Supporting LGBTQIA+ Students
As the community comes together to celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual, plus (LGBTQIA+) Pride Month, the San Diego County Office of Education (SDCOE) continues to create supports for LGBTQIA+ students and community members, and expand and strengthen partnerships through this month and beyond.
SDCOE's goal is to help educators cultivate positive and safe school environments that empower youth with the confidence and knowledge needed to succeed every day.
“SDCOE is committed to safety, inclusion, representation, and affirmation for all students,” said San Diego County Superintendent of Schools Dr. Paul Gothold. “Research that shows that a hostile school climate affects students’ academic success and mental health, and that LGBTQIA+ students who experience victimization and discrimination at school have worse educational outcomes and poorer psychological well-being. It’s up to us to offer resources and supports to promote a positive learning experience.”
Resources to Support LGBTQIA+ Students
The SDCOE LGBTQIA+ Youth page has resources and information for supporting students, including answers on trending topics such as bathrooms and other school facilities, and books and instructional materials. It also addresses questions such as "Are there any laws regarding instruction about LGBTQIA+ individuals or topics?" and "Is talking about LGBTQIA+ issues the same as sex education?" under the LGBTQIA+ Topics and Sex Education in the Classroom section.
San Diego County Community Resource
The LGBTQ+ Youth Standards of Care was created by the San Diego LGBT Community Leadership Council’s Youth Services Committee under the leadership of San Diego Pride, the SD LGBT Community Center, The North County LGBTQ Resource Center, and Trans Family Services. It outlines best practices and relevant resources that reflect and comply with California Education Code and laws.
Creating Welcoming and Safe Campuses
The SDCOE Equity Blueprint for Action provides actionable steps for improving educational outcomes for three student groups: African American, American Indian, and Latinx. This document highlights community- and research-informed practices common among the three communities, as well as actions and recommendations that when applied can positively impact all students.
The County Office of Education facilitated an LGBTQIA+ Student Experience Panel last year where students from across San Diego County shared their experiences in local schools. The students asked that schools be mindful of language, pursue inclusive sex education curriculum, actively use preferred pronouns, celebrate LGBTQIA+ history and contributions, and do so with cultural humility and professional curiosity. Watch the full panel conversation with local LGBTQIA+ youth.
Mental Health Matters
According to the latest Trevor Project survey of LGBTQIA youth across the nation, an estimated 41% of those surveyed seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year.
LGBTQ young people are not inherently prone to suicide risk because of their sexual orientation or gender identity but rather placed at higher risk because of how they are mistreated and stigmatized in society.
The Trevor Project
Find resources to support student mental wellness including trainings on youth mental health, bullying prevention, suicide prevention and awareness, as well as a virtual wellness center, on the SDCOE Health and Well-Being webpage.
Take Action for Mental Health offers resources to check-in, learn more, and find support, including, Showing Up for Yourself and Your 2SLGBTQIA+ Community, Celebrating and Supporting 2SLGBTQIA+ Youth Wellness, and How to Find a 2SLGBTQIA+ Affirming Therapist.
Celebrating LGBTQIA+ History
LGBTQIA+ History Month is recognized in October, but many of the tools and resources gathered in this SDCOE guide are helpful for educators looking for ways to support students.
Community Programs for Students and Families
Our Safe Place
Our Safe Place is a collaborative program with San Diego Youth Services, South Bay Community Services, and the YMCA of San Diego County, with each partner providing a drop-in center and mental health services for LGBTQIA+ youth up to age 21.
- SDYS Central Drop-in Center – 2220 Broadway, San Diego, CA 92102
- TMCA North Inland Drop-in Center – 1050 N. Broadway, Escondido, CA 92026
- YMCA North County Drop-in Center – 215 Barnes St., Oceanside, CA 92054
- SBCS South Drop-in Center – 746 Ada St., Chula Vista, VA 92911
Hillcrest Youth Center
The Hillcrest Youth Center offers a drop-in and recreation center where LGBTQIA+ youth and allies can feel safe and welcomed and access resources they need. The Youth Center is located at 1807 Robinson Ave, Suite 106 in San Diego, and at 1180 Third Avenue, Suite C1 in Chula Vista. Contact HYC@thecentersd.org and/or email@example.com for programming information.
The Gender Phluid Collective
The Gender Phluid Collective provides support for Black/People of Color in the LGBTQIA+ community in San Diego with a focus on transgender, gender nonconforming (GNC), and nonbinary (enby) youth and adults. Call 858-255-0279 for more information.
Transforming Family is a San Diego-based family support group which meets once a month and provides a supportive environment for families with gender diverse children and adolescents, and gives parents the chance to share their challenges, questions, and resources. Separate peer-support groups are offered for teens as well as a playgroup for young children.
Trans Family Support Services
Trans Family Support Services in San Diego County helps transgender/nonbinary youth and their families through the gender transitioning process, including family coaching, assistance with healthcare and insurance issues, help navigating the legal system, and support at schools provided.
North County LGBTQ Resource Center
The North County LGBTQ Resource Center serves the LGBTQ community of North County San Diego. The resource center supports, builds, educates, and improves the relationships of the LGBTQ community including friends and allies. Its Project Youth program supports LGBTQ youth between the ages of 9-25.
More to explore
Rocky Herron spent years taking down drug traffickers, seizing methamphetamine and illicit pills coming across the border and investigating doctors who wrote prescriptions in exchange for money.
Now he talks to schoolchildren.
SDCOE is hosting a series of community forums starting in January to get input from parents, students, and other educational partners that will help guide the development of the Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) for its Juvenile Court and Community Schools (JCCS) and its Special Education school, Friendship.
Canyon Crest Academy senior Aaron Combs was one of two high school students selected to represent California in the 62nd annual United States Senate Youth Program (USSYP).
SDCOE recently received a Golden Bell award for a suicide intervention toolkit to help educators support students with effective intervention.
The San Diego County Board of Education is accepting online applications for student board members now through Feb. 1 on the SDCOE student board member webpage.
The Juvenile Court and Community Schools student representative on the San Diego County Board of Education for November was M’Niya, a senior at San Pasqual Academy.