HHS Guide for LGBTI2-S Youth Tells Educators: Don’t Say Boyfriend or Girlfriend — Ask ‘Are You Seeing Anyone’

The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is promoting a guide for “educators, human services providers and allies” that “provides information for educators, human service providers and allies about supporting the health and well-being of children and youth who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex and/or two-spirit (LGBTQI2-S) and their families.”

“Respect and acknowledge the identity of young people who are LGBTQI2-S by using acceptable and inclusive language in documents and discussions,” the guide states. “For example, ask ‘are you seeing anyone?’ rather than, ‘do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend?

“Ask ‘what name do you prefer to be called?’ and ‘what is your preferred gender pronoun,’” the guide states.

The eight-page guide by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) published in 2014 includes photos of gay, lesbian and transgender teens and advice on everything from “coming out” and the definition of sexual orientation and gender identity, to using language that shows “respect” for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, Intersex and Two- Spirit – the Native American term used for homosexuality.