EmpowerMT supports, mobilizes, and engages LGBTQ+ youth and allies as leaders in tackling individual and institutional transphobia and homophobia in an effort to build safer schools and communities.  This is accomplished through our local LGBTQ+ drop-in group Youth Forward, the development of statewide Gender and Sexuality Alliances (formerly Gay-Straight Alliances) youth leaders and adult mentors, and by coordinating a coalition of statewide partners working towards LGBTQ+ inclusion through the Montana Safe Schools Coalition. EmpowerMT is a sought-out resource and model for supporting, empowering, and creating safe spaces for LGBTQ+ youth in Montana.

MONTANA Gender & Sexuality Alliance (GSA)

Research shows that GSAs provide a safe space for students to find support and safety within their school environment.  EmpowerMT has long been recognized for empowering LGBTQ+ youth across the state of Montana and in 2012 we were designated the Montana statewide coordinator for the GSA Network.  The Montana GSA Network provides support to these student clubs to improve their school climate for all students through:

  • Supporting GSAs: we provide support and guidance for all clubs – from emerging GSAs to well-established groups seeking to take on a significant project.
  • Leadership Development: tailored training to empower LGBTQ+ student leaders and allies.  We also support GSA advisers and other school staff and administration.
  • Resources and Tools: compilation of local, statewide, and national resources, tools, and media catalog for students, educators, and families.

For questions about starting a GSA, improving your GSA, requests for resources or more please contact us at



LGBTQ+ Youth Resources

GSA and Other Resources Map

Above is a map of resources for LGBTQ+ youth in the state of Montana. If you know of a resource that does not exist on the map, please email with the resource’s information.

As an organization that strives to support LGBTQ+ youth, we have listed some valuable resources below. If you have further questions that are not answered by these resources, do not hesitate to contact us for any questions you may have.

Check out Rainbow Over the Rockies, an annual summit for LGBTQ+ youth, families, professionals and allies, providing resources and networking opportunities to benefit the physical, mental, emotional and social health and wellness of all members of the LGBTQ+ community. Click here to access their resources.

Coming Out As You!

Coming Out As You is a new pocket-sized resource that helps youth navigate the coming out experience in a safe way that encourages critical thinking. You can download the worksheets online, at


Find resources and publications for clinicians, researchers, and other health professionals related to LGBT health. Links to non-Federal organizations found at this site are provided solely as a service to our users. These links do not constitute an endorsement of these organizations or their programs by CDC or the Federal Government, and none should be inferred.

LGBTQ+ Community Resources for Substance Abuse

Tobacco Whatever the reason, alcohol dependence can quickly become dangerous or even deadly if left unaddressed. Regular, excessive use may even lead to alcoholism, a condition in which a person is psychologically and physically dependent on alcohol.

Teen Drug and Alcohol Abuse

Drugs have a more drastic effect on children and teens than on adults because the brain continues to develop until about age 25. As children grow older, the brain develops unevenly. The parts of the brain in charge of coordination, emotion and motivation develop much more quickly than the parts that control reasoning and impulse.

LGBTQ+ and Addiction: Causes, Resources and Treatment

“One of the biggest things I struggle with as a trans woman is accepting myself, honestly. This society does not cater to me or to people like me, so I’m always in a constant battle of validating my own identity while having society tell me to throw it away.”

Gender Spectrum | Gender Spectrum HomepageGender Spectrum

Gender Spectrum has years of experience in creating safe, successful online spaces

LGBTQ and Addiction – Addiction in LGBTQ Community – Addiction Center

Rates of drug abuse and addiction in the LGBTQ+ community are disturbingly higher than those of other groups. Discrimination, societal pressures and co-occurring disorders are just a few potential triggers for drug abuse in this population.

What is Alcohol Addiction? Symptoms, Withdrawal, and Treatment.

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LGBTQ+ Parent Resources

Some resources and tips for parents that will help you best support your LGBTQ+ child:

Talk and listen. Parents who talk with and listen to their teen in a way that invites an open discussion about sexual orientation can help their teen feel loved and supported. Parents should have honest conversations with their teens about sex, and about how to avoid risky behavior and unsafe or high-risk situations.

Provide support. Parents who take time to come to terms with how they feel about their teen’s sexual orientation will be more able to respond calmly and use respectful language. Parents should develop common goals with their teen, including being healthy and doing well in school.

Stay involved. Parents who make an effort to know their teen’s friends and know what their teen is doing can help their teen stay safe and feel cared about.

Be proactive. Parents can access many organizations and online information resources to learn more about how they can support their LGBTQ+ teen, other family members, and their teen’s friends.

Engage with your child. Your lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer (LGBTQ+) child requires and deserves the same level of care, respect, information, and support as non-LGBTQ+ children. Ask questions, listen, empathize, share and just be there for your child.

Get the facts about sexual orientation and gender identity. Learn new language and the correct terminology to communicate effectively about sexual orientation and gender identity. Challenge yourself to learn and to go beyond stereotyped images of LGBTQ+ people.

Here’s a quick lesson on two frequently misunderstood terms:

  • Sexual orientation—Describes to whom a person feels attraction: people of the opposite gender, the same gender, or both genders.
  • Gender identity—A person’s inner sense of gender—male, female, some of each, neither. Transgender people have a gender identity that is different from the gender to which they were  assigned at birth.

Some people ask, “Isn’t transgender just like being gay?” No. Transgender describes a person’s internal sense of gender identity. Sexual orientation describes a person’s feelings of attraction toward other people. Transgender people have some things in common with gay, lesbian,bisexual and queer communities, but gender identity is not the same as sexual orientation.

Get to know the community. What resources are available? Find out if there is a Gender & Sexuality Alliance (GSA) at school, a community group for LGBTQ+ and questioning teens, a bookstore with a selection of books and magazines on LGBTQ+ issues, or a LGBTQ+ community center nearby.

Explore the Internet. There is a growing amount of excellent information on the Internet that connects people with support and materials on these important topics. Three excellent Web sites are Youth Resource, Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays, and Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN). For a diverse selection of links to a variety of LGBTQ+ sites, including education, family, health and wellness, and multiple identities. 

Find out where your local Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) meets. Many parents say that their connections with other parents of GLBT kids made a world of difference in their progress toward understanding their young people. Finding another person you can trust to share your experience with is invaluable. Many people have gone through similar things and their support, lessons learned, and empathy can be very valuable.

Don’t make it ALL there is … just because your child has come out as LGBTQ+ does not mean the young person’s whole world revolves around sexual orientation or gender identity. It will be a big part of who the youth is, especially during the process of figuring it all out, including what being LGBTQ+ means to them. Still, being LGBTQ+ isn’t the sum of life for your child, and it is vital to encourage your child in other aspects of life, such as school, sports, hobbies, friends, and part-time jobs.

ASK your child before you “come out” to others on the child’s behalf. Friends and family members might have questions or want to know what’s up; but it is most important to be respectful of what your child wants. Don’t betray your child’s trust!

Praise your LGBTQ+ child for coming to you to discuss this issue. Encourage the youth to continue to keep you “in the know.” If your child turns to you to share personal information, you’re must be doing something right! You are approachable. You’re sending out consistent verbal and non-verbal cues that say, “Yes, I’ll listen. Please talk to me!” Give yourself some credit—your LGBTQ+ child chose to come out to you. Congratulations!

Find out what kind of support, services, and education are in place at your child’s school. Does the school and/or school district have a non-discrimination policy? Is a there a LGBTQ+/straight support group? Do you know any “out” people, or their friends and loved ones, to whom you can turn for information? (Before doing so, again refer to tip number 7, above. Ask your child if it’s okay for you to “come out” about the child.)

Educate yourself on local, state and national laws and polices regarding LGBTQ+ people. On the national level, LGBTQ+ people are still second-class citizens in regard to some national policies and their rights are not guaranteed by law. Consider educating yourself about this and finding out what you can do to work toward extending equal rights to LGBTQ+ people in the United States. A good place to start is the National LGBTQ Task Force.

Check out Rainbow Over the Rockies, an annual summit for LGBTQ+ youth, families, professionals and allies, providing resources and networking opportunities to benefit the physical, mental, emotional and social health and wellness of all members of the LGBTQ+ community. Click here to access their resources.

LGBTQ Resource List

PoliticalEquality FederationHuman Rights Campaign (HRC)National LGBTQ Task ForceVictory FundBisexual BIENESTARBiNetUSABisexual.orgBisexual Resource CenterYouthGay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN)GSA NetworkLGBTQ Student Resources & SupportPoint FoundationSafe Schools CoalitionThe Trevor ProjectMilitaryThe American Military Partner Association (AMDA)American Veterans for Equal RightsOutServe-Service Members Legal Defense NetworkPalm CenterTransgender American Veterans AssociationVeterans for Human RightsTransgenderNational Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE)Sylvia Rivera Law Pro


The PFLAG Chapter Network–with over 400 chapters across the country–provides confidential peer support, education, and advocacy to LGBTQ+ people, their parents and families, and allies. PFLAG chapters are in communities in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Family Acceptance Project ® |

The Family Acceptance Project® is a research, intervention, education and policy initiative to prevent health and mental health risks for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer-identified (LGBTQ) children and youth, including suicide, homelessness, drug use and HIV – in the context of their families, cultures and faith communities.

Click to access LGBT_Brief.pdf

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health

People who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) are members of every community. They are diverse, come from all walks of life, and include people of all races and ethnicities, all ages, all socioeconomic statuses, and from all parts of the country.

Click to access resources.pdf


Here are some tips for making sure that your school is inclusive and capable of meeting the needs of LGBTQ+ youth:

Encourage respect for all students and prohibit bullying, harassment, and violence against all students.

Identify “safe spaces,” such as counselors’ offices, designated classrooms, or student organizations, where LGBTQ youth can receive support from administrators, teachers, or other school staff.

Encourage student-led and student-organized school clubs that promote a safe, welcoming, and accepting school environment (e.g., gay-straight alliances, which are school clubs open to youth of all sexual orientations).

Ensure that health curricula or educational materials include HIV, other STD, or pregnancy prevention information that is relevant to LGBTQ youth (such as ensuring that curricula or materials use inclusive language or terminology).

Encourage school district and school staff to develop and publicize trainings on how to create safe and supportive school environments for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, and encourage staff to attend these trainings.

Facilitate access to community-based providers who have experience providing health services, including HIV/STD testing and counseling, to LGBTQ youth.

Facilitate access to community-based providers who have experience in providing social and psychological services to LGBTQ youth.