How to Start an LGBTQ+ Support Group

LGBTQ+ support group

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Are you eager to establish a supportive environment for the LGBTQ+ community in your area? Creating an LGBTQ+ support group can be a transformative experience, providing a safe space to share stories, gain empowerment, and celebrate authenticity.

Building connections within an LGBTQ+ support group involves crucial steps. First, collaborate with a trusted co-organizer to plan the group’s mission, goals, and logistics. Securing an appropriate meeting venue, like an LGBTQ+ community center or public space, is vital.

Your LGBTQ+ support group may start small, but with patience and consistent outreach, it can grow into a vibrant community. Develop a strategic outreach plan, including a strong social media presence and connections with local service providers, to attract participants.

As organizers, practice self-care and ask for help when needed. Utilize available resources, like facilitation guides, and explore intersectionality and microaggressions to strengthen the support group and ensure inclusivity.

Key Takeaways

  • Collaborate with a trusted co-organizer to plan the group’s mission, goals, and logistics.
  • Secure an appropriate meeting space, such as an LGBTQ+ community center or public venue.
  • Be patient as the group may start small, but consistent outreach can help it grow.
  • Develop a strategic outreach plan, including social media and community connections.
  • Practice self-care and don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed.
  • Utilize available resources to strengthen the support group and ensure inclusivity.


Collaborate and Find a Partner

Starting an LGBTQ+ support group is easier with a trusted partner.2 Discuss the group’s mission, goals, frequency, duration, and location.2 Having a co-organizer makes launching this meaningful project smoother.

A co-organizer provides invaluable support.3 Defining the mission and goals together streamlines planning. Address logistical details collaboratively.

Identify a Trusted Co-Organizer

The right co-organizer is key for an LGBTQ+ support group. Find someone trustworthy to divide responsibilities. Ensure you share the vision.

Define the Group’s Mission and Goals

Clearly define the mission and goals. This guides outreach, programming, and serving the LGBTQ+ community.

Discuss Logistics: Frequency, Duration, and Location

Determine meeting frequency, duration, location.4 Consider LGBTQ+ community centers, public spaces, or virtual platforms.

Secure a Meeting Space

A suitable meeting space is crucial for an LGBTQ+ support group.5 LGBTQ+ community centers may host the group’s meetings without cost. If unavailable, explore free public spaces like libraries or parks.51 Virtual meetings using online platforms offer a viable alternative.

Explore LGBTQ+ Community Centers

LGBTQ+ community centers provide inclusive, affirming spaces for LGBTQ+ individuals. These spaces offer a safe haven for the support group.

Consider Public Spaces Like Libraries or Parks

Free public spaces like libraries or parks offer neutral, accessible environments for support group meetings when LGBTQ+ centers are unavailable.5

Utilize Online Platforms for Virtual Meetings

Virtual meetings via online platforms allow reaching wider audiences. They provide flexibility for participants unable to attend in-person gatherings.1

Meeting Space Advantages Disadvantages
LGBTQ+ Community Centers
  • Inclusive and affirming environment
  • Potential to host meetings for free
  • Limited availability or not present in all areas
Public Spaces (Libraries, Parks)
  • Accessible and cost-effective
  • Neutral meeting ground
  • May not provide the same level of privacy or inclusivity
Virtual Meetings
  • Reach a wider audience
  • Convenient for participants
  • Cost-effective
  • Lack of in-person connection and interaction
  • Potential technological barriers

Start Small and Be Patient

It’s normal for an LGBTQ+ support group to start small. This source explains it may take months to attract consistent participants.6 The key is persistence, consistency in outreach, staying engaged, and patience. Even a small group provides an incredibly important service.

Building an LGBTQ+ support group takes time. Starting small and showing patience are essential. With dedication, consistently reaching out to potential members, your group can gradually grow. It can become a meaningful community and support for LGBTQ+ individuals you serve.

Develop an Outreach Strategy

Creating awareness and boosting participation are vital for an LGBTQ+ support group’s success. One strategy is establishing a Facebook page and regularly inviting people to events. Additionally, sharing group information on local LGBTQ+ Facebook groups can be impactful.

Posting flyers in community spaces and reaching out to local service providers like mental health clinics and LGBTQ+ medical practices are also recommended.7 Social media and physical promotional materials play a crucial role in spreading the word.1

Create Social Media Presence

A Facebook page can powerfully connect you with the LGBTQ+ community and promote your support group. Utilize LGBTQ+ Facebook groups and platforms to share information and invite potential participants.1

Consistently updating and engaging with followers on social media can help build momentum and attract new members over time.

Distribute Flyers and Posters

In addition to digital outreach, create and distribute physical flyers and posters in community spaces where LGBTQ+ individuals gather, such as community centers, colleges, churches, and local businesses.7 This can raise awareness among those less active on social media.

Reach Out to Local Service Providers

Connecting with local LGBTQ+-friendly service providers like mental health clinics, LGBTQ+ medical practices, and advocacy organizations can effectively spread the word about your support group.7 These providers may share information with clients or display promotional materials.

LGBTQ+ support group outreach

Practice Self-Care and Ask for Help

As organizers of an LGBTQ+ support group, self-care is vital.8 There may be days when you can’t hold space for others. It’s okay to take breaks.8

Be willing to ask for help when needed.8 This ensures the group’s continuity.

Rotate Facilitator Roles

Have rotating pairs of co-facilitators to provide backup.8 This maintains engagement and avoids burnout.

Adjust Meeting Frequency as Needed

Adjust the group’s meeting frequency if necessary.8 Move from weekly to biweekly or monthly.

Utilize Available Resources

Facilitating an LGBTQ+ support group comes with valuable resources. Explore facilitation guides from Mental Health America’s Center for Peer Support. Publications from The Icarus Project provide concrete advice.9

These resources offer insights into leading discussions effectively. They help foster open dialogue and create a welcoming environment.9

Refer to Facilitation Guides

The guides highlight best practices for LGBTQ+ support groups. They cover topics like maintaining safe spaces for all participants.9

Explore Intersectionality and Microaggressions

Take an intersectional approach when facilitating. Address potential microaggressions, as members may have multiple marginalized identities.9

LGBTQ+ support group resources

LGBTQ+ support group

The [LGBTQ+ support group] community provides transformative experiences. Connect, empower yourself, and celebrate authenticity. Find a safe space to share, explore your identity, and discover solidarity.

The Ace&Aro+ Affirming Space offers monthly meetings.5 The Bi/Pan+ Social Support Group convenes in-person and virtually.5 The Family Connections group supports families with trans and gender-diverse children.5 The LGBTQ+ Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence Support Group meets virtually.5

The Men in Transition group5 and Non-Binary+ Social Support Group5 create inclusive spaces. The SOFFA of Trans People support group5 and Trans Feminine Social Support Group5 foster understanding and allyship.

The Women’s HIV Empowerment Group5 offers peer support and resources. The YOUth Matter LGBTQ+ Youth Group5 gathers in-person twice monthly for ages 12-18, creating a vibrant, inclusive space.

Virtually, NAMI Connection hosts a Wednesday 7 pm Support Group.9 WeConnect Meetings for LGBTQ+ Community9 and Virtual AA Groups9 provide online support.

The San Diego LGBT Center offers diverse [LGBTQ+ support group] programming.10 From Behavioral Health Services to Diamonds in the Rough for Trans Women and Bi-Pan-Fluid+ Discussion Group,10 the Center supports the community.

Find in-person connection, virtual fellowship, or both. The [LGBTQ+ support group] landscape is rich with opportunities. Find your community, share your story, and cultivate your authentic self. Embrace these supportive spaces for self-discovery and empowerment.

Conduct a Campus Assessment

For campuses aiming to start an LGBTQ+ support group, conducting a thorough assessment is crucial.11 This involves evaluating if LGBTQ+ students feel safe, visible, and connected on campus.11 Identifying existing resources and gaps in support is also essential.

The LGBTQ-Friendly Campus Pride Index and consulting experts like Dr. Susan Rankin can guide the assessment process.11

Evaluate LGBTQ+ Student Experiences

Assessing LGBTQ+ students’ experiences is crucial to understand their needs and concerns.11 Public hearings, interviews, and research surveys can unveil their needs and experiences.11 This data provides valuable insights for developing an effective support group.

Identify Existing Resources and Gaps

Identifying existing resources and gaps in support is important.11 Understanding policies for handling homophobic and transphobic incidents is essential.11 Recognizing institutional support and funding for LGBTQ+ organizations is also crucial.

These insights help address the unique needs of the LGBTQ+ community on campus.11

campus assessment

Build a Coalition of Allies

Creating a successful LGBTQ+ support group requires building allies. Involve supportive faculty, staff, and student advocacy groups.

Involve Supportive Faculty and Staff

Reach out to committed LGBTQ+ inclusion professors and staff. They provide insights, expertise, and navigate obstacles. Inviting them amplifies the group’s impact and visibility.

Collaborate with Other Student Organizations

Connect with racial justice, disability rights, women’s empowerment groups. Collaborate to build a broader support network. Share resources and explore intersectional approaches for community needs.

Develop a Mission Statement

Crafting a compelling mission statement is crucial for your LGBTQ+ support group. This guiding principle gives your group purpose and attracts like-minded individuals.

Reflect on the core values that drove you to start this LGBTQ+ support group. What needs are you addressing? What impact do you want?

The mission of the NC State LGBTQ Pride Center provides a strong example. It focuses on engaging, developing, and empowering LGBTQ+ community members.

Your mission statement should be concise, compelling, and authentic. It should capture your LGBTQ+ support group’s essence resonating with members.

mission statement

With a well-crafted mission statement, you’ll build a thriving, purpose-driven LGBTQ+ support group making a meaningful difference.12

Create a Visible Identity

Develop a distinct visual identity.13 This helps make your LGBTQ+ support group recognizable on campus.

Design an eye-catching logo reflecting the group’s purpose – inclusivity, diversity, and community.13 An impactful symbol establishes strong brand identity.

Promote the group’s mission through various channels to raise awareness.13 Share information on social media, distribute flyers, connect with organizations.

Design a Logo or Symbol

Create a memorable logo representing the group’s values.13 Elements should convey inclusivity, diversity, and community.

The visual identity should stand out, easily recognizable.13 It serves as a visual cue for potential members.

Promote the Group’s Purpose

With a distinct identity, actively promote the group’s purpose.13 Share goals on social media, posters, and with campus resources.

Consistently communicating benefits fosters community, attracts diverse participants.13

Offer Training and Resources

An LGBTQ+ support group offers training and resources to members and allies. According to the third source, this includes organizing LGBTQ+ issue workshops. These educate allies and facilitate personal growth and understanding.

Organize Ally Training Workshops

Hosting LGBTQ+ ally training workshops empowers participants. They become better advocates and supporters. These sessions cover topics like LGBTQ+ terminology, identities, creating inclusive environments, and addressing microaggressions.

Provide Educational Materials

Providing educational materials is valuable. These can include information on LGBTQ+ terms, symbols, myths, and misconceptions. Equipping members and allies fosters deeper understanding and appreciation for diversity.

Foster an Inclusive Environment

An effective LGBTQ+ support group fosters inclusivity. It actively addresses heteronormativity and cisnormativity. The group promotes respect for diverse identities. It encourages understanding and acceptance.

Address Heteronormativity and Cisnormativity

Creating an inclusive space addresses assumptions. The group educates on gender identity nuances. It challenges binary notions of gender. All identities are celebrated and validated.

Promoting respect and acceptance is key. Open discussions and shared stories happen. The group commits to empathizing. Members can embrace their authentic selves.

Promote Respect and Acceptance

Fostering inclusivity actively promotes respect. Acceptance within the group is vital. This creates a welcoming, supportive space. The LGBTQ+ support group empowers individuals.


Establishing an LGBTQ+ support group is impactful and meaningful. It demands thoughtful planning, teamwork, and commitment. Following the outlined steps empowers LGBTQ+ individuals.

The group celebrates diverse identities, fostering connection within the community. LGBTQ+ people often face mental health challenges and suicidality risks. Providing a safe, affirming space makes a profound difference.

Take action, find a trusted partner, and embark on this transformative journey. Your support group cultivates resilience, uplifts voices deserving celebration. The resources guide creating a meaningful, impactful LGBTQ+ support group.14


What are the key steps to starting an LGBTQ+ support group?

Finding a trusted co-organizer is crucial. Define the group’s mission and goals. Secure an appropriate meeting space. Start small, be patient. Develop an outreach strategy. Practice self-care, ask for help. Utilize available resources.

Why is it important to have a co-organizer when starting an LGBTQ+ support group?

A co-organizer helps discuss mission, goals, and logistics. This makes planning easier. You can share responsibilities.

What types of meeting spaces are suitable for an LGBTQ+ support group?

LGBTQ+ community centers may host for free. Libraries or parks are options. Virtual meetings are viable.

What should I expect when starting an LGBTQ+ support group?

Meetings may start small initially. Persist with outreach. Stay engaged, be patient. Small groups provide important services.

How can I effectively promote an LGBTQ+ support group?

Create Facebook page, event invitations. Share on LGBTQ+ groups. Post flyers. Reach local providers.

As an organizer, how do I take care of myself while running an LGBTQ+ support group?

Practice self-care, ask for help. Pace yourself, take breaks. Rotate co-facilitators. Adjust meeting frequency.

What resources are available to support LGBTQ+ support group organizers?

Facilitation guides, like Mental Health America’s. Publications like The Icarus Project’s. Address intersectionality, microaggressions.

How can an LGBTQ+ support group be effective on a college campus?

Assess LGBTQ+ student needs, experiences. Build faculty/staff coalition. Collaborate with student groups. Develop distinct identity.

What kind of training and resources should an LGBTQ+ support group offer?

Organize ally workshops on LGBTQ+ issues. Provide educational materials on terms, symbols, myths.

How can an LGBTQ+ support group foster an inclusive environment?

Address heteronormativity, cisnormativity. Promote respect for identities, orientations. Create a welcoming space.

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