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Resources to Talk to Kids About LGBTQ+ Issues

This page offers clinically reviewed resources for parents, teens, and children around LGBTQ+ issues. Also see our lesson titled “LGBTQ+: Hearing People’s Stories” (member access required) in our lesson library.

Resources for Parents

“Is My Child Too Young to Learn About Being Gay?” (14-min video) from Tim Ramsey the founder of the non-profit Just Like Us, which empowers LGBTQ+ kids in schools. He says, “We know that LGBT young people are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their straight peers; that 1 in 2 self-harm; that 6 in 10 say that it affects their schoolwork. We also know that this is an extremely vulnerable period for young people. The average time between somebody realizing that they’re LGBT and telling someone for the first time is three and a half years. That’s three and a half years a child is trying to fathom out who they are on their own, and that is a journey no child should have to do on their own.” 

Love, No Matter What (23-min video) from gay author Andrew Solomon includes stories about many kinds of children who were initially thought of as less than. He says, “There are people who think that the existence of my family somehow undermines or weakens or damages their family. And there are people who think that families like mine shouldn’t be allowed to exist. And I don’t accept subtractive models of love, only additive ones. And I believe that in the same way that we need species diversity to ensure that the planet can go on, so we need this diversity of affection and diversity of family in order to strengthen the ecosphere of kindness.” 

Our Children (43-page PDF) published by PFLAG is a gathering of resources for families of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and gender-noncomforming youth. In particular, the collection of first-person stories give insight into the experiences of youth coming out and how families can respond with love and support, even when feelings are complex.

Coming Out: Information for Parents of LGBTQ Teens (4-min article) from HealthyChildren.org gives a simple overview that covers all the essential best practices. “Feelings of being ‘different’ emerge throughout childhood, although it may not be clear to the child what the feelings means,” it reads. “Children may begin exploring gender and relationships before kindergarten, so ‘coming out’ and sharing these feelings of being different with others may happen at any time. For many kids, gender identity becomes clear around puberty as they develop gender characteristics and stronger romantic attractions. However, many LGBTQ teens have said, in retrospect, that they began to sense something ‘different’ about themselves early in life, and for gender diverse youth, sometimes as far back as preschool.”

I Think My Child May Be LGBTQ: 6 Things You Can Do Before They Come Out (4-min article) from Today cites experts on the topic. One of them says, “It may seem counter-intuitive but the best thing to do is to wait for your child to open up to you. If asked about their sexual orientation or gender identity before they’re ready to discuss it, your child might shell up, or worse, experience feelings of embarrassment or even shame. The best thing you can do is to make the conversation welcome by creating a warm and safe environment where open communication is the norm.”

Resources For Teens and Children

COMING OUT: A Handbook for LGBTQ Young People (21-page PDF) from The Trevor Project helps LGBTQ+ youth navigate the challenges of coming out. It reads, “After thinking it through, you may decide to be out to yourself, but not to anyone else — and that’s okay. Many people choose not to come out to others for different reasons. You are valid and deserve support no matter who you do or do not share your identities with. This resource is for you to explore how you feel and what choices are right and safe for you.”

The Most Dangerous Year (90-min documentary) follows the 2016 fight to protect transgender children against so-called “bathroom bills” in Washington state and is told from the perspective of a small group of parents who joined together to fight proposed laws that would strip away the rights of their young, transgender children. While not rated, this video is suggested to appropriate for children 12+ due to difficult themes of bigotry and discrimination.

Books on LGBTQ+

Teens

  1. The Gay Rights Movement by Eric Braun
  2. Pride: Celebrating Diversity & Community by Robin Stevenson 
  3. Queer Heros: Meet 53 LGBTQ Heros From Past and Present! By Arbelle Sincardi 
  4. Our Gay History in Fifty States by Zaylore Stout 
  5. Troublemaker for Justice: The Story of Bayard Rustin, the Man Behind the March on Washington by Jacqueline Houtman
  6. Queer, There, and Everywhere by Sarah Prager 

Kids

  1. Stonewall: A Building. An Uprising. A Revolution. by Rob Sanders
  2. Stonewall Riots: Coming Out in the Streets by Gayle E. Pitman
  3. This Day in June by Gayle E. Pitman, illustrated by Kristyna Litten

Littles

  1. A Day of Pride: A Children’s Book that Celebrates Diversity, Equality and Tolerance! By Roy Youldous-Raiss
  2. Love Is Love: An Important LGBTQ Pride Book for Kids About Gay Parents and Diverse Families by Michael Genhart
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