world where everyone feels valued, respected, and safe to express their true selves. Pride is about fostering an environment of inclusivity and understanding, where diversity is not just accepted but celebrated.

Yet, for some, Pride can be a complex experience, as expressed here: “Pride is tricky for me to showcase. It feels like I need to lay my emotions out for everyone to see. But having Pride feels good. Even if I’m too scared to be loud about it, being prideful in who I am makes me feel a little stronger.”

This reflection underscores the nuances of the Pride experience, acknowledging both the challenges and the empowering aspects of embracing one’s identity.

Finally, Pride is a symbol of progress and resilience, as articulated in this quote: “It’s hard to believe that LGBTQ+ people were once punished by law for loving [who they love] or being someone they’re comfortable being. The fact that people fought for the right to be who they are and we’re now able to be who we are more freely is a huge step in the right direction for us and future generations.”

These words remind us of the courageous individuals who paved the way for LGBTQ+ rights and the ongoing journey toward equality and acceptance.

As we gear up for Pride Month, it’s not just about the rainbow flags and vibrant parades; it’s about uplifting the voices of our LGBTQ+ youth every single day. Here at Kaleidoscope, we’re committed to creating a space where these voices are heard, celebrated, and empowered, not just during Pride Month but all year round.

To honor and celebrate our youth, we are hosting our annual Pride Party on June 14th in Sherman Oaks! This in-person gathering is a safe space for LGBTQ+ youth to come together, make new friends, and express themselves freely. Let’s dance, play games, and enjoy music in a welcoming environment. RSVP here!

From all of us at Kaleidoscope, wishing you a safe and joyous Pride Month.

Honoring Mental Health Awareness Month 495 401 cj

Honoring Mental Health Awareness Month

Honoring Mental Health
Awareness Month

As May approaches, it’s time to shine a light on something incredibly important: National Mental Health Awareness Month. This serves as a powerful reminder of the significance of mental health and wellbeing in our lives. Today, we want to focus on a particular aspect of mental health that often gets overlooked—the mental health of LGBTQ+ youth.

For many young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer, navigating the complexities of adolescence can be particularly challenging. From facing discrimination and stigma to struggling with self-acceptance and identity, LGBTQ+ youth often encounter unique stressors that can take a toll on their mental health.

Research consistently shows that LGBTQ+ youth are at a higher risk of experiencing depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation compared to their heterosexual and cisgender peers. Factors such as rejection from family or peers, bullying, and societal prejudice contribute to this heightened vulnerability. In fact, studies have found that LGBTQ+ youth are almost five times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight counterparts.

But amidst these sobering statistics, there’s hope. National Mental Health Awareness Month serves as a platform to raise awareness, promote acceptance, and foster support for LGBTQ+ youth. It is a time for us to reaffirm our commitment to creating safe, inclusive spaces where all young people can thrive, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

At Kaleidoscope, we recognize the unique needs of LGBTQ+ youth, and we’re dedicated to providing affirming and inclusive therapy services tailored to their specific experiences. Our team of skilled therapists understands the intersectionality of identity and mental health and autism, and strives to create a welcoming environment where LGBTQ+ youth can explore their thoughts, feelings, and concerns without fear of judgment or discrimination.

Whether it’s providing support for coming out, addressing family conflict, or navigating gender identity exploration, we’re here to help LGBTQ+ youth navigate life’s challenges and cultivate resilience. Because everyone deserves to live authentically and proudly, free from the burden of mental health stigma and discrimination.

Want to inquire further into our mental health services? Call 1-800-779-5100, or email us at [email protected]
In solidarity,

Celebrating Autism Acceptance Month in the LGBTQ+ Community 495 401 cj

Celebrating Autism Acceptance Month in the LGBTQ+ Community

Celebrating Autism Acceptance Month in the LGBTQ+ Community

April marks Autism Acceptance Month, dedicated to fostering ongoing support, empathy, and kindness for the autistic communities. Providing acceptance and affirmation is a significant component of Kaleidoscope’s mission as we offer services for youth across the LGBTQ+ spectrum, with a special focus on neurodiverse youth. This month holds particular significance for us as we celebrate these youth who are on the autism and LGBTQIA+ spectrums.

For young people at the intersection of these identities, there are often many challenges. Understanding and navigating social dynamics can be particularly complex, as autistic individuals may struggle with social cues and norms, while also exploring their sexual orientation or gender identity.

Exploring one’s identity is a fundamental aspect of adolescence, and for youth at this intersection, it can be especially nuanced. Understanding and expressing one’s gender identity or sexual orientation may be complicated by difficulties in self-expression and communication. Additionally, the concept of identity itself may be abstract and complex for some autistic individuals to grasp, leading to a more extended process of self-discovery.

The sensory sensitivities often associated with autism can further complicate matters, especially in environments where LGBTQ+ spaces may be overwhelming or overstimulating. We are mindful of our autistic youth who may have sensory sensitives. This includes being one of the only agencies that provides ear plugs at Pride Events and social events for folks who may be overstimulated by noise, keeping the lights and music low during movie or music nights, and having other sensory materials like fidget toys available to help youth regulate their anxiety or overwhelm.

Kaleidoscope is proud to be one of the few organizations who specialize in providing therapeutic and social support to youth who are both autistic and LGBTQ+, and training parents, educators, and LGBTQ+ organizations on best practices for providing inclusive spaces and support that cater to the unique needs of these youth. Educators, healthcare professionals and community leaders play a vital role in providing guidance and support to help individuals navigate their identities with confidence and resilience.

This month, we invite you to learn more about how you can support LGBTQ+ Autistic youth at our special needs resource fair on Sunday April 28 from 11am-2pm. This is an opportunity for parents and professionals to discover the wonderful resources that Los Angeles has to offer its special needs community. RSVP HERE to attend this free event!

Have additional questions about this event? Please contact us at [email protected].
Would you like to Volunteer at this event? Contact [email protected] for info.

Embracing Trans Resilience: Honoring Trans Day of Visibility 495 401 cj

Embracing Trans Resilience: Honoring Trans Day of Visibility

Honoring Trans Day of Visibility

Embracing Trans Resilience: Honoring Trans Day of Visibility

Every year, March 31st marks a pivotal day in the LGBTQ+ calendar—Trans Day of Visibility (TDOV). It is a day dedicated to celebrating the resilience, strength, and contributions of transgender and gender-diverse individuals worldwide. More than just a day of recognition, TDOV serves as a powerful reminder of the need for visibility and acceptance.

The Significance of Trans Day of Visibility
TDOV was founded to push back against the marginalization faced by the transgender community. It stands as a beacon of hope, urging society to recognize and honor the diverse experiences and identities of trans people. This day is about amplifying voices, fostering understanding, and advocating for equality and inclusivity. In a world where trans youth are up against many challenges, celebrating trans joy and visibility is more important than ever.

Celebrating Trans Youth at Kaleidoscope
Despite facing significant challenges and discrimination, transgender individuals, and especially transgender youth, continue to exhibit unparalleled strength and resilience. Their stories of perseverance inspire and empower others. One trans Kaleidoscope participant volunteered to share her experience at our program:

“To me, trans visibility means feeling genuinely known and properly understood. Seeing other people like me in the media who aren’t {negatively stereotyped} makes me feel safe in the world.

Kaleidoscope has helped me by guiding me through certain issues like loneliness and depression. I have also found new friends and allies through the service.”

Trans Day of Visibility provides an opportunity for trans teens like our Kaleidoscope participants to feel supported and celebrated in their identities. Communities often organize events, discussions, and awareness campaigns specifically geared towards understanding and embracing transgender individuals, a practice often known as celebrating trans joy. For trans youth, focusing on the positive contributions and representations of the trans community can provide them with validation and a sense of hope for the future.

Kaleidoscope is proud to serve the many trans youth who walk through our doors, as well as and provide support to educators, therapists and other support staff who work with trans youth. Want to know what you can do be part of the Trans Day of Visibility movement?
• Educate yourself and your community how to be a good ally and how to best support transgender youth.
•Learn more about the importance of inclusive language.
•Volunteer your time with us, and help be a positive, inclusive role model for our young people. We welcome volunteers ages 18 + who are LGBTQ+ or allies, and are passionate about being positive, inclusive role models for our young people. Email [email protected] with the subject “Volunteer” to get started!

As we commemorate Trans Day of Visibility, Kaleidoscope stands in solidarity with our transgender community—not just on this day but every day.
Let’s build a world where every individual can live authentically and proudly.

With love,

celebrating friendship in the lgbtq+ community 495 401 cj

celebrating friendship in the lgbtq+ community

Valentine’s Day is often emphasized as a day for romantic love, complete with roses, chocolates, and declarations of affection. But in the diverse LGBTQ+ community, this day can hold a deeper significance beyond traditional (and often heteronormative) notions of love. Valentine’s Day can be an opportunity to celebrate and nurture relationships we have with our fellow friends and allies in the LGBTQ+ community and create new ones.

How Do Friendships and Connections Strengthen the LGBTQ+ Community?

Friendship plays a crucial part within the framework of the LGBTQ+ community. In particular, LGBTQ+ young people often turn to their community to find affirmation, love, LGBTQ+ specific resources like housing and mutual aid, and a general sense of safety and support. Focus on social connectedness and friendships is particularly important when addressing the needs of LGBTQ)+ youth throughout the world. Marginalization due to sexual orientation and gender identity has been linked to higher rates of suicide, among other mental health issues. These are often due to societal pressures, internalized stigma, or questioning their sense of belonging. But the path to self-acceptance is often far easier with fellow LGBTQ+ peers, friends and affirming allies who can show a young person it is safe to be their authentic self. According to the 2022 National Coming Out Day Youth Report, youth who are out to their immediate family or out at school report higher levels of happiness, optimism, acceptance and support through multiple measures. They also report higher levels of in–person participation with LGBTQ+ organizations at school and in the community. Affirming queer friendships can exist as a powerful source of community in and of itself, or as an additional source of joy and support.

Finding Community at Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope prides itself in offering a safe environment where LGBTQ+ young people can be their beautiful selves, and helping youth create fulfilling connections that serve as pillars of support. Join us on February 16th for a re-imagined celebration of Valentine’s Day at our Palentine’s Day Event for LGBTQ+ youth and allies, where we’ll celebrating LGBTQ+ friends and community through crafting, games, and good food! RSVP to join us!

Here’sto redefining Valentine’s Day as a celebration of love by honoring our friendships and community.

a look at the year ahead 2024
A look Back at 2023 as We Leap Forward to 2024. 495 401 cj

A look Back at 2023 as We Leap Forward to 2024.

kaleidoscope - a look at the year ahead 2024

Kaleidoscope: A Look Back at 2023 as We Leap Forward to 2024.

By Jay Baldwin

Can you believe it’s 2024? As we head into a new year, our Kaleidoscope team is reflecting back on all the wonderful experiences we had serving our LGBTQ+ youth and engaging with the broader LGBTQ+ and allied community and are excited to look ahead to 2024!

In 2023 we were proud to offer multiple social groups to our young people this year, including multiple Movie “Pride” Nights where we featured media with positive representations of LGBTQ+ teens, a smashing Halloween Party with amazing costumes, and an end of year winter party where one of the highlights was participants creating their own LGBTQ+ affirming poetry.

We began Kaleidoscope’s First Annual Youth Council, a group of LGBTQ+ and neurodiverse youth who help Kaleidoscope plan social events for youth, give us feedback on our services, and contribute ideas for future programming. We look forward to continuing to work with these young people in the upcoming year as we build our 2024 programming!

And let’s not forget the amazing time we had celebrating Pride Month, the biggest month for our organization! As an organization that serves LGBTQ+ youth, we were particularly moved by families with children who approached our booths at all our pride events, showed support, and sought out resources for the LGBTQ+ young people in their lives. It has been a very challenging year for LGBTQ+ youth in 2023, and the power of affirming parents and caregivers to change and save these young lives cannot be overstated.

Looking Ahead in 2024

We’re excited about getting the community involved in our upcoming events. Next up, we’re putting a fun spin on Valentine’s day with our annual “Palentine’s” Day Party, an event meant to celebrate friendship, chosen family and self-care with arts and crafts, games, and a pizza dinner. LGBTQ+ youth and allies ages 11-17 are always welcome to attend as well as our amazing volunteers who contribute to making these occasions special.

Our volunteers have been essential in making events and programs like the above possible! As we head into this new year, our vision in 2024 is to expand our programming so that we can reach even more youth and provide them with a safe space to be their authentic selves. Our goal is to provide in-person and virtual LGBTQ+ themed social events and more opportunities to meet up at pride festivals. Want to help us reach our goal? We welcome volunteers ages 18 + who are LGBTQ+ or allies, and are passionate about working with LGBTQ+ youth and their families. Email [email protected] with the subject “Volunteer” to get started.

If you are a young person who wishes to get involved, please join our Youth Council, a leadership program for LGBTQIA and neurodivergent youth between the ages of 15 and 22. Our youth council members provide us with valuable feedback about programming, help out at events, and contribute ideas for new offerings each month!

From all of us at Kaleidoscope, we look forward to seeing you in 2024!

How to Affirm LGBTQ+ Youth During the Holiday Season 495 401 cj

How to Affirm LGBTQ+ Youth During the Holiday Season

How to Affirm LGBTQ+ Youth During the Holiday Season

By Jay Baldwin

The winter holidays are a time when family and friends come together and celebrate, reminisce and make memories for years to come. But this time of year can also be filled with conflict and stress. For LGBTQ people especially, the holidays can bring up particular difficulties. Whether they are visiting family who don’t accept or understand their identity, being reminded of childhood trauma, or struggling with disordered eating, the holidays can bring up anxiety for many queer and trans people.

How can you ensure that your child or an LGBTQ+ youth in your life feels welcomed and safe this holiday season?

Talk to the LGBTQ youth in your life

The first step is to have a conversation the LGBTQ+ youth in your life about the upcoming holidays and any family visits that may be planned. Ask them if they have any stress, anxiety, or worries about the holidays as it relates to their identity. Ask them how you can support them best. Establish what they specifically need during the holiday and come up with a plan if necessary for how you will approach family members who aren’t as supportive or familiar with their LGBTQ+ identity.

Talk to family members and friends

Set aside time to speak with any family and friends who you will see during the holiday season. Let them know you love and support your child and set expectations about what behavior is expected of them. Make it clear that homophobic and transphobic comments will not be allowed.

If your child uses a different name or pronouns than what they grew up with, make sure friends know that they need to use the correct name and pronouns during their visit. Offer grace to people who are still adjusting by practicing with them, and role model how to apologize if you make a mistake with pronouns or name. (Apologize briefly, say the sentence again with the correct pronoun, and move on.)

Treat your child the way you would any other young person

Invite your child’s significant other to the holiday, if you would do the same for a straight child. Treat their significant other with friendliness and respect. Welcome them as a part of the family!

Practice allyship in the moment

An ally is a person who is not part of the community who actively stands up against LGBTQ+ discrimination. Be an ally to your child during the holiday. If a homophobic or transphobic comment is made, speak up and enforce the expectations you have set for the holidays. Make it clear that similar language or attitudes will not be tolerated at your holiday. If an incident turns into an argument or becomes unsafe, give your child permission to leave the room if needed while you navigate the conflict.

If you do not feel it is possible to prevent a conflict around LGBTQ issues with family or friends, consider hosting a smaller gathering without homophobic or transphobic relatives so that your child can experience a peaceful and comfortable holiday with you.

Donate to Kaleidoscope

Not every child has the same amount of resources, affirming family members, or access to LGBTQ+ spaces.  Consider sharing your generosity with LGBTQ+ youth this holiday season by donating to Kaleidoscope and helping us continue our LGBTQ+ affirming programing for our young people in the new year!

From all of us at Kaleidoscope, thank you for being with us for all of 2023. We wish you a safe, happy and healthy holiday season, and a joyous new year!

The Value of Parent Support Groups 495 400 cj

The Value of Parent Support Groups

The Value of Parent Support Groups

By Jess Furrer

If you had access to a time-machine, what period of your life would you revisit? For some adults, maybe revisiting a favorite family memory, when your child was a certain age, or your own childhood. How many adults would like to revisit or re-live your teenage years? For me, the idea of reliving my teenage years is a resounding NO.

Adolescence can be difficult to navigate for a myriad of reasons. Teenagers are often trying to figure out who they are and what they feel, while also wanting to create and keep friendships or relationships. It is a lot to navigate for a teenager on top of going to school, being active on social media, and being encouraged to plan for the future. LGBTQIA+ and autistic teenagers often must navigate more complex situations like coming out, discrimination, being misgendered, managing sensory needs, communication differences, and the list goes on. Parenting a teenager who is going through any or all of these experiences can also be challenging, confusing, or nerve-wracking. But family acceptance and support can make a huge difference in the overall wellbeing of LGBTQ+ and neurodivergent youth.

Joining a parent support group is a wonderful resource for parents of LGBTQIA+ Autistic teens as it can be comforting and empowering to talk with fellow parents who are on the same journey.

Can you explain what a parent education and support group is all about?

A parent education and support group is a safe space where parents and caregivers alike come together to learn about specific topics, and connect, relate, and support one another. Participants are often able to share their stories of parenthood, exchange resources, and build relationships with others who hold similar experiences.

Current Groups:

Due to positive feedback from previous participants, Kaleidoscope is re-offering a six-week, parent education and support group that focuses on the intersection between Autism and LGBTQIA+ identities. The group is designed to provide psychoeducation and support to parents and close family members of LGBTQIA+ Autistic teens aged 12-17. The group is 1.5 hours in length for six weeks. It is guided by a Kaleidoscope psychology doctoral intern who provides psychoeducation and facilitates group conversations. Each week there is a specialized topic including: mental health, friendships and online relationships, dating and sex, and managing difficult moments (meltdowns and pathological (persistent) demand avoidance). If various parents want support on another related topic, we aim to make space to address it.

What would you say to a parent that would like to attend our parent support group but feels a bit nervous about it? What can they expect?

It’s natural and normal to feel nervous about trying something new. Participants can expect to enter a judgment-free zone where they can truly explore their journey in parenthood. Whether it’s by sharing their own story or listening to others, participants often report feeling less alone and/or feeling more empowered after engaging in our parent education and support group. There is no expectation to “have it all figured out.” We just ask that interested participants have the intention of affirming their teen, are open to discussing complex topics, and interact from a place of curiosity and respect.

Sometimes parents are worried about using the correct terminology when speaking about their LGBTQIA+ kids or about LGBTQIA+ issues in general. Do you think a parent support group can help address these concerns?

We are all human, and mistakes (aka opportunities for growth) will happen. Kaleidoscope provides a safe environment with unconditional positive regard to encourage group participants in their understanding of LGBTQIA+ and autistic topics and their ability to engage more inclusively with the community. Remember, we’re in this together!

To join this support group for parents and close family members of LGBTQIA+ Autistic teens aged 12-17, please reach out to Jess Furrer to set up an intake session at [email protected].

Celebrating LGBTQ+ History Month 495 401 cj

Celebrating LGBTQ+ History Month

Celebrating LGBTQ+ History Month

LGBTQ+ History Month, a month-long celebration that occurs in October was first celebrated in the United States in 1994, when Rodney Wilson, an openly gay high school teacher from Missouri, passionately advocated for the idea of dedicating a month to honor gay and lesbian history. With the already established National Coming Out Day on October 11th, and the anniversary of the first march on Washington for gay and lesbian rights in 1979, October was chosen not only for its historical significance, but also because it’s a month when students are in school. This allows a wonderful opportunity to educate and engage kids of all ages in meaningful and age-appropriate conversations about LGBTQ history.

Why is it important for students to learn about LGBTQ+ History?

Creating an environment of inclusion promotes engagement for all students and provides them with opportunities to explore the many experiences of LGBTQIA+ people. Research indicates that when LGBTQIA+ people and events are excluded from history curricula, it perpetuates negative stereotypes about the LGBTQIA+ community and increases bullying of LGBTQIA+ young people. Curriculum that includes positive representations, however, helps promote respect for LGBTQIA+ students and improve all students’ overall school experience by promoting diversity and teaching them about the variety of identities in their communities.

How can you celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month with your students?

1.Use LGBTQ+ Primary Sources Into your Lessons

From the American Revolution to Early 20th Century Immigration to World War II, the California History Social Science Project has created amazing lesson plans featuring a collection of LGBTQ+ primary sources designed for use in the K-12 classroom. Each set includes context, focus questions, further readings, and a plethora of primary sources to help teachers infuse their curriculum with LGBTQ voices. Check out the project here!

2. Build an LGBTQ+ Inclusive Classroom Library or Request One

Do you want to incorporate more LGBTQ+ themed books into your library classroom but don’t know where to start? Check out the links below for age-appropriate reading material for K-12.

LGBTQ+ Children’s Books
LGBTQ+ Middle Grade Books
LGBTQ+ Young Adult Books

You can also check out the Rainbow Library Project through GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network). The Rainbow Library Project is a program that sends LGBTQ+ affirming K-12 to select states for free!

Kaleidoscope acknowledges that in many parts of the country, having LGBTQ+ inclusive literature in the classroom may not be possible. If you do not feel able or safe to incorporate books into the classroom but would still like your students to have access, individuals ages 13-21 residing anywhere in the United States can apply for a free BPL eCard, providing access to Brooklyn Library’s full eBook collection as well as their learning databases. To apply, have your students’ email [email protected].

3. Feature LGBTQ+ Classroom Decorations

Inclusive lessons can also include classroom décor! There are many ways to visually represent the many contributions of the LGBTQIA+ community. For example, in elementary schools, a family tree wall could include images of families featuring two moms or two dads to show the many different ways families are made. In history or social studies classrooms, teachers and other staff can feature photos of LGBTQIA+ political leaders or images of demonstrations for equality. In secondary learning spaces, the rainbow flag could be displayed with information about its origin and significance.

This month, Kaleidoscope is proud to be celebrating by providing LGBTQ+ History Resources to our local GSA, where they will learn about LGBTQ+ trailblazers throughout history through LGBTQ+ History Flashcards. We will also be showing our support for National Coming Out Day by offering our new counseling staff LGBTQ+ regalia to hang in their offices to signal that they are affirming providers for clients and they are safe to be their authentic selves.

Want to find out more ways to bring LGBTQ+ history to your classroom or other educational settings for youth? Email us at [email protected] for fun ideas and lesson plans to bring LGBTQ+ activists and leaders to life. From all of us, wishing you a joyous LGBTQ+ History Month.