Know Your Rights
10 Facts You Should Know
County Contacts
Crisis Help
Driver Licenses
Get Involved!
Important Documents


Selected Organizations:

College Guide for Current and Prospective LGBT Students

Aspiring college students who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) face a unique set of challenges when looking at schools. Recent studies indicate that 3.5% of adults in the U.S. identify as LGBT. This small but important subset of the population, roughly equivalent to the population of New Jersey, must consider a school’s inclusion efforts, as well as their safety and support provisions for LGBT students. This College Guide includes information on where to look for resources on campus, national support organizations, and even a list of LGBT-specific scholarship opportunities.

The National Center for Lesbian Rights

The National Center for Lesbian Rights is a national legal organization committed to advancing the civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and their families through litigation, public policy advocacy, and public education. Call or fax 415.392.6257 x331 (w) | 415.392.8442 (fax) or go to the NCLR website.

GLBT National Help Center
The GLBT National Help Center provides free and confidential telephone and email peer-counseling, information and local resources for the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community. The organization also works to strengthen local GLBT hotlines and organizations in their mission of service to the community.

For telephone and email peer counseling on these issues, go to the GLBT National Help Center website or call the toll-free hotline at 1-888-843-4564. To participate in the GLBT National Youth Talkline, click on the Help Center site or call the toll-free hotline at 1-800-246-PRIDE (1-800-246-7743).

Gay-Straight Alliance Network
The goal of the Gay-Straight Alliance Network is to empower youth activists to fight homophobia and transphobia in schools. Call 415-552-4229 or go to GSANetwork website for more information.

General Resources:
Child Welfare League of America (CWLA) Best Practice Guidelines: Serving LGBT Youth in Out-of-Home Care

This easy-to-use resource contains the first-ever set of comprehensive professional guidelines for how child welfare and juvenile justice professionals can best serve LGBT youth in state care. The Best Practice Guidelines for Serving LGBT Youth in Out of Home Care were developed from recommendations from the Model Standards Project, a collaboration between Legal Services for Children and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR).

Breaking the Silence: LGBTQ Foster Youth Tell Their Stories: DVD and Resource CD
The ten short digital stories included on Breaking the Silence are powerful tales of both the successes and failures of the foster care system. Over the course of a four-day workshop organized by National Center for Lesbian Rights and the Y.O.U.T.H Training Project of San Francisco State's Bay Area Academy which took place at the Center for Digital Storytelling in Berkeley, California, ten former foster youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or queer (LGBTQ) shared their stories and learned to edit them into moving, heartfelt (and sometimes heartbreaking) personal videos. Through these youths' thoughtful, honest, and insightful words and images, we hear directly about their experiences in state care, as well as their recommendations for better supporting LGBTQ youth in the future. In addition, each DVD comes with a CD containing more than 25 useful and informative training tools and resources. Breaking the Silence is an in-depth tool for social workers, probation officers, group home workers, foster parents, system administrators, lawyers, youth advocates, and other service providers who work with LGBTQ youth. Go to Breaking the Silence to order a free copy.

California-specific information:
Queer & Trans Youth in California Foster Care Have Rights: A Know Your Rights Guide

The National Center for Lesbian Rights, in collaboration with the Out of Home Youth Advocacy Council and California Youth Connection, produced this guide to help queer and transgender youth in the California foster care system navigate their rights. Contact NCLR if you would like to order hard copies.

AB 458 Fact Sheet: The California Foster Care Non-Discrimination Act
AB 458, the Foster Care Non-Discrimination Act, went into effect on January 1, 2004. This law is the first of its kind in the United States to explicitly include protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth and adults involved with the foster care system. Go to AB 458 to see the exact language of this important legislation.

LGBTQ Youth in the California Foster Care System: A Question and Answer Guide
This question and answer guide is designed to address many of the frequently-asked questions about protecting LGBTQ youth in the California foster care system from harassment and discrimination. Go to Q & A Guide for details.

Recursos en español (resources in spanish)
La juventud LGBTQ en el Sistema de Hogares Sustitutos / LGBTQ Youth in the Foster Care System

Safe Schools Information:
Beyond the Binary

Created by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Gay-Straight Alliance Network, and the Transgender Law Center, Beyond the Binary is a comprehensive tool kit designed to help students, school staff, and other community activists who want to address harassment and discrimination against transgender and other gender non-conforming students. For a copy, Click on Beyond.

Study of Anti-Gay Harassment Shows the Problem is Widespread, Dangerous and Preventable
Despite an anti-harassment law that took effect in 2003, harassment and bullying based on sexual orientation remain persistent and pervasive in California schools. More than 200,000 students every year are targets of harassment based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, according to a study released by the California Safe Schools Coalition. The Safe Place to Learn study, which included 26 times more respondents than any previous study on the issue, found that such widespread bullying has dangerous academic, health, and safety consequences for students. The study is among the first to document that schools can take concrete steps to reduce harassment and improve student health and safety. Click on Safe Place for more.

AB 537: the California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act
AB 537, the California Student Safety and Violence Prevention Act of 2000, changed California's Education Code by adding actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity to the existing nondiscrimination policy. The state defines "gender" as "a person's actual sex or perceived sex and includes a person's perceived identity, appearance or behavior, whether or not that identity, appearance, or behavior is different from that traditionally associated with a person's sex at birth." AB 537 protects students and school employees against discrimination and harassment at all California public schools and any school receiving state funding except religious schools. The protections cover any program or activity in a school, including extracurricular activities and student clubs. To read more, click on Act.

Legal Help:
Gay-straight Alliances: Common Legal Questions and Answers

Do you have legal questions related to your sexual orientation or gender identity?

If so, contact NCLR's legal information helpline by filling out an online form. If you click on the online form link and fill out the form completely, NCLR staffers will contact you with the information you are looking for. This is the fastest way to get assistance. You may also call the San Francisco National Office of NCLR at 415.392.6257 or toll-free at 1.800.528.6257 and ask for the Legal Helpline.

Other Sources of Help:
Trevor Youth Suicide Helpline (1-866-4UTrevor{488-7386})

A national 24-hour suicide prevention helpline for gay and questioning youth

To see what youth activists are doing to fight homophobia and transphobia in schools, check the Gay Straight Alliance Network.

Transgender Law Center (TLC)
The Transgender Law Center is a civil rights organization which advocates for transgender communities. TLC utilizes direct legal services, public policy advocacy, and educational opportunities to advance the rights and safety of diverse transgender communities. Contact them at 415-865-0176 or their website at TLC.

For more information on any of these opportunities for current and former foster youth,
call the Office of the Foster Care Ombudsman at: