How To Show Support and Love for LGBTQ Youth During the Holidays

by Jose Soto

Showing appreciation, inclusion and support for LGBTQ people, particularly LGBTQ youth, can help them feel better about and during the holidays.

This holiday season, adults should be particularly sensitive and attentive to the needs of LGBTQ young people. 2020 brought unprecedented challenges to each and every one of us, and many of us, including children and teenagers, have given up routines and have been forced to adapt to online and virtual learning, spent time physically away from friends, classmates and teachers and have sacrificed many opportunities for play and exploration.

Many have also been stuck indoors. While social distancing at home with family might seem ideal to many during the holidays, for some LGBTQ folks, it can also be incredibly challenging and even detrimental to their well-being. Our 2018 LGBTQ Youth Report found 67% of LGBTQ youth heard their families make negative comments about LGBTQ people and only 24% report they can “definitely” be themselves as an LGBTQ person at home .

Being in spaces which are not affirming and inclusive of LGBTQ identities can have adverse and irreparable effects. During the holidays, and every single day, it’s apparent that we need to find better ways of supporting LGBTQ youth, particularly at home.

Here are some tips:

  • Literature can help reinforce self-esteem and self-pride. For young children, this is incredibly important for their emotional and psychological development. Take a look at HRC Foundation’s Welcoming Schools’ list of inclusive and identity-affirming books for kids.
  • Much of the holiday break is spent watching TV, so why not watch something that is queer-friendly? For young children, animated shows like “Steven Universe,” which has tackled homophobia, and “Danger & Eggs,” which includes gay fathers and is written by a trans writer, can be both entertaining and inclusive. Other shows include “She-ra and the Princesses of Power,” “DuckTales,” “Arthur” and “Gravity Falls.” For older LGBTQ youth, there are shows such as “AJ and the Queen” and “Love, Victor”. The important part is to sit down with them and watch the shows together to demonstrate support and love.
  • Allow LGBTQ youth to practice self-care. This can mean allowing them time to disengage by listening to their own music, working out, virtually connecting with their friends or taking a walk. LGBTQ youth, and all youth, should be able to explore their own needs and wants by practicing self-affirming activities.
  • For transgender or gender non-conforming youth, it can be stressful to receive a present that doesn’t validate their gender identity. Try purchasing clothes or gifts that are gender-neutral — . pick neutral colors for items such as wallets or phone cases and buy products that affirm their gender identity. Our shop is stocked with items for anyone who wants to show and support LGBTQ pride, even pets!

If you are looking to assure the young LGBTQ person in your life has a safe online space to interact with others, the Trevor Project offers an online affirming community for LGBTQ young people ages 13-24. They also offer a crisis intervention and suicide prevention phone service available 24/7 at 1-866-488-7386. Additionally, Q Chat offers live online chats in both English and Spanish for LGBTQ youth ages 13-17. You can find additional resources to help you support young LGBTQ people here.