Gender Identity & Sexuality

Sexual Orientation and Gender

Sexual Orientation is who you are physically, spiritually, and emotionally attracted to, based on their sex/gender in relation to your own.

  • Straight/Heterosexual: attracted to people of the opposite sex/gender
  • Lesbian or Gay: attracted to people of the same sex/gender
  • Bisexual: attracted to two genders of people
  • Asexual: little to no sexual attraction to people
  • Aromantic: little or no romantic attraction to people; does not describe sexual attraction

Your gender identity is your sense of yourself as a man, woman, both or neither. Some of the many gender identities include:

  • Transgender: describes people whose gender identity is different from the gender they were assigned at birth
  • Gender non-conforming: describes people who don’t identify and/or express their gender along the binary lines of men and women – people often identify as both
  • Intersex: describes people who biological sex doesn’t medically match the binary model

Some teens identify with the umbrella term queer to describe a sexual orientation or gender identity that falls outside of the “heterosexual mainstream” or gender binary. Others who are questioning are unsure of their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. It is okay and even common for identities to shift over time.

We should never assume what words people use to describe their gender or sexual orientation. It’s important to respect the terms each individual identifies with. When in doubt, ask.

LGBTQIA+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual/aromantic, and beyond. If you identify on this spectrum, here are some things to remember:

  • Nobody has the right to harass or threaten you
  • You don’t need to “come out” to anyone. Prioritizing your safety by staying closeted is also a courageous decision.
  • Talking to supportive people can help. Student organizations at your school, friends, trusted adults, and online communities are all great places to start.

If you or someone you know is struggling with their sexual or gender identity, it is important to find a support group or someone sympathetic to talk to.

LGBTQ teens are at higher risk for suicide, substance abuse, and physical attack than other young people because of the widespread prejudice against homosexuality in our culture.

Because of this prejudice, LGBTQ youth feel forced to keep their sexual orientation or gender identity a secret. This often results in self-hatred that can lead a person to abuse drugs, practice unsafe sex, or engage in other kinds of self-destructive behavior, including suicide. Fortunately, the agencies, organizations, and support groups listed below are there to help.


Antioch University International Counseling Center

Psychotherapy in many languages, including English, Farsi, Hebrew, Russian, and French. 

400 Corporate Pointe,
Culver City, CA 90230

M-Thur 8am-8pm & F 9am-5pm & Sat 9am-4pm


Bienestar La Casa LGBT Youth Center

Groups on weekends and evenings. Community center for Latino youth. FREE support groups, one-on-one counseling, weekly gatherings and social events, 10 minute rapid HIV testing.

Hollywood Center 323-660-9680
Van Nuys Center 818-908-3820
Long Beach 562-438-5200
Pomona Center 909-397-7660

5326 E Beverly Blvd,
Los Angeles, CA 90022

M-F 10am-7pm


College Guide for LGBTQ Students

As LGBTQ students transition from high school to college, we want to help ensure they’re properly supported. One way we can do this is by connecting students to resources.


These resources include:

  • A list of ten things to look for when searching for LGBTQ-friendly colleges
  • Organizations, resources and legal rights information for LGBTQ students
  • A list of six expert interviews with leading LGBTQ advocates
  • Scholarships, grants and an in-depth guide on how to apply for financial aid

For LGBTQ Scholarship opportunities and assistance, visit:

1001 McKinney Street, Suite 400 Houston, TX 77002,

COLORS LGBTQ Youth Counseling Center

Colors is a safe, warm, and welcoming space that provides free LGBTQ-affirmative counseling and healing psychotherapeutic services to youth under 25 and their families in the greater Los Angeles area.

400 Corporate Pointe,
Culver City, CA 90230


Gay and Lesbian Youth Services

Transitional living program for youth ages 18-24,  HIV education, job center, some mentoring, emergency beds.

1625 Schrader Blvd,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

M-F 8:30am-5:30pm & Sat-Sun 8:30am-4pm


Gay Straight Alliance Network

Resources, peer support, networking, leadership development, and student activism training for GSA members, leaders, and advisors.

1550 Bryant St,
SF, CA 94103

M-F 10am-6pm


GLBT National Youth Talkline

Offer online peer-support chat.  Offer info on LGBT issues. Provide free and confidential telephone and internet peer counseling.

2261 Market St #PMB #296,
SF, CA 94114

M-F 1pm-9pm & Sat 9am-2pm


I Wanna Know

Website provides information about sex, STI’s, relationships, pregnancy, LGBTQ, contraception, etc.


Interval House

Group and individual counseling, youth shelter, GLBT support services, leadership training, and teen dating violence prevention.

6615 Pacific Coast Hwy,
Long Beach, CA 90803

M-F 9am-5pm



Jeffery D. Griffith Youth Center

Drop in center for homeless youths. Showers, meals, educational service and GED program, counseling, laundry, employment training, and HIV testing and counseling.

1625 Schrader Blvd,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

M-F 8am-5:30pm & Sat/Sun 8:30am-4pm


JQ International

JQ creates programs and services that foster a healthy fusion of LGBTQ and Jewish identities. These initiatives offer LGBTQ Jews, their friends, families, and loved ones the opportunity to connect with each other while fostering a strong sense of self. JQ International also encourages and strengthens leadership, activism, and social action amongst its members in order to continue creating not only a vibrant and inclusive LGBTQ Jewish community but also the best possible community at large.


JQSA (Jewish Queer Straight Alliance)  is the first community-wide youth group in Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley for all Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, and ally Jewish teens, ages 13-18. Members of the Teen JQSA have their own space to socialize with other teens from the LGBTQ and ally community and build an activist toolkit to combat bullying and intolerance in and outside of the Jewish community.


The JQ Helpline is the only resource and social service referral line specifically designed to serve LGBTQ Jews, their families, and allies in the United States, as well as Canada, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.


Call 855-JQI-HLPS (855-574-4577) or Email

801 Larrabee St. Suite #10,,
West Hollywood, CA 90069


L.A. Gay and Lesbian Centers Family Services Program

Anti-violence and hate crimes; clinical trials; drug and alcohol counseling; employment services; family violence; HIV medical care and testing; legal services; mental health and counseling; STDs; parents and families. (Youth Center); 20 beds available.

M-F 9am-5pm


LAMBDA Legal Defense & Education Fund

Legal Help Desk 866-542-8336

Provides legal assistance and representation to students and school professionals facing discrimination, harassment or censorship based on sexual orientation or gender identity.




LifeWorks is the youth development and mentoring program of the LA LGBT Center. They offer one-on-one, peer, and group mentoring opportunities for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth ages 12-24. Lifeworks’ goal is to help LGBTQ youth to realize their goals and dreams with a safe space, positive and affirming role models, and workshops & activities that are fun and educational. Check out their website to see all of the programs they offer! Youth Space: T-F 3pm-6pm.

1125 N McCadden Pl,
Los Angeles, CA 90038

M-F 9am-6pm


Parents and Friend of Lesbians and Gays – PFLAG

Additional phone: Los Angeles 888-735-2488

Long Beach 562-773-9801

Support for families and friends of gays and lesbians. Meetings third Tuesday of each month.

Los Angeles, CA 90024

M-Sun 9am-9pm


Project 10

Educational support and outreach to GLBT and questioning youth. Referrals. Provides funding for GLBTQ support programs.

115 W California Blvd,
Pasadena, CA 91105


Website that offers inclusive, supportive information and resources on sexuality and relationships for teens to include message boards, live chat and text services.

(206) 866-2279 (Text Line)

Teenage Health Center – Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles

Serves youth aged 12-24. Provides medical care, STD/HIV testing and treatment, birth control, pregnancy testing, emergency contraception, transgender services, immunizations, urgent care, physical exams, and care for chronic conditions. Bilingual. 

4650 Sunset Blvd,
Los Angeles, CA 90027

M-F 9am-5:30pm



The Center of Greater Long Beach

Free HIV/STI testing and treatment by appointment.

Youth drop-in center M-F 3pm – 7pm.

Young adult support groups W 8pm-9pm. Coming out Support Group on Fri 7pm-9pm.

Counseling, health education, free HIV/STD testing by appointment.

Youth mentorship M-F 3pm-7pm

2017 E 4th St,
Long Beach, CA 90814

M-F 10am-9pm & Sat 10pm-4pm


The Trevor Project

Crisis line for LGBT youth younger than 25 years old. National line with referrals in all areas.

Trevor LifeLine: 24 Hours
Text “Trevor” to 1-202-304-1200 Thurs & Fri1pm-5pm. Standard Text Messaging rates apply.
Online Chat available 12pm-6pm everyday

Crisis line for LGBTQ youth younger than 25 years old. National line with referrals in all areas.

West Hollywood, CA 90069

Sunday- Saturday 24 hours



Trans Family Support Services

Resources for youth struggling with transgender identification and their families. Offers family coaching and support, and guidance for medical, legal, and education systems.



Trevor Space is an online international peer-to-peer community for LGBTQ young people and their friends.

Youth Drop-In Center of the LGBTQ Center, Orange County

Short-term counseling. Support and social groups for all youth. HIV education prevention and testing. Emergency showers, food, clothing. Safer sex materials.

1605 N Spurgeon St,
Santa Ana, CA 92701

M-F 10am-9pm


Youth Law Project of the Gay and Lesbian Services Center 

Legal consultations. $10 processing fee is requested, but no one is denied due to lack of funds. Call for an appointment. 

1625 Schrader Blvd,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

M-F 9am-9pm & Sat 9am-1pm



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