The Military Child Well-being Toolkit

The MCEC Military Child Well-being Toolkit has been created to provide accessible social-emotional supports and resources directly to parents, educators, school counselors, administrators, and other youth-serving professionals working with military-connected youth.


-Dalai Lama

The well-being and safety of all military children are of utmost importance, including LGBTQIA+ students. LGBTQIA+ stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, and asexual. The American Psychological Association, Human Rights Campaign, and PFLAG now include LGBTQIA+ in their glossary of terms (American Psychological Association, 2022; Human Rights Campaign, 2022; PFLAG, 2021). Depending on environmental attitudes and stigmas, LGBTQIA+ military children may go through positive or negative experiences.

Regardless of beliefs or values, parents, caregivers, educators, and professionals can affirm the individual worth of their LGBTQIA+ military youth by creating healthy, supportive, caring, and safe environments for their children (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021). Higa et. al. (2014) states that providing protective factors such as fostering positive youth development and supportive LGBTQIA+ peer and community networks will positively impact communication between students and parents regarding identity development of LGBTQIA+ youth.

In a 2022 national survey by The Trevor Project, research shows that thoughts of suicide or self-harm from LGBTQIA+ youth have increased. Included below are a couple of the key findings from their research:

60% of LGBTQ youth who wanted mental health care in the past year were not able to get it.

45% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year.

The Trevor Project, 2022

In addition to increased suicidal thoughts, the Human Rights Campaign (2018) research shows that LGBTQIA+ students experience higher rates of bullying than their peers. This includes the discrediting and social devaluation of LGBTQIA+ youth through labeling, discrimination, stereotyping, separation, and status loss. According to the Trevor Project National Survey on the Mental Health of LGBTQ Young People (2023), over half of LGBTQIA+ students enrolled in middle or high school reported being bullied in person or virtually. Research also shows that LGBTQIA+ military students are associated with an increased odds of nonphysical victimization, physical violence, and weapon carrying (Pedro et al., 2020).

Consider the LGBTQIA+ stigma that extends beyond interpersonal levels such as bullying or family relationships. Discrimination is also manifested at a structural level through laws, policies, and regulations. Parents and caregivers can partner with educators, school leaders, and other professionals to ensure that the rights of their LGBTQIA+ military children are protected, and positive peer and community relationships are fostered (Exec. Order No. 13988, 2021). The CDC provides key learning objectives and core competencies for schools and districts to incorporate into their professional development (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2021). Also included in this toolkit below are a variety of resources to help guide healthy conversations for parents, providers, and schools.

Parents & Professionals
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Parents of Young Children
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School Leadership
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American Psychological Association (2022). Div. 44: Society for the psychology of sexual orientation and gender diversity.  

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, October 26). Creating safe schools for LGBTQ+ youth.  

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, April 9). Safe and supportive environments.  

Chan A. (2021). Book review: The educator’s guide to LGBT+ inclusion: A practical resource for K-12 teachers, administrators, and school support staff. Frontiers in Psychology, 12, 692343.

Earnshaw, V. A., Reisner, S. L., Juvonen, J., Hatzenbuehler, M. L., Perrotti, J., & Schuster, M. A. (2017). LGBTQ bullying: translating research to action in pediatrics. Pediatrics, 140(4), e20170432.

Exec. Order No. 13988, 86 Fed. Reg. 7023 (Jan 20, 2021). 

Higa D., Hoppe, M.J., Lindhorst, T., Mincer, S., Beadnell, B., Morrison, D.M., Wells, E.A., Todd, A., Mountz, S. (2014). Negative and positive factors associated with the well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Youth & Society, 46(5), 663- 687.

Human Rights Foundation (2018). 2018 LGBTQ Youth Report – Human Rights Campaign – HRC. LGBTQIA+ report   Human Rights Campaign. (n.d.) Glossary of terms.  

Pedro, K. T., & Esqueda, M. C. (2020). Exploring school victimization and weapon carrying among military-connected lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth in California schools. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 35(23-24), 5414–5424.

PFLAG (2021, January 21). National Glossary of terms.  

The Trevor Project (2021). The Trevor Project national survey on LGBTQ youth mental health. Retrieved by

The Trevor Project (2023). Trevor Project National Survey on the Mental Health of LGBTQ Young People. Retrieved by

The Trevor Project (2022). 2022 National survey on LGBTQ youth mental health. Retrieved by orientation

U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. (2021, June). Confronting anti-LGBTQI+ harassment in schools a resource for students and families. 

Disclosure Statement: These tools are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.

Have a Question? Ask an MSC!

If you have a question about academic transition, education options, or how to best meet the needs of your military-connected child, connect with a Military Student Consultant. 

Our MSCs truly understand the challenges related to military life and they stand ready to serve.

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