Tools & Affirmations for Outspoken Allies
Commit to being an outspoken ally for LGBTQ+ youth.
Healthier Generation and our partners at Kohl’s encourage you to be an outspoken ally for LGBTQ+ youth by creating opportunities to tell and show young people that they are loved and appreciated for exactly who they are. In doing so, you could save a life.
Youth who are LGBTQ+ identifying are more likely than their heterosexual peers to experience bullying, harassment, and rejection from family and peers. These experiences negatively impact the mental health and wellness of LGBTQ+ youth and lead to higher risks of mental and physical health concerns, including substance use and suicide.
Fortunately, research shows us that caring adults and supportive environments can have a huge positive impact on the lives of all youth, especially LGBTQ+ youth.
As Keygan Miller, advocacy manager at The Trevor Project, says, “Creating a space that is LGBTQ-affirming is not only the right thing to do, it also can significantly impact the mental health and well-being of LGBTQ young people.”
The first step in showing up as a supportive adult is encouraging positive self-image and showing unconditional positive regard for the youth in your life. To inspire you, we asked colleagues and school leaders to share words of affirmation that they needed to hear as a young person. Here’s what they had to say:
This Pride Month, what advice would you give your childhood self about love and acceptance?
“Although it feels like you’re alone a lot, you’ll grow up to have a beautiful network of kind, caring, authentic friends who love you for being uniquely you.” – Daniel H., Washington, D.C.
“Extend yourself the same love and acceptance that you give to others. I believe we can’t fully, unconditionally love all beings until we find that peace within ourselves.” – Nicole D., Oregon
“Have the courage to be authentic and open to the possibility of acceptance.” – Kathy H., North Carolina
“Dear Young Melissa, Happy Pride! Congratulations! You win! You recognize that the life model of marrying the boy next door and living in a home with a white picket fence doesn’t fit. Know that you are loved fully as you are now. Don’t worry about disappointing others. Show up fully being YOU! Your friends, family, chosen family, church, and peers want to know you. They will guide you and offer gentle call-ins to support you as you discern your true self. Take pride in being you!” – Melissa C., Washington
“Love and acceptance starts from within. It is a journey, so be patient with yourself. But when the self-love and self-acceptance happens, the love and acceptance from others is the bonus, not the prize.” – Heather V., Virginia
“Always be kind to others and take the high road, you will never regret it! Do not compare or judge yourself against others, you are good enough! Only judge yourself against what you are capable of doing and challenge yourself to be the best version of you!” – Terry A., Missouri
“Hey little Theater Kid – your community is out there. They are creative and accepting, and full of life. They are going to have your back, and you’ll get to be there for them in big ways, too. You’ll find them sooner than you think, so open your heart and be ready!” – Koh A., California
Further your learning to support LGBTQ+ youth
Build on your understanding of issues facing young people and strategies to support them with evidence-based resources from Kohl’s Healthy at Home and our partners at The Trevor Project:
- Use the Mapping Your Identity blog post and worksheet at home or in school to help young people express themselves and see how the many parts of their identities fit together.
- Learn strategies you can use as a family member or educator for Keeping Students Safe from Bullying at home and at school.
- A Guide to Being an Ally to Transgender and Nonbinary Youth from The Trevor Project
- Creating Safer Spaces in Schools for LGBTQ Youth from The Trevor Project
- How to Support Bisexual Youth from The Trevor Project
- 2022 National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health from The Trevor Project