44 Self-Esteem Resources for Nonbinary Adolescents and Teens
Self-esteem can lead to positive mental health outcomes but can be thwarted by negative messaging from peers, parents, school communities and social media. Nonbinary youth who experience stigmatization based on their gender identity are at greater risk for negative mental health outcomes such as depression, anxiety and feelings of suicide.
Giving adolescents and teens access to information and ideas about gender diversity can help them build a positive self-image and lead to positive mental health outcomes throughout their adulthood.
Understanding Gender Identity and Self-Image
Language can be a powerful way to help young people feel empowered and seen. Using affirming language when addressing or discussing gender with young people starts with knowing a variety of gender-related vocabulary terms and what they mean.
Gender Diverse Vocabulary to Know:
Agender: when a person doesn’t identify with any gender.
Gender dysphoria: the feeling of confusion or frustration a person experiences when they feel conflict between their gender and the sex they were assigned at birth.
Gender fluid: when a person moves between gender identities without ascribing to a specific one.
Gender queer: when a person is curious or exploring their gender identity.
Nonbinary: when a person does not ascribe to the traditional gender binary of male or female.
Transgender: when a person’s gender identity is different than the biological sex they were given at birth.
Source: Gender Dysphoria and Identity – Kids & Teens, Raising Children.
Affirming and supporting gender exploration can help with self esteem and benefit other mental health outcomes. Counselors, parents and teachers can help, but many young people may find it beneficial to seek out answers about their identity through their own searching.
Digital Resources for Self-Esteem
No matter your gender identity, support is available. Use the links below to navigate to different types of resources for nonbinary youth, their parents and their care providers.
Articles About Gender Identity and Self-Esteem
- Gender Creative Kids: online space for kids to explore gender identity and their own feelings about self-expression.
- Positive and Negative Body Image as a Teen, Teen Central: guide for teens to understand body image and how to address feelings of negative self-image.
- Self-Care Resources for Trans and Non-Binary Folks, George Mason University: strategies for gender-diverse youth and young adults for taking care of their mental and physical health.
- Worried About Your Gender Identity? Advice for Teenagers, National Health Service: answers to teens’ frequently asked questions about gender identity.
- Coming Out: Living Authentically as Transgender or Non-Binary, Human Rights Campaign: online guidebook for people seeking support in their coming-out process.
- Understanding Non-Binary People: How to Be Respectful and Supportive, National Center for Transgender Equality: information and ideas about how to empower nonbinary communities.
- NYC-Metro Area Transgender and Non-Binary Community Resources (PDF, 635KB), Callen-Lorde Community Health Center and Mount Sinai Health System: downloadable list of phone lines, organizations and resources for gender-diverse people in need of assistance.
- Resource Library, Rainbow Health Ontario: searchable library of information, toolkits, reports and more for supporting LGBTQ+ community members’ mental health.
- Two-Spirit and LGBTQ+ Proud, Prepared, Protected, Canadian Virtual Hospice: online resources for people seeking information about gender-inclusive, respectful care.
- Affirming Care for Every Body, National Eating Disorder Information Center: resources for 2SLGBTQ+ individuals who are seeking care or support for an eating disorder.
- You Are Made of Medicine, Native Youth Sexual Health Network: peer support manual for Indigiqueer, two-Spirit, LGBTQ+ and gender-diverse Indigenous youth.
- Gender identity, Caring For Kids Child Protective Services: article explaining vocabulary, common misconceptions and ideas about gender inclusivity and identity.
Podcasts About Self-Esteem and Gender Identity
- NB: My Non-Binary Life, BBC Radio: show hosted by Caitlin Benedict and Amrou Al-Kadhi who explore gender identity and real-life experiences.
- Gender Reveal, Tuck Woodstuck: show featuring gender-diverse guests discussing current events and answering questions about identity.
- The Happy Place, Ben Pechey: uplifting series with a nonbinary host who takes listeners through weekly pep talks.
- Gender Stories, Alex Iantaffi: show exploring people’s life experiences and relationships with gender.
- Outspoken Voices Podcast, Family Equality: show created for people with LGBTQ+ families to explore community, equality and advocacy.
- Just Breathe: Parenting Your LGBTQ Teen, Heather Hester: show exploring a mother’s perspective on LGBTQ+ empowerment and education.
Self-Esteem Activities for Nonbinary Adolescents and Teens
- The Coming Out Handbook, The Trevor Project: toolkit to guide people through questions and ideas about identity, gender and sexuality.
- All Bodies Deserve: Creating the Future of Us, Cultural Power: coloring pages with themes of gender equity and identity for adolescents, teens and young adults.
- Free Downloads, The Gender Wheel: free, printable resources with activities for children to learn about gender diversity and identity.
- Additional Resources, The Gender Wheel: classroom activities for teachers or parents to use with young people about gender identity and expression.
- Gegi the Unicorn: an interactive site that focuses on how to advocate at school for yourself or a loved one.
Self-Esteem Activities for Nonbinary Youth
- Must-Read Books by Transgender, Non-Binary, and Gender Non-Conforming Authors, Penguin Random House: curated list of recommended books about gender diversity and expression.
- Children’s Picture Books, Queerspawn Resource Project: extensive list of picture books about gender expression for young children and their families to read together.
- My Rainbow, DeShanna Neal and Trinity Neal: written by a mother-daughter duo about the strength of family relationships and affirmation.
- Beyond the Gender Binary, Alok Vaid-Menon: story from a nonbinary author about gender identity as a form of creative expression.
- Being Jazz, Jazz Jennings: memoir from a transgender teen about growth and self-discovery.
- Zenobia July, Lisa Bunker: coming-of-age novel about a trans girl solving mysteries in her town.
- The Ship We Built, Lexie Bean: a novel following a young nonbinary protagonist who explores bravery, secrecy and self-discovery.
Resources For Parents
- Respect and Self-Esteem – Talking About Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity with Our Kids (PDF, 419KB), Rainbow Health Ontario: guide for parents in the LGBTQ+ community for navigating discussions of their own sexual orientation or gender identity with their children.
- Gender Dysphoria in Teens, Evolve Treatment: mental health resources for parents of teens experiencing gender dysphoria, focusing on supporting and encouraging teens to explore their identities and feelings.
- I’m a Teen Who Is Nonbinary: Here’s What I Wish Parents Would Know About Gender, Parents: essay from a non-binary teen discussing themes and ideas that can be helpful to parents of non-binary children.
- It’s Important For Your Teen to See a Therapist, Parents: encouragement for parents who may feel on the fence about letting their teen begin counseling or therapy for any reason.
- A Guide to Being an Ally to Transgender and Nonbinary Youth, The Trevor Project: educational resource about best practices for supporting young nonbinary and trans people.
- Unconditional Love, The Get REAL Movement: online resource to support families navigating their child’s process of coming out.
- Family Support: Resources for Families of Transgender & Gender Diverse Children, Movement Advancement Project: research and additional resources for families to understand the realities and complexities of supporting gender-diverse youth.
- Gender Identity, Child Protective Services California: answers to frequently asked questions about gender diversity for families who are new to gender dysphoria or are seeking additional support for their nonbinary or trans child.
- Helping Transgender and Non-Binary Teens, Marietta Counseling Center: guidance for parents on understanding, respecting and supporting their nonbinary teen.
Resources For Clinicians
- Guidelines for Gender-affirming Primary Care with Trans and Non-binary Patients (PDF, 318KB), Rainbow Health Ontario: printable guide for care providers to understand and affirm the identies of trans and non-binary patients or clients.
- The TransFormed Project: video lecture series featuring bilingual, community-based research about caring for nonbinary and trans patients who are survivors of intimate partner violence.
- A Place of Respect, National Center for Lesbian Rights: guide for group care facilities serving nonbinary and transgender youth.
- Gender: Your Guide, Dr. Lee Airton: inclusive primer on navigating and understanding gender diversity and identity.