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Supporting LGBTQIA+ Students

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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.”

This month, join free SDCOE virtual learning sessions to better understand how to support LGBTQIA+ students.

You can also see an SDCOE contingent of about 100 employees and their loved ones marching in the San Diego Pride Parade on July 16 this year.

"We hope to use this opportunity to increase awareness and visibility around the LGBTQIA+ community and our ongoing commitment to promote safe and affirming school spaces for students, families, and educators that focuses on intersectional diversity, acceptance, and unconditional support for our LGBTQIA+ students, families, and educators," shared Ebonee Weathers, SDCOE district advisor, equity. 

The San Diego County Board of Education is set to adopt a resolution again this year proclaiming June as LGBTQIA+ Pride Month at its June 8 meeting. View the 2021 resolution. The observance is celebrated in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. 

Resources to Support LGBTQIA+ Students

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.  

SDCOE's LGBTQIA+ guide for parents and the community explores the importance of inclusivity in schools and shares local resources for students and families. 

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.

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.

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 and/or 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

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.

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More to explore

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Shadiera Ruoss greets participants at the Careers in Education Job Fair. 

School districts and charter schools in North County will be hiring for a variety of teaching and non-teaching positions at a special Careers in Education Job Fair July 23 at the North County Regional Education Center, 255 Pico Ave. in San Marcos.

Adrian, Monarch Student at Board of Education meeting

The JCCS student representatives on the San Diego County Board of Education for June was Adrian, a junior at Monarch School. Adrian was recognized by the Monarch School staff for his kindness and generosity he shows to everyone around him.