On March 28, Florida’s Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the controversial “Parental Rights in Education” bill into law. The legislation, which critics have dubbed as the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, restricts “classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity” in the Florida’s primary schools. Since the bill passed, many conservative states — including Alabama, Texas, Arizona, and Louisiana — have attempted to follow suit and propose similar bills.
This dangerous wave of anti-LGBTQ+ legislation threatens the safety and mental health of LGBTQ+ individuals, especially LGBTQ youth — an already vulnerable population. According to The Trevor Project’s 2021 National Survey, 42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide last year. 94% of LGBTQ youth said that recent politics negatively impact their mental health.
For those in the queer community, this legislation might bring up feelings of fear, isolation, and anger. That’s why we created a list of hotlines and organizations that offer support and guidance to LGBTQ+ communities.
Hotlines to contact for direct support
1. Trevor Project Lifeline: (800) 788-7386
The Trevor Project offers 24/7 crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBTQ+ youth. It provides support through free and confidential text, chat and call support. The Trevor Project also operates advocacy programs, research, and an inclusive social networking site. Parents and educators can find online resources through the Trevor Project’s website.
2. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: (800) 273-8255
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7 call and chat services to anyone in emotional distress. It has various resource pages, including one focused on LGBTQ+ support. This page includes information on how to be an ally to queer loved ones, a list of LGBTQ+ organizations, and stories of hope.
3. SAGE National LGBT Elder Hotline: (877) 360-LGBT (5428)
SAGE’s National Elder Hotline connects LGBTQ+ older people with trained listeners. Listeners provide non-judgmental support and information on community support resources. The hotline is available in English and Spanish, and it offers translation in 180 languages. SAGE also offers fact sheets and toolkits on various topics, including resources for providers, facts on LGBTQ+ aging, and identifying and referring LGBTQ+ caregivers.
4. Trans Lifeline: (877) 565-8860
Trans Lifeline is a trans-led peer support and crisis hotline. All calls are completely confidential and anonymous. For those that want to better support trans loved ones, the Family & Friends line is available via the main hotline. Trans Lifeline also offers resources on a range of LGBTQ+ topics, including coming out, self care and emotional support, and legal transition.
State-focused organizations for LGBTQ+
PRISM works to empower and offer educational resources to LGBTQ+ youth, especially LGBTQ+ people of color, in South Florida. It supports student organizers, hosts local events, and provides online resources. On its resources page, you can find information on the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law, articles on LGBTQ+ topics, anti-bullying resources, and local STI testing.
6. Equality Florida
Equality Florida works to advocate for and protect LGBTQ+ residents of Florida. The organization provides leadership training, resources, coalition-building, and volunteer opportunities to anyone fighting for equality. One of its initiatives, Safe & Healthy Schools, aims to foster a culture of inclusion for LGBTQ+ students, especially in light of the Don’t Say Gay bill. Students and educators can find LGBTQ+ student resources, free webinars, as well as local events throughout the state of Florida. The organization also offers direct help for those that feel mistreated because of sexual or gender identity.
7. The Fairness Campaign
Based in Kentucky, The Fairness Campaign advocates for legislation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, race, and gender identity. The organization offers public education, political advocacy work, and community building for LGBTQ+ individuals in Kentucky. In most areas of Kentucky, it’s legal for LGBTQ+ people to be fired from a job, denied residence, or kicked out of a restaurant due to their sexual orientation and gender identity. The Fairness Campaign makes Kentucky a safer placer for LGBTQ+ folks, and it provides many opportunities to get involved in anti-discrimination work.
8. Equality Texas
In late February, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered state child welfare to investigate gender-affirming care as child abuse — which became another example of Texas’ many anti-trans measures. Equality Texas fights for the rights of LGBTQ+ individuals and their families in the state of Texas. On its website, you can find information on LGBTQ-focused legislation, critical issues for LGBTQ+ Texans, and ways to get involved and fight against discrimination. Equality Texas also runs various campaigns, including the Equality Education Program, which combines skill-based trainings and issue briefings for LGBTQ+ advocates.
Organizations that provide legal assistance and education on legal protections
9. National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC)
Through coalition building, education, and research, the National Black Justice Coalition fights racism, homophobia, and LGBTQ+ bias and stigma. The organization provides many useful resources, including LGBTQ-focused reports and publications, workbooks, and toolkits. For those looking for up-to-date legal news, NGJC offers recent news and media releases on its website.
10. American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU)
The ACLU offers legal assistance in cases where it considers civil liberties to be at risk. On its LGBTQ+ page, you can find information on legislation affecting LGBTQ+ rights, legal protections under federal and state laws, and LGBTQ & HIV project case profiles. If you feel you’ve been mistreated based on sexual orientation or gender identity, you can fill out a form or contact your local ACLU affiliate.
11. Lambda Legal
Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund offers legal representation, advocacy, and education to LGBTQ+ communities. Along with leading high-impact education and advocacy campaigns, Lambda Legal has played a significant role in cases focused on LGBTQ+ rights (i.e. Lawrence v. Texas). Its website has a Know Your Rights page for various communities, along with a state-by-state legal protections guide and a help desk for those who need more resources focused on discrimination.
The bottom line
While we’ve seen LGBTQ+ legal wins in the past, there is more work to be done in the fight for equality and justice. In light of recent news, it’s normal to feel anxious and isolated. But you are not alone. There is support available, whether it’s through an online resource, a hotline, or a conversation with a trusted friend. No matter how you identify, you deserve to feel loved, included, and safe.