We are an organization dedicated to inclusiveness. We celebrate the diversity of every person who walks through our doors; whether a Big, Little, Parent, employee, board member or community partner.
Be A Big Ally
- Listen: When it comes to being an ally, it is important to not only hear what your Little is saying but really listen. If your Little opens up to you about harassment or bullying, let them guide the narrative.
- Respect Privacy: If your Little opens up to you, recognize the trust they are placing in you. Ask questions to learn more and to get clarity on how you can be supportive and with whom this news can be discussed. Avoid premature problem-solving. Follow the youth’s lead. Please do talk with your Match Support Specialist so we can offer resources and work with the youth to determine ways to be supportive. Do not share with the parent; this is the youth’s news to share when and how they determine. Our job is to support them along the way!
- Implicit Biases: Be aware of them. We implore you to dip into self-reflection. Before you respond to something your Little says about their identity or sexuality, acknowledge that systemic homophobia, transphobia, and heterosexism may impact your efforts in being an ally. Be forward-thinking in ways that you can recognize and challenge your own biases.
- Continue Learning: While we have several resources listed within this website, your Match Support Specialist has tons of articles to share, too! Your Match Support Specialist can give you webinar dates, in-house training opportunities, or engage in a conversation with you that allows you to best find ways to be the best ally possible for your Little.
Adapted from BBBS Kentuckiana
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
BIG FAQS (LGBTQ)
I’m Interested in Becoming a Big…
1. How do I know BBBS is a safe space for members of the LGBTQ community?
2. Your organization is called “Big Brothers Big Sisters”, can I be a mentor if I identify as trans, non-binary, or gender fluid?
3. Will you use my preferred pronouns?
4. If I identify as LGBTQ, do I have to be matched with an LGBTQ Little?
5. Do I need to identify as LGBTQ to be matched with an LGBTQ Little?
6. How can I become an LGBTQ Ally within BBBS?
7. If I identify as trans or non-binary, would I be matched with a Little Sister or a Little Brother?
I’m Curious about my Privacy …
1. Why does BBBS ask about my orientation and gender?
2. If I, as a Big, disclose my gender identity or orientation to the agency, who will this information be shared with? Will the family of a Little know? What if I identify as LGBTQ, but I am not “out” in my own personal circle?
3. What if I identify as LGBTQ, but I am not comfortable disclosing this to the agency during an interview to be a Big?
Conversations with my Little …
1. Will there be a consistent staff person that I can rely on for any issues that arise during my match?
2. What are appropriate boundaries for conversations regarding gender identity and orientation with my Little (either mine, theirs, or my opinion of others’)?
3. Can I share my own experiences of “coming out” with my Little?
LGBTQ YOUTH/ FAMILY FAQS
I’m interested in Enrolling my Child …
1. My child has disclosed to me that they identify as LGBTQ, but they are not comfortable sharing this with anyone else yet. How do I approach this in regards to the program?
2. I think my child might be questioning, but I am not certain. Am I able to request an LGBTQ Big for them?
3. Will the waiting period for my child to be matched be longer if my child discloses they identify LGBTQ?
During the Match…
1. My child has been matched for awhile now, and just recently indicated that they have changed their preferred pronouns, will their Big and the agency respect this?
2. My child is matched, but has recently disclosed that they are trans and would like to go by a different name. Will the agency respect this?
1. I believe my child is being picked on or bullied at school due to their gender/orientation. What can I do?
If you believe that they are in imminent danger, please contact 911.
If they are not in urgent danger, but you believe their mental and physical health is being affected by incidents at school, please reach out to your Match Support Specialist and start this conversation with them. Your Match Support Specialist will be able to connect you to various resources in the area for you and your child, can connect you with individuals at the school that may be able to help, and will be able to help you create a plan of action to have this concern alleviated. Although bullying is a complex issue, your Match Support Specialist has the expertise and available resources to be your ally in navigating this situation.
2. I am a Little and I don’t feel safe at home or at school due to my gender/orientation, what do I do?
If you feel that you are in imminent danger, contact 911 immediately.
However, if you don’t feel that you are in immediate danger, but have concerns for your safety and/or wellbeing or any reason, please reach out to a trusted adult as soon as possible and let them know your concerns. This adult could include your Big, your Match Support Specialist, your Enrollment Specialist, or any staff at BBBS of Northwest Arkansas. If, for any reason, the first adult you talk to does not take you seriously or does not follow up on your concerns, please reach out to another adult.
Youth and Family Resources
NWA Equality Northwest
Arkansas Equality is a nonprofit organization providing programming, education, and advocacy to serve, connect, and empower the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community. We provide support groups, resources, and social and community outreach events. Each summer ,we produce Arkansas’ largest LGBTQ Pride celebration, Northwest Arkansas Pride
PFLAG of Northwest Arkansas-
PFLAG provides support, advocacy & education to members of the LGBTQ+ spectrum, their families, allies & community. Since 2014 “PFLAG” is no longer an acronym, just the name of our organization.
Transgender Equality Network-
TEN foresees a world where transgender people are able to live and thrive as fully accepted members of society. To live in a world free of discrimination and violence.
The LGBT Project fights discrimination and moves public opinion through the courts, legislatures and public education across five issue areas: Relationships, Youth & Schools, Parenting, Gender Identity and Expression and Discrimination in Employment, Housing and other areas.
Human Rights Campaign-Arkansas
We’ve spent 40 years creating the most powerful movement for equality our country has ever seen. But despite this progress, our most marginalized are still suffering from violence, discrimination, and fear. Our goal is to ensure that all LGBTQ people, and particularly those of us who are trans, people of color and HIV+, are treated as full and equal citizens within our movement, across our country and around the world.
Lucie’s Place provides LGBTQ Young Adults experiencing homelessness in Central Arkansas with safe living environments, job training and counseling services in order to ensure lifelong stability and success, and works to promote equality and acceptance for LGBTQ young adults.
The Trevor Project
The Trevor Project provides lifesaving and life-affirming services to LGBTQ youth. If you need support, call the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386.
GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders – GLAD
Through strategic litigation, public policy advocacy, and education, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders works in New England and nationally to create a just society free of discrimination based on gender identity and expression, HIV status, and sexual orientation.
Transgender Student Rights-
Transgender Student Rights works to create safe schools for all, regardless of gender identity and expression.
GLSEN works to ensure that LGBTQ students are able to learn and grow in a school environment free from bullying and harassment. Together we can transform our nation’s schools into the safe and affirming environment all youth deserve.
Transgender Law Center-National organization-
Transgender Law Center (TLC) is the largest national trans-led organization advocating for a world in which all people are free to define themselves and their futures. Grounded in legal expertise and committed to racial justice, TLC employs a variety of community-driven strategies to keep transgender and gender nonconforming people alive, thriving, and fighting for liberation.
inTRANSitive is a Trans migrant led organization working on providing education and celebrating Trans resilience. Mission:
To improve the lives of Trans Arkansans through education, organizing and celebration of our resilience.