Supporting LGBTQ+ Youth – PediaCast 540

Show Notes


  • Dr Lea Taylor visits the studio as we consider support for LGBTQ+ youth. Nearly 10% of high-schoolers identify as LGBTQ+. Acceptance and support from their family and friends is essential for thriving… and supporting good mental health. We hope you can join us!


  • Supporting LGBTQ+ Youth




Announcer 1: This is PediaCast.




Announcer 2: Welcome to PediaCast, a pediatric podcast for parents. And now, direct from the campus of Nationwide Children's, here is your host, Dr. Mike.


Dr. Mike Patrick: Hello, everyone, and welcome once again to PediaCast. It is a pediatric podcast for moms and dads. This is Dr. Mike coming to you from the campus of Nationwide Children's Hospital. We're in Columbus, Ohio.


It's episode 540 for June 27th, 2023. We're calling this one "Supporting LGBTQ+ Youth". I want to welcome all of you to the program.




So we have another really important topic for you this week as we consider supporting LGBTQ+ youth. Turns out nearly 10% of all high school aged youth in the United States identify as LGBTQ+. So it's extremely likely that you know a teenager who identifies with one or more of these letters.


We also know that identifying as LGBTQ+ can be extremely stressful. It's not something a teenager chooses. It's who they are.


And while gender identity can be fluid and change over time, we always have to consider where someone is in the here and now because it truly represents their identity. And combine this with the fact that as humans, we all want to feel accepted and loved and supported, especially by our family, friends, and our community. Unfortunately, those who identify as LGBTQ+ are not always accepted by their family, friends, schools, churches, or communities, which, as you can imagine, can then fuel anxiety, depression, and sometimes thoughts of suicide.




In fact, those who identify as LGBTQ+ have a higher incidence of mental health concerns compared to those who identify as cisgender. And so, it is really important that we demonstrate acceptance, love, and support for these teenagers. And I mean really, really important, I cannot stress this enough.


Now, you may be saying my child does not identify as LGBTQ+. And maybe you do not know any teenagers who do. But this still presents an opportunity for you to learn more about gender identity and to find places to hang out with people who are different than yourself, listen to their stories, take a walk in their shoes.


Diversity, equity, and inclusion are very important concepts as we strive to treat each other with respect and understanding.




You and I want to feel accepted, loved, and supported by those around us. And it is self-evident that everyone deserves to feel cared for like they matter. And when that does not happen, we see anxiety, depression, and sometimes thoughts of suicide.


But we can make a difference in the lives of teenagers by learning and growing and engaging with them. And a great place to start is right here on PediaCast. We are going to begin with a really basic foundation of terms, because that's how you build deeper understanding. You have to start at the beginning.


So we're going to be breaking down lots of letters and concepts for you right out of the gate. What does LGBTQ+ stand for? What does each word mean? What is the plus?


And how about the many other terms not included with that acronym? Terms like cisgender, which I have already used in this introduction, non-binary, pansexual. What is gender identity and how does it differ from gender expression? What is gender dysphoria and why is that a really important concept to consider?




So, lots of basic information today definitions, meanings, concepts. That is where we must begin in order to nurture deeper understanding. Understanding fosters empathy. Empathy builds relationships. Relationships lead to trust and community. And from there, we can begin to provide authentic acceptance, love and support.


We'll also explore an incredible collection of trusted resources which we'll share in the show notes so that you can continue learning, growing and engaging, long after you have finished listening to this podcast.


And this episode is simply part one. Later in the summer, we will have young adults on the program who identify as LGBTQ+. They're going to talk about their experience during the teenage years, their support structures, barriers, challenges, rewards, and the do's and don'ts they would like to share with parents, which I think will deepen our understanding of what acceptance and support that matters really looks like. So that'll be coming your way in August.




Today, as we build our foundation, we have a terrific guest to get us started. Dr. Lea Taylor is a pediatric psychologist at Nationwide Children's Hospital and an assistant professor of Psychiatry at the Ohio State University College of Medicine.


Before we get to her, I want to remind you, you can find PediaCast really wherever podcasts are found, We're in the Apple and Google podcast apps, iHeartRadio, Spotify, SoundCloud, Amazon Music and most other podcast apps for iOS and Android. If you like what you hear, please remember to subscribe to our show so you don't miss an episode.


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Also, your use of this audio program is subject to the PediaCast Terms of Use Agreement, which you can find at


So let's take a quick break. We'll get Dr. Lea Taylor settled into the studio. And then we will be back to talk about support for LGBTQ+ youth. It's coming up, right after this.






Dr. Mike Patrick: Dr. Lea Taylor is a pediatric psychologist at Nationwide Children's Hospital and an assistant professor of Psychiatry at the Ohio State University College of Medicine. She has a passion for supporting LGBTQ+ youth and their families.


That's what she's here to talk about today. But first, let's offer a warm PediaCast welcome to our guest, Dr. Lea Taylor. Thank you so much for stopping by today.


Dr. Lea Taylor: Yeah, thank you for having me.


Dr. Mike Patrick: Yeah, I really appreciate you stopping by and sharing your expertise with all of us.


I wanted to really start very basic today. Because if we're going to support youth who identify as LGBTQ, we're really going to have to understand the language, I feel. And some of it is going to be familiar, and some of it may not be familiar.


And even if you think it's familiar, there may be meanings that you don't really understand. And so I thought that would be a good place to start.




And really just with those letters, LGBTQ+, why don't we just run through those real quick and just make sure we have a clear understanding of what we mean when we use that terminology?


Dr. Lea Taylor: Yeah, I think this is a great question and a great place to start because we often use these long phrases but don't always go into the definition of each.


I'll add, I'll go through each of the letters that are the most broadly accepted definition. But I think it's important to note that language does always evolve and is personal. But again, broadly speaking and accepted, the L stands for lesbian. And the definition of this that's widely accepted is non-men who are attracted to non-men.


Some individuals define lesbian as women attracted to women or girls attracted to girls. But more recently, this definition has been broadened to include all nonbinary individuals who are attracted to all individuals who are non-men.




Then the G stands for gay. This can be used either as an umbrella term for individuals who are attracted to the same gender as them and is also specifically used for men whom are attracted to men or boys whom are attracted to boys.


Then, bisexual is individuals who are attracted to both their own and other genders. So this might be a woman who's attracted to women and men.


Transgender is a term that refers to individuals whose gender identity does not match what they were assigned at birth.


And then the Q can stand for queer, which is an umbrella term for all individuals who are not heterosexual. Or it can stand for questioning, which is when an individual is still exploring their sexual orientation.


And then finally, that plus at the end really includes the spectrum of other identities that is not easily captured in those first few letters. So this can be people who are intersex, asexual or, again, any other identity across the gender or sexuality spectrum.




Dr. Mike Patrick: What is intersexual and asexual?


Dr. Lea Taylor: Those are wonderful questions. So someone who's asexual is someone who does not experience any sexual attraction to any individual. They may still desire close relationships. They may still desire a romantic partner, but they're not experiencing sexual attraction. And there's actually a spectrum within this of people who experience less but some. 


And then intersex is, again, another umbrella term that refers to people who are born with multiple sexual characteristics. They could be somewhere in between the male and female sex. This could be a difference in chromosome versus physical characteristics or, again, just differently defined body parts or physical characteristics.


Dr. Mike Patrick: And then another term that I hear more often is pansexual. What is meant by that?




Dr. Lea Taylor: So pansexual refers to when individuals are attracted to anyone regardless of gender. Sometimes bisexual and pansexual get lumped together, but people really think of the difference as when someone's bisexual, they may still take into consideration gender or gender expression. Whereas individuals who are pansexual are attracted to maybe more like personality or characteristics that are outside of gender. Gender doesn't really matter in their sexual attraction.


Dr. Mike Patrick: One of the things that kind of is big for parents as they're thinking about this is that we use the word sexual in some of these terms like bisexual, pansexual, asexual but it's not always about sex, right? This is really where you identify, who you're attracted to. And often that's more of an emotional thing than necessarily a sexual thing, correct?


Dr. Lea Taylor: Yes, absolutely. So when we think of sexual orientation, we really think of when an individual is experiencing any sort of physical or emotional attraction.




And again, what's typical on that looks different across the age range. You may have a younger adolescent developing a crush, for example. It looks more like I want to spend time with this person. I want to spend individual time. I might want to hold their hand. It's not necessarily always related to a sexual act.


Again, we hear the word sex a lot in it, but like you said, it's not related to sex itself.


Dr. Mike Patrick: And because sex also means when we think about the traditional male and female roles, those are sexes, right? So it's not that word really has double meaning there.


And so sex assigned at birth, that's something that we hear. And I think that just means what is on your birth certificate?


Dr. Lea Taylor: Yes, it's whatever a baby was identified with or as when they were born. So again, it's usually based on obvious physical characteristics. It's on their birth certificate. And it actually may or may not be related to their gender identity later on like you're alluding to or actually their genetics or chromosomes or their internal reproductive system.




So this is generally, you think of assigned male at birth or assigned female at birth, but like you said, that can be different later on in life and is an incomplete description.


Dr. Mike Patrick: Yeah, and really based on the external genitals at birth, the doctor delivers the baby, looks between the legs and assigns male or female without necessarily knowing what the chromosomes are. And sometimes, especially in intersex, as you mentioned, sometimes, it's not easy to tell.


Dr. Lea Taylor: Yes, absolutely.


Dr. Mike Patrick: Okay. And then sexual orientation, what do we mean by that term?


Dr. Lea Taylor: So that's really a broad term, just referring to an individual's physical or emotional attraction to a person based on their gender. Or again, in the case of pansexual, like we discussed, not based on their gender and based on other characteristics. But this includes some of those terms I defined above, such as gay, lesbian, bisexual, straight, or other sexual orientation.




Dr. Mike Patrick: Okay. And then gender identity, how is that different than sexual orientation?


Dr. Lea Taylor: So rather than who you're attracted to, gender identity is really your own internal sense of what your gender is. So everyone has a gender identity, it may be consistent with what you were assigned at birth. So if you assigned female at birth and you now identify as a girl or a woman, then that might be consistent.


However, there are individuals who are transgender. So that means that they were assigned a sex at birth, and then their gender identity later on is different than that. And then, there are also non-binary individuals who don't identify as either girls, boys, men, women, and identify outside of that binary.


Dr. Mike Patrick: So gender identity is really how you feel and how you perceive yourself. And gender expression then, because the identity is how you're feeling yourself, no one can necessarily see that. I mean, this is something that you experience personally.




And then you may choose to express the gender that you're assigned at birth or whatever gender identity you have, you may express that. So gender expression is really what you're telling the world that you are, is that correct?


Dr. Lea Taylor: Yes, exactly. And I like that you highlighted it like that. Our gender identity is very internal, an expression is how we choose to show that to the world. And again, highlighting all individuals express their gender, all individuals express themselves. And what that looks like is just a different and personal thing based on who you are and often based on your gender identity internally.


Dr. Mike Patrick: Yeah. I want to take a pause here because I think this is really important. This is not necessarily something that we choose, right? Like, I don't choose to feel like a boy or choose to feel like a girl. It's very personal inside of what I feel like I am.




And I think that sometimes, especially if you've not experienced that, if you were a male assigned at birth and you've gone your whole life feeling like a boy, like myself, it may be difficult to understand what that feels like when you feel like something other than you've been assigned at birth. Can you just speak to that a little bit?


Dr. Lea Taylor: Yeah. So, I think you really hit the nail on the head there. This is not something we choose. I will say increasingly, over time, in a very positive direction, we have more words to describe this feeling, we have more words to really describe this experience and allow individuals to really explore what their gender is. And so I think we're seeing that a little bit more.


And again, I think that's because we have better resources and understanding now, but this is something that is really internal to us and takes time and exploration. So if you're someone who is this gender, which again, means that you identify with the sex you were assigned at birth, you may not experience this feeling of unease or discomfort or really not fitting.




But if you're transgender or non-binary, you really do feel that over time. And to the extent that you're able to get resources and knowledge about this, how you find out or how could kind of parse out really what matches for them.


Dr. Mike Patrick: And then I think another important thing to consider here is that when you do have a gender identity that does not match the sex assigned at birth, not only do you identify with that gender, but then there may be also some complicated feelings because it's not necessarily what society as a whole would say is correct.


So you may have your parents don't understand. And it could be that friends at school who had been your friend, and now when they find out about this, maybe they don't want to be your friend anymore. Or you're worried that they won't want to be your friend anymore.


So that can really cause what we would say gender dysphoria. And that really is very uncomfortable and can lead to mental health problems, right?




Dr. Lea Taylor: Yes, absolutely. So gender dysphoria is that feeling of distress or discomfort associated with your sex assigned at birth and, like you said, can lead to a lot of really negative health outcomes, mental health and physical health. However, and I think we'll get to this later on, there are a variety of things that can actually mitigate or reduce that risk of negative health outcomes. Because we really think that those negative consequences are related more to external pressures, external experiences like bullying, harassment, lack of acceptance, rather than actually being transgender or actually being part of the LGBTQ community.


Dr. Mike Patrick: And when we talk about support for LGBTQ youth, that's really the crux of it, isn't it? Just understanding what these terms mean, understanding, trying to have empathy for someone and how they feel inside. And when we provide support and acceptance, then that really can go a long way to getting rid of those negative feelings.




Dr. Lea Taylor: Yes, absolutely.


Dr. Mike Patrick: Just a few more terms that I think we mentioned but maybe didn't define for sure. Cisgender, you did say, so this is when your gender identity matches the gender that you're assigned at birth.


And then what is gender neutral?


Dr. Lea Taylor: Gender neutral is a broad term that refers to either expression or identity of individuals that don't identify with either like a boy or a girl, one of those binary gender. Again, it can mean a lot of things. It can mean just whatever your gender expression is, how you're expressing yourself. Or it could mean that internal sense of gender identity and sort of, again, is all encompassing of something that's not our traditional with boy, girl and how we expect them to express their gender.




Dr. Mike Patrick: Yeah, and then one more term, and we did mention this one as well, non-binary. What is non-binary?


Dr. Lea Taylor: So non-binary is, again, another one of those sort of in the middle broad terms for individuals who don't identify with one of those binary gender. So again, it could be someone who might express themselves in a way that you would expect to be of a girl, a boy, but inside they're not identifying as either. Or it could be people who aim to be more androgynous which is really not clearly defined in the social way that we think about how boys and girls express themselves.


Dr. Mike Patrick: And as we think about these terms, I think it's also important to recognize that we're doing our best to describe a feeling inside that someone has.


And so the feeling really comes first and then trying to figure out a word that goes with that feeling, rather than someone having a menu and saying, oh, I'm going to be non-binary today. It's really more how do I feel at baseline and what word best describes how I feel?




Dr. Lea Taylor: Absolutely.


Dr. Mike Patrick: Yeah. I would encourage folks if this is really all brand new to you and you've heard cisgender before and non-binary, but you weren't really sure what they meant, it may be a good idea just to rewind back to the beginning and listen to these again because we did go through them pretty quickly. And I think it's really important that we understand all those terms so that we're on the same page as we're using language and speaking about these concepts.


I am going to put a link in the show notes to a site from the Annie E. Casey Foundation. It's just called Defining LGBTQ Terms and Concepts. And I think it really does a nice job of very concisely explaining what all of these terms mean all in one page. So you may want to bookmark that and look it up when questions come into your mind, you don't remember exactly what a particular term means.


So, with all of that in mind, we really see that youth who identify as LGBTQ+ represent a whole range of feelings and identities and orientations. If we look at that group collectively, what percentage of youth in the United States would identify themselves within that umbrella?




Dr. Lea Taylor: Yeah, I think this is a great question. And I will say this is actually something that's pretty hard to study because just getting access to the broad population in ways that they feel safe responding to this can be difficult. However, recent studies from UCLA and Gallup estimate that about 10% of youth from age 13 to 17 and then 20% of young adults and generation Z identify within the LGBTQ+ community. So again, a pretty substantial population or percentage.


Dr. Mike Patrick: Yeah, absolutely. So when we think about 10% of high school students, these are people that all of you know, right? This is not something that, oh, this is something we see on the other side of town.




Really, every school, every classroom, every neighborhood has folks who identify as LGBTQ. And so again, it makes it even more important to really try to understand because these folks are part of your community. And so it's important to understand, to have empathy, to build relationships, all of that is very very important.


One thing that as we consider support, names are important. When we're talking to someone and they use our name, we feel special, we feel known. It's easier to engage on a really personal level, but sometimes, the name that we're assigned at birth may match the sex that we're assigned at birth, but may not match gender identity. And so, then we have youth who have a preferred name. Why is it important for us to figure out what that preferred name is and use it?


Dr. Lea Taylor: Yeah, I think exactly what you highlighted at the beginning. When people use our name, we feel seen, we feel important, we feel like they recognize who we are. So when we go out of our way to ensure that we are using people's preferred names, that shows that we respect who they are and we want to honor and acknowledge who they are.




And this could be as simple as we have people who want to use different nicknames, people go by their middle names. And then of course, there are people who then change their name to a preferred name that fits better with their gender.


So again, this is just a way that with our language, where we can really affirm that we support youth and we support others in our lives and who they are.


Dr. Mike Patrick: And for those in our audience who practice medicine or provide care in any capacity to LGBTQ youth, it's important that we find out what the preferred name is and honor that.


Dr. Lea Taylor: Yes, absolutely.


Dr. Mike Patrick: So then that leads us to pronouns, which I think folks really do have a sense these days more and more that pronouns are important. But how does that fit into all of this?




Dr. Lea Taylor: So I think first to highlight is that everyone uses pronouns. So this is just how we refer to people when we speak about them. In general, it is best to use the pronouns that others ask us to use for them as this similar to lead to using preferred names. So that we respect them as a person and we respect really who they are.


I think that this one can be a little nuanced, that at times there might be people who are not necessarily out to everyone with their preferred pronouns. And so it's helpful to just ask what would you like me to refer to you by when I'm talking with others?


But again, I think a way to really normalize this, and like you said, people are hearing a lot about this, is just to share your pronouns when you meet with someone. Again, really normalizing that, showing that you understand the importance of using correct pronouns. Especially because we know, due to some alarming research that has come out, that transgender youth really are at risk for negative mental health outcomes like depression, risk of attempting suicide. And that using their correct pronouns is one really simple way that we can actually reduce those negative outcomes.




Dr. Mike Patrick: So when you say that, that getting the right pronoun is important and can actually impact mental health, that is difficult given that the use of pronouns is often so habitual and automatic in our speech. So if you have the concept that someone is one gender and you don't think about it, especially, if it's someone that you've maybe known for a long time, it's easy to just slip out the incorrect pronoun. And I think it's important just to slow down, really slow down our speaking, think about who we're talking to and understanding that this is really important to them.


And even though it's just a little slip from your lens, from their lens, it's that you're not accepting what their gender identity is. So they may not know that it just slipped out subconsciously, but to them it was really important.




And so I would say give yourself, be patient with yourself. And when it does happen and you get the wrong pronoun and you realize it, stop, apologize and try to do better next time,  realizing the goal is to try to change it. But it may take some time, especially since this is such habitual, automatic kind of speech. Does that make sense?


Dr. Lea Taylor: Yeah, I completely agree, especially when we're thinking about parents or caregivers or providers who have worked with youth for a long time and use one set of pronouns. When we're starting to switch, it is natural to fall into that habit.


And like you said, I think slowing down, even practicing in your head, practicing what you're going to say to start with that, but then recognizing it's very common to mess up and just being able to apologize with that and move on can be really powerful and I think still gives that acceptance piece. So not being afraid to mess up, allowing yourself that opportunity so that you are practicing and you can change things for the future.




Dr. Mike Patrick: Another way that we can avoid getting the wrong language, especially in terms where it's automatic, like with pronouns, is just how we describe people's roles with one another. So when we think about like boyfriend, girlfriend, husband, wife, daughter, son, we can make mistakes because we just automatically use that language. But then, there's this concept of gender-neutral language and the more we use gender-neutral language, the less likely we are to slip up habitually.


And so what do we mean by gender-neutral language and what are some examples?


Dr. Lea Taylor: Absolutely. So we really can't tell someone's gender just by what they look like. Again, we talked about gender expression, the way people express their gender to the outside world with clothes, makeup, body hair, jewelry, or other ways that they dress.




However, we cannot make that guess until we have actually talked to them, found out. So by using language that doesn't necessarily assume their gender can promote this broad feelings of safety and acceptance because you're not making someone have to correct you in that moment.


If you're not assuming gender, you're allowing them to actually have that conversation with you, so you can clarify. And some examples are I know you highlighted the boyfriend, girlfriend or husband, wife. This could be partner significant, other spouse.


When addressing a room of people, rather than saying ladies and gentlemen or boys and girls, you can say folks, which is one of my favorites, everyone, friends.


Rather than saying daughter or son, you can say child. Rather than sister brother, you can say sibling.


These are really terms that everyone knows. We would know what you mean if you say sibling or child. We actually use a fair amount of gender-neutral language when we really don't know something if we're talking about an abstract group of people.




So trying to get that in more when you're talking about a specific group or more in your just everyday language, again, I think really creates that safe space for individuals to tell you more about how they identify and what they need.


So I think it's a nice switch that we can make to really promote that inclusivity.


Dr. Mike Patrick: And not only when you know that someone identifies as LGBTQ, really just using that language every day with all the folks that we come across, then you're less likely to make a slip that you don't really think much about that really can impact another person.


Dr. Lea Taylor: Absolutely.


Dr. Mike Patrick: Speaking of impacting others, we had mentioned that LGBTQ youth are at a much higher risk for mental health concerns. And a lot of that does stem from that gender dysphoria of wanting to be loved and accepted by those around you, but feeling different than what society would say you should feel.




And so talk a little bit about the mental health concerns that can be there. What sort of signs should be we looking for in our friends and loved ones and kids who may be impacted and having mental health issues?


Dr. Lea Taylor: Absolutely. So, like you said, unfortunately, due to lack of acceptance, bullying, and lack of access to inclusive spaces, the LGBTQ+ community is significantly more likely to face negative mental health outcomes. So, according to the CDC, about 63% of LGBTQ+ youth experience persistent feelings of sadness. About 20% to 30% abuse substances. And they are four times more likely to attempt suicide than their cisgender and heterosexual peers.


And again, the driving factor in this seems to be that gender dysphoria, the lack of acceptance, those social reactions to them.




Things to look out for is isolation, noticing kids really pulling back, not talking as much, not doing things that they used to do, expressing more sadness, expressing like they don't feel like they have that social support.


However, I would highlight that LGBTQ+ individuals who are supported by the families and school systems show significantly improved mental health outcomes. So even though we can be alarmed by these statistics, and we should be, there are really things that we can do in our responses by really affirming youth that can really mitigate or, again, reduce those negative outcomes. For example, transgender children whose families really affirm their gender identity are actually as psychologically healthy as their non-transgender peers.


Dr. Mike Patrick: I want to pause here and really think about this because it's so important. When you talk about four times the suicide rate and yet what causes that anxiety, which can slip into depression, which then slips into suicidal thoughts and thinking, "I would just be better off dead," that really does stem from not feeling accepted and loved and supported.




And that is on us, to love and support and accept all those around us, to really decrease those numbers.


And studies would show that when there is that acceptance and support, that those numbers do go down. And so we really all have a responsibility to learn more about, again, these terms, to have empathy for the folks around us. And I think it's just so important.


I also want to mention with suicide, it is okay to talk about that, right? It is okay to say you're not going to put that idea in someone's head and then cause them to have suicidal thoughts. It's best to talk about it.




Dr. Lea Taylor: Absolutely. I think that's something we hear from parents and caregivers a lot, that they're worried, like, "Oh, if I ask about this, it's going to suddenly become something acceptable." We know from research that that's not true.


And actually having open and honest dialogues about suicide and suicidal thoughts can increase kids comfort in coming to their parents and caregivers, which again is what we want. If they're really struggling with these significant and pretty scary thoughts, we don't want them to be alone. We don't want them to not have adult support.


Dr. Mike Patrick: Yeah, absolutely. So as we're thinking about this and wanting to be an ally and to provide support to LGBTQ youth that are in our communities, where are some places where we can get more information? And I'm going to have a lot of links in the show notes for this episode, 540, over at But what are some great resources that folks can turn to learn more about these concepts?




Dr. Lea Taylor: Yeah, I think there's some really great national organizations that provide really high quality and really accessible information to families and youth. Some of these are the Trevor Project, the Trans Youth Equality Foundation, GLSEN, which is G-L-S-E-N, which is the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. The National Center for Transgender Equity, the Human Rights Campaign and Gender Spectrum are all really wonderful organizations that provide more support, education and then also can link you to local resources. Because I think access to those local and inclusive places can be really impactful for kids.


I know here in central Ohio, we have the Kaleidoscope Youth Center, which is a wonderful organization that provides a variety of supportive resources, such as a drop-in center for youth, community-based wellness programs, connections to national associations, and is a great place to start for individuals looking for more of that support. But again, those broader national organizations are really wonderful ways to make those connections in your own communities.




Dr. Mike Patrick: And we'll put links to all the ones that you mentioned and we have lots more as well, again in the show notes. So please head over to This episode is 540 and we'll have a list of lots of places for you to explore that are good trustworthy sites.


It's easy for us to think about LGBTQ as something that impacts other families or other neighborhoods. How can we engage more with folks who identify in that way?


So we live sort of in bubbles in today's world and I think the pandemic made that even more so. But if we don't know people who live this, then it is hard to engage and have empathy and want to pursue understanding.




So I am all for surrounding myself with people who are not like me, to really try to understand where others are coming from. But if we did want to engage with this community more, how do we do that?


Dr. Lea Taylor: Yeah, I think that there are a variety of really wonderful ways to do that, to do more of that engagement. Like we highlighted at the beginning, the percentage of individuals who identify as LGBTQ+ is higher than maybe some people would expect. So I think one way is actually just ensuring that you are presenting yourself as an ally, as someone who's open and accepting. So people do want to spend time with you, educate you about themselves, really open themselves up.


So, again, that's that gender-neutral language, using correct name and pronouns, highlighting where you stand. However, there are also lots of great resources out there on getting more access to just really understanding the LGBTQ community through books, some of those inclusive spaces we talked about.




And you can even get involved in local organizations like, as I said, the Kaleidoscope Youth Center here. But broadly speaking, in most areas, or at least many areas, especially around cities, there are bigger organizations that really focus on providing access to information, safe spaces that you can get involved in.


Dr. Mike Patrick: Yeah, here in central Ohio, Stonewall Columbus is one of those organizations that really offers activities and events. I'm just thinking about Pride since it's June. Getting involved in Pride events can also be helpful and engaging in conversations with folks that you may come across who identify as LGBTQ. And just really understanding the human experience that may be different than your experience and being able to share that with each other, really, that's how you form relationships and get to know people. And it's just really, really important.




We've mentioned being an ally of LGBTQ youth. I think the beginning of that is just learning more and again, understanding the terms which we've tried to do here today, spending time with others. Are there other ways in which we can be an ally?


Dr. Lea Taylor: Yeah, and I think there's no one definition of allyship. Very early on, really just making sure you're educating yourself. Again, using those pronouns. Like you said, the language that we want to be using is a great way to start.


However, as you continue to educate yourself, we can think of allyship as generally supporting, standing up for, and listening to LGBTQ+ individuals. This could be standing up against bullying, correcting others, or really teaching others about the LGBTQ+ community.




I like to think, generally speaking, humans want to be kind and understand each other. And we don't always have the knowledge or the language to provide that acceptance and support. So if you can share that education, share your stance, and really show that you are not ashamed to or afraid to stand up for and publicly support the LGBTQ+ community is a wonderful way to be an ally.


Dr. Mike Patrick: Is there ways that families in particular can advocate for LGBTQ youth, especially if that's not an experience that someone in your household is having? But, "I want to be an ally. Maybe my child has a friend who identifies as LGBTQ, and I want to be supportive." At the family level, what can we do to advocate for these kids?


Dr. Lea Taylor: I think really just having a lot of discussions about language, open and honest discussions about gender, about sexual orientation. Making sure that your children, even if they are not part of the LGBTQ+ community, making sure they have access to age-appropriate information. So that they can understand what their peers are going through. And they understand that your values as a family to be supportive and accepting, I think, can be really critical.




In addition, really working with school systems, understanding how you can get involved and be supportive. And really coming alongside educators to ensure that the classroom, your home, are really affirming, accepting places.


Dr. Mike Patrick: Yeah, absolutely. There is a national movement that started here at Nationwide Children's Hospital called On Our Sleeves. And it's the movement for children's mental health.


And I'll put a link to it in the show notes, but this is one place where you definitely can find more information. Tell us about On Our Sleeves.


Dr. Lea Taylor: So On Our Sleeves is a wonderful, wonderful movement we have here. On Our Sleeves, really broadly, is on a mission to provide free, evidence-based resources across the United States aiming to understand and promote better mental health for all children.




On Our Sleeves provides a massive amount of really great curated resources, again, largely aimed towards parents, caregivers, and educators.


And so far, on our Sleeves has reached all 50 states and millions of individuals. And a lot of resources, including ones I've discussed today, but again, more broadly about mental health. How to talk about mental health, how to support kids, how to really increase meaningful conversations, are all available on and also On Our Sleeves social media. They have a great social media presence.


Dr. Mike Patrick: Yes, they do. One of the articles that you'll find on On Our Sleeves is "Five Ways to Support LGBTQ+ Youth".




And as I look through this document, we've covered all the highlights today, learn the language, use preferred names and pronouns, avoid assumptions by using gender-neutral language, check out LGBTQ+ resources, and then spend some time in LGBTQ+ inclusive spaces so that you can engage and get to know others. All really important things and it's really highlighted nicely in that article.


All of this is part of the Big Lots Behavioral Health Services at Nationwide Children's Hospital. We really are, I think, leading the nation in terms of pediatric mental health. Tell us a little bit about the other services that you guys provide.


Dr. Lea Taylor: Yeah, so behavioral health across Nationwide children, and especially at the Big Lots Behavioral Health Pavilion is something I think we put a lot of effort and attention into. We really have a comprehensive team in Behavioral Health, including psychiatry, psychologists like myself, social workers, parent support specialists, counselors, nursing. Really a well-rounded team that hopes to provide really top-tier, high quality, evidence-based services for individuals with a variety of presenting concerns.




So we have the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders, the Child Development Center, for example, that really provides services for individuals with different developmental disorders.


But there's also Pediatric Psychology and Neuropsychology focused on providing care for individuals with medical diagnoses as well as psychological concerns. We have crisis services. We have in-patient services, community based and home-based services, intensive outpatient, partial hospitalization and prevention services.


So this is really a long list. And that's all to say we provide a lot of high-quality services for youth experiencing a variety of conditions and psychological concerns. And that level of care recommended really depends on what's going on for your child, what's going on for your family, trying to figure out what works best and what is the most supportive to improve health outcomes in our community.




Dr. Mike Patrick: Yeah, absolutely. And we will put a link to the Big Lots Behavioral Health Services in the show notes so you can find it very easily, along with On Our Sleeves, the movement for children's mental health.


Of course, a lot of people who are going to be listening to this program are not in Central Ohio. They're somewhere else in the United States. And you likely have great resources near you as well. And probably the best place to look for those is going to be with your child's primary care home. Whoever your medical provider is for your child, they likely have supported lots of kids who identify as LGBTQ+ and would know what resources may be available in your particular community.


However, a lot of the sites that we're going to have in the show notes do have places where you can put in your zip code and will identify local resources for you that are trustworthy and supportive. So please do check that out.




All right, well, once again, Dr. Lea Taylor, pediatric psychologist here at Nationwide Children's Hospital. Thank you so much for stopping by today and helping us all understand LGBTQ+ youth and ways that we can support them. Thanks so much for stopping by.


Dr. Lea Taylor: Yeah, and thank you so much for having me. And thank you, everyone, for listening.




Dr. Mike Patrick: We are back with just enough time to say thanks once again to all of you for taking time out of your day and making PediaCast a part of it. Really do appreciate that.




Also, thanks to our guest this week, Dr. Lea Taylor, pediatric psychologist at Nationwide Children's Hospital.


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Thanks again for stopping by and until next time, this is Dr. Mike saying stay safe, stay healthy, and stay involved with your kids. So long everybody.






Announcer 2: This program is a production of Nationwide Children's. Thanks for listening. We'll see you next time on PediaCast.


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