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Upcoming Webcast: Navigating Your Child's Coming Out Journey Together Wed. June 21, 2023 10am PT
Navigating Your Child’s Coming Out Journey Together 495 402 cj

Navigating Your Child’s Coming Out Journey Together

Navigating Your Child’s Coming Out Journey Together

All parents desire the best for their children, but many are caught off-guard when their child comes out as LGBTQ+. They are unsure of what to say and/or how to react or even “what this means.” LGBTQ+ youth can also face some unique challenges that parents often feel unprepared to tackle. In this webcast you’ll learn how to navigate this journey, find support, and ensure everyone’s well-being.

This webcast welcomes parents, educators, professionals, and the community at large.

During this webcast, we discussed:

  • Understanding the coming out process for young people
  • Exploring and normalizing common reactions when a child comes out
  • Learning how to compassionately support you and your child during their coming out process
  • Hear from a parent about their experience and journey


  • Dr. Jason Bolton (He/Him, Moderator), VP of Admissions & Community Partnerships at The Help Group
  • Jay Baldwin (They/Them), Program Director of The Help Group’s Kaleidoscope
  • Christina K. (She/Her) – Proud Parent

To learn more about our programs and services, please visit…

How to Affirm Your LGBTQ+ Students
How to Affirm your LGBTQ+ Students 495 401 cj

How to Affirm your LGBTQ+ Students

How to Affirm Your LGBTQ+ Students

How to Affirm your LGBTQ+ Students

By Jay Baldwin

It’s back to school season, and schools across the United States are welcoming a new set of youth into their classrooms. Going back to school can cause a variety of emotions for students, and LGBTQ+ students are no exception. Many queer and transgender young people have a particular set of challenges to navigate in school settings, and teachers and school staff can make a profound difference in their LGBTQ+ students’ lives by showing them support, affirmation and acceptance. The statistics for many students in the LGBTQ+ community are staggering. The Trevor Projects’ National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health reports:

  • 6 in 10 LGBT students report feeling unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation.
  • LGBTQ youth are more than four times as likely to attempt suicide than their peers

It is important to emphasize that LGBTQ youth are not inherently prone to suicide risk and mental health issues because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, but are at higher risk because of how they are mistreated and stigmatized in society. (Trevor Project, 2022)

As a teacher, staff or other student support individual, here is the statistic that is most important to remember:
LGBTQ youth who report having at least one accepting adult in their lives are 40% less likely to report a suicide attempt in the past year.

Being an accepting adult could save one of your students’ lives. Here are some simple but meaningful ways that you can be an affirming and accepting adult for your students:

Create visual cues in your office/classroom that signal support for the community

Because many people in the LGBTQ+ community rely on non-verbal cues to know whether someone or somewhere is safe and accepting, small items like a rainbow flag, a safe space sticker, or a pronoun pin that says your own pronouns can signal to your students that you are going to affirm and support their identity.

Avoid gendered language

Using non gendered language is one of the simplest but most affirming ways to create an inclusive atmosphere and also avoid misgendering students. Instead of saying “boys and girls” or “ladies and gentlemen,” try “folks”, “everyone” or “friends.” Use your students’ names as opposed to referring to them with “Mr. or Ms.”

Ask students how they’d like to be referred to

Some students may use a different name or pronouns than you may first assume. One helpful tool is creating a “getting to know you” form that includes asking students what pronouns and name they’d like you to use for them at the beginning of the school year. Because some students live in homes that do not affirm their identity, make sure to ask whether or not it’s okay to use these pronouns and name when speaking with their parents or caregivers.

Keep an open mind, and be prepared to make mistakes

Do you have a student whose identity you don’t completely understand? Maybe you keep slipping up on pronouns, or feel like you don’t know the right terminology? It’s okay to make mistakes or not understand everything right away. The most important part is to keep an open mind, apologize when you make a mistake, and be committed to continually getting to know your students and the ways they want to be seen and known.

Provide statements of affirmation.

Tell your students that their identities are valuable and beautiful. In a world where LGBTQ+ people are regularly under attack, your students need this more than ever.


Wishing you all a wonderful back to school season, and here is to creating a safer and more inclusive world for all of our LGBTQ+ youth.

Coming Out As the Parent of An LGBTQ+ Child
Coming Out as the Parent of an LGBTQ+ Child 495 401 Jay Baldwin

Coming Out as the Parent of an LGBTQ+ Child

Coming Out As the Parent of An LGBTQ+ Child

Coming Out as the Parent of an LGBTQ+ Child

By Jay Baldwin

Every week, I meet parents who tell me the story about their child or young adult coming out to them as LGBTQ+. For some parents, their child came out to them at an early age and they are a few years into their journey. For other parents, their children only just came out in the past few weeks or months and they are just starting to navigate what it all means. Whatever the case may be, just as a LGBTQ+ youth has their own coming out process, parents and caregivers of LGBTQ+ youth will have their own coming out process too.

Some parents may find it easy to accept their child as LGBTQ+, while others may express hesitation or uncertainty about their child’s identity. While the journey to understand, accept and affirm an LGBTQ+ child throughout their life is not linear by any means, there are often common themes, themes and emotions that I see expressed by parents who are raising an LGBTQ+ child, regardless of their level of acceptance. Often, this starts with a lot of questions that come from a place of uncertainty, confusion and fear. Depending on one’s cultural and religious beliefs, many parents may wonder things like:

Is my child just going through a phase? Will my child ever get married or have children? Did my parenting style cause my child to be this way? How will people treat my child? How and when do I share my child’s identity with others? 

At Kaleidoscope, we want parents to know that these are all normal and understandable questions and reactions to a child’s LGBTQ+ identity. We also want parents to know that we offer several support groups for parents of LGBTQ+ youth to share their experiences, give and receive support, and learn about valuable resources. Here are a few commonly asked questions:

I’m nervous about attending a support group. What can I expect?

The purpose of our groups is to support you wherever you are in your journey. You are welcome here, and you will not be judged or shamed in any way.

I love my child, and I am also grieving the life I thought my child may have had. Can a support group help me with these kinds of feelings?

Parent support groups can help parents realize that grieving is a process. It is not linear and it takes time to adjust. It can be comforting to talk with other parents who may have similar feelings or initial reactions. Sharing these emotions in a safe space can provide an opportunity for self-exploration of one’s own biases and fears. It can often provide parents with a sense of hope to hear from other parents who have moved from a place of grief to acceptance.

There are groups for parents of neurotypical children and neurodivergent LGBTQ+ children. Is parenting an LGBTQ+ child similar for both cohorts?

Although each child with autism has a unique experience, LGBTQIA+ young people that are also on the autism spectrum may face more complex challenges than their neurotypical peers. It’s important to listen to these young people and consider the potential influence of certain factors, such as theory of mind deficits, social challenges, sensory sensitivity, and more, while also recognizing that autistic youth have as much of a right to identify and express who they are as neurotypical young people.

I’m interested! Where do I sign up? 

If you are interested in joining our Parent/Caregivers Support Group in English or in Spanish, please contact Dr. Joselyn Valle at [email protected]

To inquire about our new Parent Education Group for Parents of LGBTQ+ Autistic Youth that begins in September, contact Dr. Sarah Bruce at [email protected]

Kaleidoscope's Pride Month Recap
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Pride Month 2022 Recap

Kaleidoscope's Pride Month Recap

Pride Month 2022 Recap

All of us at Kaleidoscope so enjoyed Pride Month 2022. June was a busy month for us and we thoroughly enjoyed participating in so many joyful Pride events.

We kicked off our month with Pasadena’s DCFS LGBTQIA+ Resource Fair on June 1st. It was a true pleasure to share information about our program with the many wonderful DCFS staff who attended the Resource Fair, and we appreciated their interest in our program.

Our next event was the fabulous WeHo Pride Street Festival and Parade on June 4th and 5th. The atmosphere during this weekend was positive, upbeat, and inclusive. The LGBTQIA+ community and their allies brought the fun and everyone was in a great mood. We gave rainbow striped notepads, erasers and lanyards to the folks visiting our booth and we were told our unique pronoun pins were the most popular give-away at the event.

The celebration continued at LA Pride on June 11th. We were truly honored to be a beneficiary of Cheer LA’s fundraising. Cheer LA is an active group of volunteers seeking to promote awareness, spirit, and diversity in the LGBTQIA+ community through dynamic cheer, dance, and stunt performances. Kaleidoscope is thrilled and grateful to receive over $1000 from Cheer LA.

We wrapped up June with one last event, the San Fernando Valley Pride Party on June 25. This family event, held at the Van Nuys Civic Center, was filled with joy, pride, and lots of karaoke!

In addition to attending Pride events, we provided two training sessions for the staff at Muskingum Health Center in Zanesville, Ohio. Muskingum Behavioral Health offers compassionate and effective counseling, prevention and recovery services along with recovery housing. Our Kaleidoscope team members provided a “LGBTQIA+ 101” training to the staff and a “Best LGBTQIA+ Practices for Clinicians” for their clinical staff.

We provided one training session and facilitated three candid conversations for the Segal Benz corporation. We received feedback that these sessions were transformative for the attendees and Segal Benz said they were so thrilled with the Kaleidoscope presenters that they booked their 2023 with us!

And to round out the month, Kaleidoscope provided a webcast on June 7th titled, “Providing Affirming Therapeutic Support to LGBTQIA+ Youth and Young Adults.” This free webcast offered practical strategies and suggestions for mental health professionals, educators, parents, allies, and the community at large. If you missed it or would like to re-watch it, please click here for the recording.

All in all, it was a fun and productive month. If you would like to lend your support to The Help Group’s Kaleidoscope program, please donate here.

Happy Pride everybody!

Our Bodies Are Already Ready by Jay Baldwin
Our Bodies are Already Ready 495 401 cj

Our Bodies are Already Ready

Our Bodies Are Already Ready by Jay Baldwin

Our Bodies are Already Ready

By Jay Baldwin

Summer is upon us, which for many of us brings up images of splashing in the ocean, relaxing by the pool, and soaking up the sun. But every year right before summer, the inevitable shadow is cast upon this otherwise bright season. “Are you beach body ready?” the ads ask us. “Get yourself ready for bikini season!” From magazines, to diet ads, to many other kinds of media, the message is clear: Only certain kinds of bodies are acceptable, desirable, and appropriate for summer, and if we don’t have one of those kinds of bodies, we need to get them “ready”

The Ideal Body Type?

The “ideal” body type in our culture is typically one that is white, cisgender, thin, and able bodied. Messages like this are rooted in patriarchy, misogyny and racism, and have perpetuated a great deal of harm toward people of all genders. Queer and trans bodies, which have been historically othered and positioned as less than compared to their straight and cisgender peers, are impacted by these messages in very specific ways. Not only is there pressure to “get one’s body ready” from an aesthetic standpoint, there is the actual process of moving through the world and buying a swimsuit that can be very challenging for many LGBTQ+ folks, particularly transgender, non binary and any individual – trans or cisgender – who is gender non conforming.

Swimwear can perpetuate the Gender Binary

Swimwear and bathing suits are almost always gendered pieces of clothing that perpetuate the gender binary – the idea that there are only two genders (men and women) and that there are “acceptable” or assumed ways that boys/men and girls/women will dress. They also emphasize certain body parts that can cause trans, non binary and gender non conforming individuals to experience gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is term that describes unease, discomfort or anxiety – sometimes severe –  that a person may have because of a mismatch between their biological sex characteristics and their gender identity. A day at the beach or the pool, one that we associate with fun, carefree times, can be a deeply uncomfortable experience, or one that is avoided altogether, for anyone who cannot find swim wear that is comfortable, affordable and affirms their gender identity and expression.

For trans, non binary and gender non conforming youth who are just coming into their identities and their bodies, this can be a particularly vulnerable time as we head into summer. These youth may be in various stages of coming out and/or in gender transition. They may wonder “Is it safe to present as my chosen gender in a swimsuit? Will I be able to use the correct changing room without being harassed? Will I be misgendered if I wear one kind of bathing suit versus another?”

Affirming Support can make all the difference

If an LGBTQ+ child or teen needs support and help finding a bathing suit, an affirming adult can make all the difference. Let the LGBTQ+ youth in your life know that you know this is not an easy experience, and that they deserve to feel comfortable and happy in their bodies, no matter what they are wearing. It is also important to emphasize that you understand that clothing has no gender, and that they are not obligated to wear anything that gender norms dictate they “should”.

Fortunately, there are now many gender inclusive companies that make swimsuits for LGBTQ+ youth and adults that are comfortable, high quality and gender affirming.

10 Best Places To Buy Gender Inclusive Swimwear has wonderful reviews of many companies that make swimwear for all bodies, genders and gender expressions, and is a refreshing departure from companies that only sell outdated “men and women” swimwear.

This summer, I want to say to the LGBTQ+ community, we’re already ready! We were ready long before anyone told us that we should look, think and act according to harmful and quite frankly ridiculous standards, and we’re waiting for everyone else to catch up. The time is now. May we celebrate our queer and trans bodies, in all their uniqueness, strength and diversity, and shine just as bright as the summer sun.

Webcast: Providing Affirming Therapeutic Support to LGBTQ+ Youth and Young Adults
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Affirming Therapeutic LGBTQ+ Support

Providing Affirming Therapeutic Support to LGBTQ+ Youth & Young Adults

June is Pride Month, and we discussed the benefits of providing affirming, therapeutic support to LGBTQIA+ youth and young adults. LGBTQ+ Affirmative Psychology is a branch of psychology that embraces a positive view of LGBTQIA+ people and addresses the negative impacts of the biases and prejudices they may encounter. We also discussed ways to integrate Queer affirmative principles into clinical practice and to support your LGBTQIA+ clients and loved ones. For allies, parents, educators, therapists, and the community at large.

Topics covered in this session include:

  • History of LGBTQ+ Affirmative Psychology
  • The need for affirming support • Benefits of LGBTQ+ Affirmative Psychology
  • Core components of LGBTQ+ Affirmative Psychology • Clinical considerations when working with LGBTQ+ youth and young adults
  • Q&A Panel Speakers


  • Jason Bolton, PsyD (moderator) – VP of Community Partnerships & Admissions at The Help Group
  • Sarah Bruce, PsyD, (she/her), Post-Doctoral Psychology Fellow and Therapist at Lumina Counseling Center
  • Joselyn Valle, PsyD, (she/ella), LGBTQ+ Therapist at Kaleidoscope and Lumina Counseling Center

To learn more about The Help Group, Kaleidoscope, and Lumina Counseling, please visit…

Kaleidoscope on KTLA Morning News 497 401 cj

Kaleidoscope on KTLA Morning News

Kaleidoscope on KTLA Morning News

On Thursday, May 19, 2022, Kaleidoscope appeared on KTLA Morning News for a news segment about the WeHo Pride Festival. Dr. Laurie Stephens, Senior Director of Autism and LGBTQ+ Programs at The Help Group, spoke about how and why Kaleidoscope was formed and about some of Kaleidoscope’s services and offerings for neurodivergent and neurotypical teens and young adults and their families.

A Conversation With Dr. Valle of Parent Support Groups 495 401 cj

A Conversation With Dr. Valle of Parent Support Groups

About The Value of Parent Support Groups

A Conversation With Kaleidoscope Therapist Dr. Joselyn Valle

Growing up is rarely a smooth and easy journey. This is especially true when you are figuring out who you are, and trying to affirm and assert your sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Parents of LGBTQIA+ children and teens may find their child’s maturation a challenging time. But family support and acceptance is vital to the physical and emotional health of young people who identify as LGBTQIA+.

Joining a parent support group is a wonderful resource for parents of LGBTQIA+ children as it can be comforting to talk with fellow parents who are on the same journey. Kaleidoscope offers a free ongoing, monthly support group for parents and caregivers of LGBTQIA+ young people for both English and Spanish speakers.

I am the proud mom of a gay son and a member of Kaleidoscope’s parent group. I find our meetings to be uplifting and inspiring. Recently I had a conversation with our group leader, Kaleidoscope Therapist Dr. Joselyn Valle, and we talked about the importance of group support:

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

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

Kaleidoscope’s parent groups are for parents of neurotypical and neurodivergent LGBTQIA+ kids and teens. Do you find that there is commonality for both groups in the parenting experience?

Parenthood is unique to each caregiver and although there may be differences between supporting a neurotypical and neurodivergent LGBTQIA+ child, Kaleidoscope is intentional in their mission to create spaces where parents are able to engage with their communities. Kaleidoscope offers a six-week, parent education group that focuses on the intersection between Autism and LGBTQIA+ identities. Additionally, monthly support groups are offered for all caregivers of LGBTQIA+ youth, because love is the core commonality for both groups in the parenting experience.

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. Parent support groups are approximately 60 minutes in length and are guided by a Kaleidoscope team member that helps facilitate group conversations. 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 support groups.

Some parents of LGBTQIA+ kids may feel confused and anxious about their child’s coming out. Is a parent support group a safe space for parents who love their kids but are struggling with acceptance?

Yes, a parent support group is for all parents who love their LGBTQIA+ child, and especially for those who may be having a more difficult time embracing their child. Parents are often at different points in their journey and connecting with others who may have experienced similar challenges in the past can serve as a source of validation, wisdom, and inspiration.

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+ issues and their ability to engage more inclusively with the community. Remember, we’re in this together!

We hope you will join Dr. Joselyn Valle at our Parent Support groups. Our Support group for English speaking parents is held on the 2nd Thursday of each month, from 6-7pm on Zoom. Our Support Group for Spanish speaking parents is held on the 4th Thursday of each month, from 6-7pm on Zoom. To sign up to attend, please email

Dr. Joselyn Valle at [email protected]

The Intersectionality Of The Autism and LGBTQIA+ Spectrums 495 401 cj

The Intersectionality Of The Autism and LGBTQIA+ Spectrums

The Intersectionality Of The ASD and LGBTQIA+ Spectrums

April is Autism Acceptance Month, a time to increase understanding of people with autism, and to provide continued support, kindness, and compassion for the autism community. Acceptance is also a big part of Kaleidoscope’s mission to provide services for young people on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum of sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, and gender expression. April is an important month for us as we celebrate our clients who are on both the autism and LGBTQIA+ spectrums.

Several studies now show that there is a distinct intersectionality of the Autism and LGBTQIA+ spectrums. Intersectionality is defined as a crossroads where two seemingly different things overlap. For example, the research shows that a high number of autistic people identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer as compared to the general population. “Most of the data that we are seeing is that the rate for autistic people who identify as LGBTQIA+ is two to three times higher,” says Clinical Psychologist Eileen T. Crehan, Ph.D., an assistant professor at Tufts University. But larger studies need to be conducted before the true rate is known, she says.

We also know that gender, like autism, exists on a spectrum. The two spectrums, gender and autism, are now considered to frequently overlap. A recent study revealed that gender identity (a person’s internal sense of their own gender) and sexuality are more varied among autistic people than in the general population, and autism is more common among people who do not identify as their assigned sex at birth. Research shows that children with autism are 7.6 times more likely to express gender variance. Clinicians and researchers have noted a trend over the last twenty-five years with increasing numbers of children who are seeking professional care related to gender identity who also identify as autistic or having autistic traits.

Overall, autism appears to be more prevalent among gender-diverse people. A larger percentage of autistic people reported their gender as being something other than strictly male or female, as compared to other people. Gender diversity is defined as an Identity beyond the male/female binary framework. A 2018 Australian survey of transgender teens and young adults found that 22.5% had been diagnosed with autism. Research suggests that people who have an autism diagnosis or autism traits are more likely to identify as transgender. One study found the rate to be 2 -3 times higher in people who have autism.

For some autistic LGBTQIA+ young people, there is a sense of isolation and of not belonging. Belonginess, as defined by Dr. Kenneth Pelletier, at the Stanford Center for Research and Disease Prevention, is “a sense of belonging that is a basic human need – as basic as food and shelter.” Dr. Pelleetier continues, “Social support may be one of the critical elements distinguishing those who remain healthy from those who will become ill.”

Our Kaleidoscope team understands that our autistic LGBTQIA+ clients may find some aspects of “belongingness” challenging due to deficits in social communication and difficulty initiating social interactions. Our hope is that our social support groups can be a resource for those who seek to belong in a community. Our online and upcoming in-person LGBTQIA+ social support groups, Pride Club for teens and Coffee Chat for young adults, offer a sense of empowerment and increased self-esteem for young LGBTQIA+ people, due to a kind, inclusive environment with non-judgemental peers.

Research proves that accepting behaviors by peers and adults such as respect, support, and kindness, can positively impact autistic LGBTQIA+ young people as evidenced by higher self-esteem, better overall health, and a belief that they will be healthy, happy adults.

Cheers to a happy Autism Acceptance Month!

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Courageous Love

Courageous Love

By: Sarah Bruce

February is here, hearkening the return of red and pink greeting cards, heart-shaped boxes of chocolates, and ads depicting cisgender individuals in heterosexual relationships gazing, love-struck, into each other’s eyes. Valentine’s Day shines a glaring spotlight on romantic relationships, which can evoke a wide range of emotions among LGBTQIA+ people, from excitement to dread. While many LGBTQIA+ people enjoy celebrating Valentine’s Day with loved ones, others may avoid celebrating due to implicit or explicit pressure about what their love and relationships “should” look like. For members of the LGBTQIA+ community, the ability to love in a way that feels healthy and fulfilling often means finding the courage to defy societal norms and expectations.

LGBTQIA+ relationships are strong, genuine, and incredibly diverse. For example, an LGBTQIA+ person may find love and joy in a romantic relationship with someone of the same or a different gender. This relationship may or may not include a physical component. Another LGBTQIA+ person may not experience romantic feelings toward others and may find meaning and contentment in platonic relationships with loved ones. Further, someone who is questioning their gender identity or sexual orientation may not know which types or aspects of relationships feel enjoyable. There are many ways for LGBTQIA+ people to experience love and relationships, and all are valid and deserving of respect.

Consider spending this Valentine’s Day investing in relationships in a way that feels meaningful and brave by prioritizing what brings you and your loved ones joy over societal expectations. If you are an LGBTQIA+ person, loving courageously may mean spending time with a romantic partner,  getting together with friends, volunteering in the community, or improving your relationship with yourself by engaging in self-care. If you are an ally, exemplify bravery by telling an LGBTQIA+ friend or family member that you will always love and support them and their relationships. You may also find the courage to highlight stories and images of LGBTQIA+ people and relationships in your celebrations with others this Valentine’s Day to make sure everyone feels included. Loving courageously on Valentine’s Day is not about expressing love the “right” way, but rather being brave enough to love your way.