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LGBTQIA/Gender Identity Services

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The purpose of this page is to provide school site and district resources and support to meet the needs of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth and families.

See below for information and resources sections for:

Experiences of LGBTIA Youth

Statistics

According to CDC Stats "Youth Risk Behavior Survey 2017"

  • 2% of HS students in US identify as transgender
  • 27% feel unsafe at school or traveling to or from campus
  • 35% are bullied at school
  • 35% attempted suicide

LGB students reported a significantly higher prevalence of being bullied at school compared to their peers, including experiencing electronic bullying, being forced to have sexual intercourse, and experiencing physical and/or sexual dating violence. LGB students reported significantly higher rates than their straight peers of current use of common drugs such as cigarettes, alcohol, and marijuana, and were significantly more likely to report having ever used drugs that are much less commonly used by straight adolescents, such as heroin and methamphetamines. The data also indicates a higher prevalence of adverse outcomes such as hopelessness and suicide-related behaviors. (View the publication "Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Adolescents".)

LGBTQ+ youth are 3-7 times more likely to engage in sex to meet their basic needs (survival sex) compared to non-LGBTQ+ youth.  When the youth is under the age of 18, this is a form of exploitation and the youth is automatically considered a victim of sex trafficking. (International Organization for Adolescents "Trafficking of LGBTQ+Youth - Pride 2018")

 

What is an ally?

An ally is someone who speaks out and stands up for a person or group that is targeted and that experiences discrimination. In the words of the agency GLSEN, "an ally works to end oppression by supporting and advocating for people who are stigmatized, discriminated against or treated unfairly. For the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) communities, an ally is any person who supports and stands up for the rights of LGBT people."

Anti-LGBT bias affects not just members of LGBT communities, but it also affects other members of the school community. Anti-LGBT behavior creates a hostile environment and an uncomfortable and unsafe space for everyone.

An ally can be a family member, friend, and even staff at school. Research shows that having supportive school staff has a positive effect on a student’s educational experience.

If you are interested in learning more about how to become an ally to LGBT individuals and communities, see the Safe Space Kit or the GLSEN website.

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Student and Youth Information

If you've ever wondered if you're gay, lesbian, or bisexual, you're not alone. Many teens ask themselves this question. It is a normal part of life.

Maybe you've been attracted to someone of the same gender or you may have even kissed or had other sexual contact with someone of the same sex. But sexual behavior is not always the same as sexual orientation. Sexual orientation develops as you grow and experience new things. It may take time to figure it all out.

So don't worry if you're not sure. If over time your attraction to members of the same sex continues to grow, it's not a bad thing, it's just who you are.

Read the information on the webpage Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Teens: Facts for Teens and Their Parents to find helpful information as you discover more about yourself, your friends, and your place in the world. There also is information on the webpage and on this website that may help your parents understand you better.

Support for LGBTQIA youth

Rainbow Community center offers counseling services to youth for free or at a low cost. They also accept payments from Medi-Cal. Counseling services are available during daytime and evening hours with offices in East and Central county. To request services, please call RCC's counseling line at (925) 692-2056. 

For youth services, Operation Q operates every Thursday, Friday and Saturday afternoon at the center's Concord offices. The program includes support groups, events, drop-in hours and one-on-one support and mentoring. For more information, contact RCC's Youth Director, Alpha Mulugeta, MSW at (925) 692-0090.

Rainbow Community Center
2118 Willow Pass Road, Ste 500 Concord CA 94519
(925) 692-0090

The It Gets Better Project features its Stories page, where you'll be able to see the thousands of It Gets Better© videos shared with us, along with original content series! Their hope is that the diversity of our community inspires and empowers you. You are not alone!

Want to make a lasting difference in your school? GLSEN is proud to support student organizers in schools across the country. As a student, you have the power to make change in many ways in your school and community. If you need some ideas for inspiring GSA meetings, some information to provide to teachers, or suggestions for events to engage the entire student body, GLSEN's Student Action webpage has resources to help make your GSA an awesome club and a safe space for LGBT youth and their allies. 

Below are the existing GSA clubs at our high schools:

College Park (Advisor: Dylan Bland)

Concord (Advisor: Gabrielle Murphy)

Northgate (Advisor: Lauren Lahey)

Ygnacio Valley (Advisor: Sasha Robinson)

 

 Rainbow Community Center     gender spectrum

Resources

Text/Call Crisis/Resource Support

Legal Support


 

Parent and family information

What impact can family support have on LGBT youth?

According to the Family Acceptance Project, the average age that youth realized they were gay was a little over age 13. Many of them knew they were gay at even younger ages, such as age 7 or 9. Between 2-7% of adults are lesbian, gay or bisexual (LGB).

Young adults whose parents and foster parents supported their gay or transgender identity had better overall health, and mental health. School sites can refer family members or foster parents of a youth who identifies as LGBT who would like to learn more about how to support them to the Family Acceptance Project handbook, and to the Family Acceptance Project website.

Rainbow Community Center offers counseling services for families for free or at a low cost. They also accept payments from Medi-Cal. Counseling services are available during daytime and evening hours with offices in East and Central county. To request services, please call RCC's counseling line at (925) 692-2056. 

RCC also has a new support group, "Parents & Caregivers of Transgender/Gender Nonconforming Children", where parents and caregivers meet for peer support while children participate in a supervised, age-appropriate activity group (siblings are also welcome to attend the children's group). The support group meets the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of each month from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at the RCC office.

Rainbow Community Center
2118 Willow Pass Road, Ste 500 Concord CA 94519
(925) 692-0090

PFLAG Claycord meets at 7 PM on the third Tuesday of each month at Clayton Valley Presbyterian Church. Families, friends and allies are welcome to come and share stories and take action to support the LGBTQ+ community in Concord, Clayton and surrounding areas.
 

Quick tips for supporting LGBTQIA youth - and yourself - during the coming-out process (PFLAG)

When a loved one comes out, reactions vary, from “Now that I know, what can I do to support my child?” to “How will I ever handle this?” For some people, it’s a combination of these two reactions…and more. There is no doubt that people have different and potentially complex responses and feelings to a loved one coming out...and this is absolutely normal

Here, then, are some tips from PFLAG on how to support your child or loved one, while making sure that you also get the support you need.

Tips for Supporting Your LGBTQ Child or Loved One:

  • Lead with love. For some, this will be the natural response. For others, long-held beliefs may get in the way of being able to respond positively and supportively. As best as you can, however, remember this: No matter how easy or difficult learning about your child’s sexual orientation or gender identity is for you, it probably was difficult for them to come out to you. And, while saying “I love you” is one obvious way to express your love for your child, if you find yourself at a loss for words, as many of us do sometimes, a hug can speak volumes.
  • Listen with intention. Give your child ample opportunity to open up and share their thoughts and feelings. Whether they want to talk about their hopes for the future, or a situation that happened in school or at work that day, the prospect for open discussion is endless. If you have a sense that your loved one might want to talk, but isn’t doing so on their own, a gentle open-ended question, such as, “How did things go at school/work/church” today, can open the door to dialogue.
  • Show subtle support. If overt support is a stretch at first, remember that subtle support can also make a difference. Whether it’s speaking positively about an LGBTQ person you know, or a character from a movie or television show; reflecting out loud about gender or sexualiy issues surfacing in the news; or openly reading and sharing new learning about gender or sexual diversity, these small hints let kids know that you are supportive and understanding.
  • Learn the terms. What is sexual orientation? What does it mean to be “bisexual”? Learning the language is a great way to start having important and sometimes challenging conversations. Of course, like every other human on the planet, you will likely make a few mistakes along the way--and that’s okay! Own it, apologize, move on, and work to do better next time. Visit pflag.org/glossary to get started.

Tips for self-support:

  • Remember that you’re not alone. According to the Williams Institute, there are more than eight million self-identified LGB people in the U.S., and approximately 1.4 million people who identify as transgender. Other research shows that eight in ten people in the U.S. personally know someone who is LGB, and one in three people know someone who is transgender. In other words, although it may not appear so, there are LGBTQ people everywhere, and there are supportive families and allies everywhere, too. You are not alone in this process.
  • Remember that your feelings are valid. There is no one way to react to learning that your child or a loved one is LGBTQ. Some feel happy that their child opened up to them, relief that they know more about their child and can support them, or joy that their child is confident in their self-awareness. Others may have more difficult or complex emotions, such as fear, guilt, sadness, or even anger. These are all normal feelings…and you may experience some or all of them simultaneously.
  • Remember that this is a journey. While you want to express your love for your child as quickly as you can (see Tip 1 at the top!), remember that you are in a process; addressing your reaction and moving forward will take time. It is okay to be okay immediately, or okay not to be okay overnight. Take the time you need to explore these feelings.
  • Remember that you’re important. Self-care is crucial, which means that even as you are learning how best to support your child or loved one, you must also find support for YOU. Whether you feel isolated or nervous—or interested and excited to connect with other families—it’s important not only to find and talk to people who have gone through what you’re going through, but to have information and resources at your fingertips right when you need them. Visit pflag.org to find a local meeting and helpful resources.

Additional Resources​​​​​​​

Legal Support

Documents

 


 

School and Educator Support

Please contact Sandra Wohali, Administrator, School and Community Services, at the information at the bottom of the page if you would like to request a training at your site, or if you would like to be a site liaison. Sandy can also assist with questions regarding the Gender Support Plan at the bottom of this section.

Curriculum and Educator Guides

How can I be a supportive ally to LGBT youth?

How do I discuss bullying, gender roles or family diversity with elementary students? 

How can I include positive representations of LGBT people in the curriculum? 

How do I inspire my students to be kind and speak up when they see bullying?

GLSEN has resources that address these topics and much more. Take a moment to watch the video and explore GLSEN's educator guides and lessons to support your curriculum and practices. If you find a resource that you like, download and use it, then share with colleagues.  

A Safe Space

In addition, educators can strive to make their school environment a Safe Space. A Safe Space is a welcoming, supportive and safe environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) students. GLSEN’s National School Climate Survey, a biennial survey of LGBT secondary school students, shows that school is not always a safe place for LGBT students. Most LGBT students frequently hear anti-LGBT language and experience harassment related to their sexual orientation and gender expression, and the majority of LGBT students feel unsafe at school and are likely to skip class or even full days of school to avoid the anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment they face on a daily basis. But educators can make a big difference! For many students, simply knowing that allies exist can be a source of support. Research shows that LGBT students with many supportive educators feel safer at school, skip fewer classes, and earn higher grades than students without supportive educators. By using the Safe Space Kit, you can become one of these supportive educators.

Safe Space symbolThe Safe Space symbol is a combination of the LGBT pride flag and the gay pink triangle and lesbian black triangle. The history of the pink and black triangles began in Nazi Germany during World War II. Each prisoner in the concentration camps wore some symbol, often a colored inverted triangle to designate their reason for incarceration. The pink triangle was for homosexual men. The black triangles were used to designate prisoners with “antisocial” behavior, including lesbians. In the 1970s, gay liberation groups resurrected the pink triangle as a symbol for the gay rights movement. Similarly, the black triangle was reclaimed by lesbians and feminists. The LGBT pride flag, or the rainbow flag, first appeared in 1978, when it was flown during the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Freedom Day Parade. The San Francisco artist Gilbert Baker designed the rainbow flag in response to a need for a symbol that could be used year after year. The different colors of the flag symbolize different components of the community: red for life, orange for healing, yellow for sun, green for nature, blue for art, and purple for spirit. A black stripe added at the bottom symbolizes a hope for victory over AIDS. GLSEN combined both of these potent symbols — the triangles and the pride flag — for the Safe Space symbol displayed on the stickers and posters. 

Additional Resources

Documents

 


 

Contact Us

For assistance, questions or comments:

Sandra Wohali
Administrator, School and Community Services
wohalis@mdusd.org

at Olympic High School
2730 Salvio St
Concord, CA 94519

(925) 682-8000 x3094
Fax (925) 566-6692