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Pride Month

Pride Month 2023 Recap 495 401 cj

Pride Month 2023 Recap

Pride Month 2023 Recap

By Jay Baldwin

Pride Month is always exciting for Kaleidoscope, and this June was no exception, as we proudly participated in numerous pride events across Los Angeles. (And in case you missed our last post about the History of Pride Month, or want to learn more about why the LGBTQ+ community celebrates Pride every year, click here!)

But how exactly did we celebrate pride and drum up support for the LGBTQ+ community? Let’s get into it.

Kaleidoscope at Weho Pride

We kicked off Pride Month at WeHo Pride on June 3th, where Pride has been celebrated since 1979. WeHo pride is considered one of the largest pride events in the country, boasting tens of thousands of individuals from the LGBTQ+ community as well as their allies. Despite the fact that 2023 has seen some of the highest number of anti-LGBTQ+ bills of the past few years, I was struck by the fact that still, our community showed up to shout, cheer, chant, celebrate and not back down.

As an organization that serves LGBTQ+ youth, I was particularly moved by families with children who approached our booth, showed support, sought out resources for the LGBTQ+ young people in their lives, and took away our rainbow themed give aways with smiles on their faces. LGBTQ+ youth are under significant attack right now in the U.S., and the power of affirming parents and caregivers to change and save these young lives cannot be overstated.

Kaleidoscope at LA Pride & Beyond

The celebration continued at LA Pride on June 11th. We were truly honored to be a beneficiary of Cheer LA’s fundraising for the third year in a row and to march alongside them in the LA Pride Parade. Cheer LA is an active group of volunteers seeking to promote awareness, spirit, and diversity in the LGBTQ+ community through dynamic cheer, dance, and stunt performances, and we were honored to receive a generous donation from their fundraising efforts.

We continued to celebrate and bring awareness to our program by taking part in San Fernando Valley Pride on June 24. This was a smaller pride event geared toward building up and spreading awareness of the ever-growing LGBTQ+ community in San Fernando Valley. It was amazing to see how many LGBTQ+ affirming resources there are in this part of Los Angeles County. We made connections with educators, community leaders, social workers, parents, caregivers and LGBTQ+ youth, and were very excited to see Caroline Menjivar, one of the major sponsors and organizers of this year’s Pride event. Caroline is a California State Senator of the 20th District, a member of the LGBTQ+ community, and an important member of Kaleidoscope’s Advisory Board.

Kaleidoscope’s Pride Month Webcast

And finally, Kaleidoscope took the opportunity to offer our support and guidance to parents and givers of LGBTQ+ youth by providing a pride month webcast on June 21st titled, “Navigating Your Child’s Coming Out Journey Together.” This free webcast offered practical strategies and suggestions for understanding the coming out process for young people, exploring and normalizing common reactions when a child comes out, and learning how to compassionately support you and your child during their coming out process If you missed it or would like to re-watch it, please click HERE for the recording.

While June is the biggest month of celebration in the LGBTQ+ community, Kaleidoscope is proud to affirm our LGBTQ+ and neurodiverse young people all year long. If you or someone you know are seeking resources, support or just have questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected].

Here is to being affirmed, seen and loved, today and every day.

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Celebrating Pride Month 2023

Celebrating Pride Month 2023

By Leo Kirkham and Jay Baldwin

Pride Month is a time to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community and all that we have accomplished. It is also a time to raise awareness of the challenges that LGBTQIA+ people still face.

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 against 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.

The first Pride parade was held on June 28, 1970 in New York City to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall riots. It was organized by “Mother of Pride,” Brenda Howard, a bisexual rights activist and feminist.

The second Pride parades were held in 1971 in various cities in the United States, including New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles.

The Stonewall Riots sparked a movement that has grown into a global celebration of love, acceptance, and diversity. Today, Pride Month is a time for LGBTQ+ people and allies to come together, celebrate their identities, and continue fighting for equality.

This year, Pride Month is particularly important because of the recent wave of anti-LGBTQIA+ legislation that has been passed in the United States. These laws have made it more difficult for LGBTQIA+ people to live their lives freely and openly.

In light of these challenges, it is more important than ever to celebrate Pride Month and to show support for the LGBTQIA+ community. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Attend a Pride parade or festival, such as WeHo Pride or LA Pride.
  • Donate to LGBTQIA+ organizations, such as Kaleidoscope.
  • Talk to your friends and family about LGBTQIA+ issues.
  • Use your voice to speak out against discrimination.
  • Ask your workplace to host an LGBTQ competency training.

If you aren’t out yet, don’t feel ready to come out, or maybe it’s not safe for you to be your authentic self with your family or friends, please know that you are not alone. There are many ways to acknowledge pride month, take part in pride events, or engage in a form of self care that honors your authentic self. There is no right or wrong way to be during Pride Month. Here are a few things we suggest trying out if you want to have a pride celebration privately, are just getting started in your journey, or just want a quieter activity.

Kaleidoscope is proud to affirm our LGBTQ+ community, especially our LGBTQ+ young people. If you do feel safe and ready to be part of a pride event in person, come celebrate with us on June 23rd from 6-8PM at our annual Pride Party in Sherman Oaks for LGBTQ+ youth ages 11-17. RSVP here!

From all of us at Kaleidoscope, wishing you a safe, heathy and joyous pride month, no matter how you choose to celebrate.

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

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…

What Pride Means to Me 495 401 cj

What Pride Means to Me

What Pride Means to Me

What Pride Means to Me

By Jay Baldwin

First Time Seeing Myself Represented In A Movie

I remember the first movie I ever saw that featured two queer characters. I was 19 years old, away at college for the first time, and not yet out except to a couple of high school friends back home. I went to the local video store in my small college town, a popular place at the time when the world was years away from streaming services. In a small corner towards the back, I saw a display with a small sign that said “Gay and Lesbian Films”, featuring about 20 movies, mostly VHS, and a couple of DVDs. I was secretly elated, but also afraid. I looked around my shoulder several times, wondering if anyone was going to see me looking at the “gay” movies, worried they would know my secret. But somehow, I mustered up my courage, scrounged up $1.50 from my wallet, and rented “The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love.”

My Journey Toward Self-Acceptance

I kept returning to that video store that year, and the year after. By the time I graduated college I had rented nearly every movie on that shelf until I had seen some of them twice. I watched the collection grow even bigger, and at some point, I stopped looking over my shoulder when I chose my movie off the shelf and went up to the register to pay. Some of the stories deeply moved me. Some of them were downright bad. But even all these years later, the feeling I experienced is one I believe is universal to all people in the LGBTQIA+ community.  It is powerful to see oneself represented in the media, to have a mirror that reflects back an important and valuable part of one’s identity. Knowing that there were people out there who felt like me, looked like me, and had the same desire to be seen as valued members of the LGBTQIA+ community was an integral part of my journey to accepting myself, and being able to embrace my identity.

Pride Month

As Pride Month approaches, streaming services like Netflix and HULU will begin showing their “Pride Collections”, a diverse array of TV Shows, Movies and Documentaries that show a multitude of stories and characters who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community. There are more stories about the LGBTQIA+ community at our fingertips than ever before. And I also know all across our country, there are so many LGBTQIA+ young people still looking over their shoulder as I once did, wondering if it’s safe to be themselves, looking for stories that represent them.

What Pride Means To Me

To me, Pride means being known for our beautiful, complex, and nuanced LGBTQIA+ identities and where we are in our journeys. Pride means being represented. Pride means sharing our stories so that others may know they are not alone. So, to everyone in our community: Whether you aren’t ready or able to come out yet, you’ve just come out, or you’ve been out and proud for years – I see you, I know you, and I am glad you are here.

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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.

July Blog 2021 feature Image of a university with a multiple rainbow flags and a transgender flag
LGBTQIA Friendly Colleges 495 400 cj

LGBTQIA Friendly Colleges

July Blog 2021 Header Image of a university with a rainbow flag

LGBTQIA Friendly Colleges

For many neurodivergent and neurotypical high school students, the college application process is an overwhelming one. Many soon-to-be graduating highschoolers worry that there is only one school that they are truly meant to attend. But that is a myth,  and “dream” schools simply do not exist. The reality is that most students, depending on how they choose to spend their time, can receive an excellent education by attending almost any college or university.

For neurotypical and neurodivergent LGBTQIA+ high school students, however, it is important to choose a college where they can feel safe and supported on campus. With a few exceptions, such as all-women’s colleges and HBCU’s (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), most colleges try to appeal to students who identify as cisgender and heterosexual. This is why LGBTQIA+ students — and any student with a queered identity — should consider whether or not the colleges on their list have histories of supporting the marginalized identities within their student body. Many colleges and universities now have implemented LGBTQIA+ inclusive policies and programs such as:

  • Clear non-discrimination policies in place.
  • A vibrant LGBTQIA+ student life.
  • Academic options for LGBTQIA+ classes and majors.
  • Gender-inclusive housing and restrooms.
  • LGBTQIA+ specific health care options.
  • Active campus safety trainings and procedures.

LGBTQIA+ supportive policies have helped many college campuses to become safe environments for LGBTQIA+ students to exist, learn, and grow. Still, some institutions offer LGBTQIA+ students more support than others. One way to find out about a college’s relationship with LGBTQIA+ students is by looking at their Pride Rating.  

Campus Pride, one of the leading nonprofit organizations working to create LGBTQ-friendly learning environments at colleges and universities, operates a database called the Campus Pride Index. This website can serve as an assessment tool for LGBTQIA+ students as they search for the campus they want to attend. It’s search criteria include the usuals — state, type, size, locale — with one important addition: a Pride Rating, on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Campus Pride’s research group considers 8 factors when determining a schools Pride Rating, which are as follows:

  1. LGBTQ Policy Inclusion
  2. LGBTQ Support & Institutional Commitment
  3. LGBTQ Academic Life
  4. LGBTQ Student Life
  5. LGBTQ Housing
  6. LGBTQ Campus Safety
  7. LGBTQ Counseling & Health
  8. LGBTQ Recruitment and Retention Efforts.

Based on the presence or absence of these factors, a school is ‘ranked’ on a scale of 1 to 5 stars to indicate whether or not they have a history of supporting LGBTQIA+ students with policy, practice, and resource allocation. Being informed about which colleges are supporting the needs of LGBTQIA+ students can definitely help you narrow your choices.

If you are attending a college that has a high Pride Rating, let us know so we can share that information with our Kaleidoscope community. You can DM us on Instagram at kaleidoscopelgbtq or tweet us at @KaleidoscopeLGBTQ

We hope that everyone in the LGBTQIA+ community has the opportunity to attend a college where LGBTQIA+ students feel safe, welcomed, and valued to allow for a college experience that is positive and rewarding.

June 2021 Blog feature image of two multi-colored hand-drawn rainbows
Dual Spectrums: ASD & LGBTQIA+ 495 400 cj

Dual Spectrums: ASD & LGBTQIA+

June 2021 Blog header image of two multi-colored hand-drawn rainbows
Dual Spectrums

Individuals on the Autism Spectrum Are More Likely to Identify as LGBTQIA+

Did you know that June is Pride Month for the LGBTQIA+ community and that June 18th is Autistic Pride Day as well? Pride Month for the LGBTQIA+ community happens in the US in June to commemorate the Stonewall uprising which occurred at the end of June 1969. Now many pride events are held during June to recognize the impact LGBTQIA+ people have had on the world. Autistic Pride Day is a pride celebration for autistic people held on June 18 each year. Autistic Pride recognizes the importance of pride for autistic people and its role in bringing about positive changes in the broader society. Why are these two celebrations of Pride particularly important and interesting? It’s because individuals on the autism spectrum are more likely to identify as LGBTQIA+.

New research around the intersection/overlap between ASD and transgender/ gender-nonconformity is a relatively new area of study, but there’s enough evidence to show that this is a growing community in need of a safe space. At The Help Group, there’s a new program in place called Kaleidoscope, which serves neurodivergent and neurotypical LGBTQIA+ youth and young adults, as well as their families, in developing self-acceptance, mental health stability, strong social connections, and resiliency. The program provides affirming support and a community where all are welcome and everyone belongs.

Gender, like autism, exists on a spectrum. Recent research has suggested that individuals who identify as autistic or as having autism traits are more likely to identify as LGBTQIA+.

Nationwide, one in 54 children are diagnosed with autism, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And while 4.5 percent of Americans identified as part of the LGBTQ community, according to a Gallup Daily tracking survey, research and those in the autism community report much higher rates of people with autism who also are LGBTQIA+ than in the neurotypical population. Here are some interesting research findings on the overlap:


  • General population: 4-5%
  • Autistic population: 15-35%


  • Identifying as trans/nonbinary is higher in autistic folks assigned female at birth
  • Autistic folks assigned female at birth more likely to identify as bi-sexual or asexual


  • 4% of general population identify as trans/nonbinary
  • Trans identity is 3-6% higher in autistic folks
  • Even higher when looking at gender-nonconforming folks
  • In the US, 6.5% of autistic teens and 11% of autistic adults did not feel comfortable with their sex assigned at birth, compared with just 3 to 5 percent of the general population
  • In Netherlands 15% of autistic adults identify as trans/nonbinary
  • A 2018 Australian survey of trans teens & young adults found 22% had been diagnosed with autism, compared with 2.5% of cisgender Australian teens and young adults
  • Some experts estimate that 6 to 25.5 percent of gender-nonconforming folks are autistic

Research in this subject is relatively new. So it’s too early to speculate on possible reasons why there is a correlation, but some experts believe that social experiences are likely a main component. Compared with neurotypical people, autistic people may be less influenced by social norms and so may present their internal selves more authentically. There are a few other theories that experts are looking into as well.

What does this mean for clinicians and caregivers?

Continued research is important. It helps mental health professionals, educators, health care professionals, and parents create adequate plans for talking to autistic children about gender, sexuality, and related topics. In addition to more research, experts recommend the following….

  • Screen for ASD at gender clinics
  • Discuss gender identity and sexual orientation during intake with autistic folks
  • Improve screening tools to better identify autism among gender-nonconforming children, just as they need to be adjusted to spot the condition among children assigned female at birth
  • Ensure cross-training between gender clinics and ASD clinics
  • Train clinicians to help autistic clients understand the diversity of gender and work toward an understanding of non-binary systems of gender
  • Provide access to proper sexual education classes/resources

Where do we go from here?

Early research focused on measuring the prevalence of diverse gender identities in the autism community, but we should now be asking how to best to support autistic people who are gender-nonconforming.

If you’re not familiar with The Help Group’s Kaleidoscope program, which launched in 2019, here’s a bit more information on the program – Kaleidoscope supports LGBTQIA+/Questioning and neurodiverse youth, young adults and their families in building healthy relationships, strong social connections and critically needed life skills. Through high quality, innovative programming, using the latest research and evidence-based programs, Kaleidoscope’s mission is to help each person realize their unique potential and thrive! Kaleidoscope offers therapy services, support groups, coaching, and social events.

At The Help Group, we think it is crucial for LGBTQIA+ neurodiverse young people to engage in communities comprised of people who can relate to them and provide a deep sense of validation. And for those family members, allies, and providers of LGBTQIA+ neurodiverse individuals, it is our responsibility to learn how to create a more accepting and safe space for them to thrive. Just as the name indicates, a kaleidoscope is made up of all different colors, shapes, and sizes. When turned slightly, it allows for a new and beautiful perspective to emerge. Kaleidoscope is grounded in the inclusive belief that every young person deserves a great future through the celebration of strengths in differences.

To learn more about the program, visit

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Jeri Rochman, JD, MS

Jeri Rochman, JD, MS, is the Advance LA Director of Community Outreach, a Life Skills Coach, National Board Certified Counselor and Certified Parent Educator. Interested in learning more about Advance LA’s services?

What Pride Means to Me 495 401 cj

What Pride Means to Me

June 2021 Blog Header Image

What Pride Means to Me

Celebrating Pride can look different for each person who stands with the LGBTQIA+ community. Its general sentiment is made visible in the month of June, as parades and festivals exhibit colorful decorations with the rainbow flag as a symbolic representation. Pride-related events such as parades, art exhibits, parties, and media events serve to strengthen the community by providing its members with a marked time and place to unite with a larger body of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Pride events were started to improve the visibility, acceptance, and legal protections of the LGBTQIA+ community. While it may have started with a political nature, many Pride events are now more local celebrations drawing large attendance of members of the LGBTQIA+ community as well as their families and allies.

Those outside of the community may notice the June celebration of Pride because of its decorative and performative elements. These elements such as the floats, dancers, and singers that can be found at the West Hollywood parade contribute to the communal empowerment that takes place at these gatherings. However, as a young queer, I believe there is much more to pride than what can be glimpsed on its surface.

As June approaches, I encourage members of the LGBTQIA+ community of all ages to think deeply about how they practice pride on a personal level. I’m not saying you shouldn’t go to a party and celebrate on a public, communal level. But I am suggesting that the entire community will benefit from each members’ contemplation of what it looks like to act with pride. Though we may overlap, pride looks different for everyone in practice.

For me, pride looks like not being afraid to ask for what I need, whether that be time, space, or to be called something different from what people seem to know me as. For many, pride is what must emerge so we can have the confidence to not allow what others may think to prevent us from living authentically. We can practice pride on an individual level, by accepting our bodies for what they are or altering them in affirmation of what we know ourselves to be. We can practice pride on an interactive level, and by maintaining our dignity, show others how to find their own.

This June, I hope everyone in the LGBTQIA+ community will celebrate Pride by walking joyfully through the world with it. From all of us at Kaleidoscope we wish you Happy Pride!

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Strategies for Supporting LGBTQ+

Strategies for Supporting

LGBTQ+ Young People During A Summer in Quarantine

It is understandable to struggle with feelings of fear and anxiety surrounding the  COVID-19 pandemic, but our LGBTQ+ young people may be especially vulnerable to the impact on their mental health. The emotions that may be expressed include grief, sadness, disappointment and anger – all so relatable!

In addition, while we hope that our LGBTQ+ young people are in loving family homes, the reality is that there are some youth who are in unsupportive environments this summer and experiencing a deep loss of connection with the LGBTQ+ community.

All kids, teens, and young adults deserve trusted and supportive adults in their lives. Whether you are a parent, grandparent, sibling, caregiver, teacher, coach, ally, or friend of an LGBTQ+ young person, you can help! Here are three strategies that can offer support to LGBTQ+ youth this summer.

1. Encourage kids, teens, and young adults to find community online

Just because we are keeping our physical distance from other people doesn’t mean we have to be socially isolated. There is a whole world online where friendships can flourish.

And if a LGBTQ+ young person is living with people who are unable or unwilling to offer support, they can reach out to other family members, allies, friends, teachers, clubs and support groups on-line via Zoom or Skype. Young people can also use Tik Tok and Instagram to connect and build community.

Encourage the LGBTQ+ young people in your life to stay connected online. The Kaleidoscope Program offers free, virtual, weekly programs such as the Pride Club and Creative Expressions Group for 12-17 year olds, as well as a Coffee Chat Group for 18-24 years olds.

If possible, offer a young person a space where they can use their phone or laptop to access safe online groups. Let them know that it shows strength to reach out to others and that you are proud of them for extending their friendship to other young people.

2. Enjoy the great OUTdoors!

Health experts say that it is safe to go outside and it’s completely worth doing so that you can get out of the house, get some exercise, and have some fun.

Invite the LGBTQ+ young person in your life to go on a morning hike when the temperature is lower, or spend the day in the sun at the beach, if it is safe in your area to do so. Spending time with a supportive adult can give a young person the safe space to relax and be themselves. You can discuss LGBTQ current events and allow the young person to process how they feel about what is going on in the world. Or you can just go in the ocean and splash around to your heart’s content. Remember to wear a mask and practice social distancing!

3. Celebrate Pride Month all summer long!

June is the official Pride month but Pride can be celebrated all summer long! Because many Pride celebrations all over the world were cancelled this year, the LGBTQ+ young people in your life may be feeling a deep sense of disappointment. But let them know that you are a safe and supportive ally in their life and that they are deserving of celebrating Pride all summer long.

You can help them order Pride decorations for both inside or outside their home. A google search will result in lots of ideas for fun rainbow craft projects. And if you like to cook, share your interest and teach the young person you care about how to make delicious and fun rainbow themed recipes.

So even though life may feel overwhelming for all of us, the good news is there are ways you can bring joy, fun and pride this summer into the lives of the kids, teens, and young adults who brighten up your life. Best wishes for a great summer from all of us at The Help Group’s Kaleidoscope Program!


For more information