Online Professional Development on Supporting LGBTQ Students


These professional development Zoom webinars are developed and shared by the Safe Schools Program for LGBTQ Students, administered by the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth with support from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. They are geared toward k-12 educators, but are free and open for anyone to register!

All webinars are capped at 100 participants, so please do not wait to register, and cancel if you cannot make it, as a courtesy to those who would like to attend. Some webinars will be released as recordings following the live event and made available on our YouTube channel.

*Please note that we are not able to issue PDPs or CEUs for these webinars at this time.*

In addition to the PD sessions offered below, please explore our official webpage, our resources for youth, and our Virtual GSA calendar. To request individual school or district trainings, please visit https://tinyurl.com/safe-schools-ma.


Effective Strategies for Supporting LGBTQ Students of Color

Thursday, May 28th from 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM | Presenter: Jason Wheeler

Racism, homophobia, and transphobia are commonly experienced by LGBTQ youth of color in schools. Join a conversation with educators from across Massachusetts about how we can create learning environments that begin to address some of the complex challenges that are uniquely experienced by LGBTQ students of color.

Register here


Starting and Strengthening School-based GSAs

Tuesday, June 2nd from 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM | Presenter: Jason Wheeler

Let’s begin to pave the way for successful GSAs (Gender and Sexuality Alliances) in the upcoming academic year. GSAs provide opportunities for students to be social, support each other and engage in school-wide activism. This 101-level session will provide an introduction to GSAs, will offer some sample activities for GSA members, suggestions about overcoming challenges, and ideas for how to successfully establish a youth-led and adult-supported space. We will also discuss ideas to connect virtually with students when schools are closed.

Register here


Creating Gender Inclusive Schools: Four Discrete Approaches

Thursday, June 4th from 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM | Presenter: Jason Wheeler

This session will highlight one of the resources available from Gender Spectrum. When thinking about the creation of gender inclusive schools, it is often helpful to consider the following entry points: Internal, Interpersonal, Instructional and Institutional.

Register here


Focus on Middle School GSAs

Tuesday, June 9th from 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM | Presenter: Jason Wheeler

GSAs have a positive impact on student social and emotional wellbeing, this can positively impact their academic performance. The number of GSAs in middle schools is rapidly increasing throughout the country. The session will highlight effective practices for starting, strengthening and maintaining middle school GSAs, and how they differ from GSAs at the high school level. This will be a participatory workshop in which educators share practices they have found to be successful.

Register here


Student Voices: Leadership, Safety, Belonging & Allyship

Thursday, June 11th from 2:00 PM – 3:30 PM | Presenter: Jason Wheeler

Join us for a discussion with student leaders from across Massachusetts. Students will discuss a broad range of topics such as leadership, safety, belonging and allyship. Key resources to support students will be highlighted throughout this conversation.

Registration will open soon


Days of Action & Education

Tuesday, June 16th from 10:00 AM – 11:30 AM | Presenter: Jason Wheeler

This session will support educators in thinking about school-wide events and days of actions that might be beneficial as we plan for the next academic year.  Now is the time to begin thinking about LGBTQ-inclusive events and strategies to address topics related to student and family diversity. This session will help schools to think creatively about ways to ensure all students and families feel safe and welcome.

Registration will open soon


Webinar Recordings


Fostering LGBTQ Visibility in Schools

The National School Climate Survey shows that just knowing that there are supportive educators at school can help LGBTQ students feel better about being in school. Visibility is key and oftentimes fairly simple. This session will highlight a variety of ways to be a visible ally to LGBTQ students, and share resources to bring to your own school.

Watch a recording of this webinar here


Promoting Resilience and Healthy Outcomes for LGBTQ Students

Hosted by the Massachusetts Partnerships for Youth

Monday, April 13th, 2020 from 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM | Presenters: Landon Callahan & Jeff Perrotti

This interactive webinar will highlight policies, best practices, and resources for supporting LGBTQ students and families, with a focus on transgender and gender nonconforming students. It will feature the experiences of preK-12 students, parents, and educators who have successfully navigated this terrain. Participants will learn strategies to foster resilience and provide support during this challenging time.

Watch a Recording of This Webinar Here


Previous Topics


Ensuring Safe and Supportive Learning Environments for LGBTQ Students

The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education published a set of nine principles designed to ensure schools are safe and supportive learning environments for LGBTQ students. This session will highlight each principle and provide resources for schools to help achieve each of these recommendations.


Responding to Harmful Language

LGBTQ students frequently hear anti-LGBTQ language and experience name-calling and verbal harassment. Interrupting this harmful language is one of the most critical actions you can take as an ally. This session will highlight effective strategies for intervening when you hear anti-LGBTQ language and behavior.


Supporting Students in Coming Out

As an ally, LGBTQ students may share information with you regarding their identity. This session will highlight strategies to respond, support and provide ongoing resources for students who come out to you.


Practice Effective Allyship: The Basics of Terminology

One of the first actions of an ally to LGBTQ students is using accurate and affirming language to discuss sexual orientation, gender expression and gender identity. This session will provide educators with the basics to better understand some of the complex terms students use to discuss who they are, how they feel most comfortable and who they are attracted to.


Celebrating Gender Diversity in Schools: An Introduction for Educators

The basics of gender identity will be introduced, including the use of pronouns and their importance, what it means to be trans or nonbinary, and how to create school environments that are inclusive of gender diversity. There will be time for some questions, and resources for further learning will be shared.


Exploring Elementary School LGBTQ-Inclusive Student Support Clubs

All students require school communities where they see themselves and their families valued and reflected. Student support clubs in elementary schools can provide children with affirming spaces to discuss diversity, families and personal experiences. Join this online conversation about creating spaces for elementary students to connect, have fun and change the world.


State Agency Trainings


In addition to trainings and webinars for educators, the Commission has developed a training for state agency employers, contractors, and grantees. The following topics have previously been presented in an online format. You can request a training by emailing commission@ma-lgbtq.org

LGBTQ Communities and State Services

The Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth is pleased to offer this training on LGBTQ issues that it has developed in collaboration with the Executive Office of Health and Human Services over the past three years. This training is designed for state employees, contractors, providers, and those who work at state-funded programs. This innovative training’s focus on Massachusetts law, policy, and data sets it apart as a unique opportunity for those who work for the state or for state-funded programs.