By Rae Sweet

It’s been a long time since we last experienced the school bells ringing, feet shuffling in the hallway, and the hum of chatter, laughing, and learning. Entering back into the world — let alone school — can easily feel a bit jarring. Being LGBTQ+ brings with it a unique set of challenges and questions.

As the school year begins, here are some of the most common questions LGBTQ+ students are asking, and some resources to help you along the way:

How do I enter back into my community after being isolated for so long?

  • Be patient with yourself. You may be showing up, expressing yourself, and interacting with the world in a whole new way after being in quarantine. Give yourself room to adjust & remind yourself that it’s ok if you’re showing up differently than you used to.
  • Take it slow. Join a club or spark a conversation with a classmate, and then give yourself time to recuperate after. Don’t push yourself to be as social as you used to be.
  • Remember that you’re not alone. We all were (and still are) affected by COVID-19 in many different ways. So your classmates are most likely feeling a lot of the same feelings you’re having, and are coming back to school with their own concerns, fears, and reservations. 
  • If you’re in need of immediate support, visit The Trevor Project’s website

How do I find out if my school has a safe & inclusive space for LGBTQ+ students?

How can I join my school’s GSA without outing myself?

  • Attend GSA meetings with a friend that you trust.
  • Join your GSA as an “ally.”
  • Ask the club advisor or president if there’s a way to join the meetings virtually (through zoom, etc) so you can attend anonymously. 

How do I navigate gendered restrooms at school?

  • Know your rights using NCTE’s Resources
  • Ask a staff member you trust if there is a private bathroom you could use.
  • Have a buddy-system with your friends so that you feel safe when using the restroom.
  • Use It Gets Better’s Get Help page to find local resources. 

How do I educate my parents/guardians on my identity?

How can my school show its support for LGBTQ+ students?

– Rae Sweet is the Education Coordinator for the It Gets Better Project.