Coming out

Coming out is when a person acknowledges, accepts and appreciates their sexual orientation or gender identity and starts to share it with others. Coming out can happen at any age, and that is okay. A person can choose to come out just to themselves or may be proud to express their LGBTQ+ identity. While the situation is different for everyone, it’s important to find resources that help to create a safe, welcoming space for all LGBTQ+ teens and allies.

Crisis hotlines

LGBTQ+ youth can connect with caring crisis intervention specialists 24 hours a day. Whatever challenges you’re facing, you are not alone. Help is just a phone call away. 

Suicide & Crisis Lifeline 

Call or text 988 (follow prompt to press “3” for a counselor specifically trained in supporting LGBTQI+ callers) or call (330) 452-6000.

LGBT National Help Center

1 (888) 843-4564

LGBT National Youth Talkline

1 (800) 246-7743 (PRIDE)

National Suicide Prevention Hotline

1 (800) 273-8255 (TALK)

1 (877) 565-8860

The Trevor Project

1 (866) 488-7386

Education resources

Buckeye Region Anti-Violence Organization (BRAVO)

Receives calls from victims of crimes relating to the LGBTQ+ community and makes reports about how the community is affected and what changes should be made.

Equality Maps

Find safe communities and learn about State policies throughout the U.S.

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, Inc.

Northeast Ohio chapter information, news and updates.

Human Rights Campaign

HRC is the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization.

Kaleidoscope Youth Center

Support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ+) youth and their allies.

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health

National health education resources for the LGBTQ+ community.

LGBT People of Color

Find resources dedicated to addressing the unique experiences of LGBTQ+ people of color.

Light House Youth & Family Services

Youth homelessness support for young people in Cincinnati.

Safe Zone

Comprehensive cultural competency training and technical assistance to service providers, community organizations, and law enforcement agencies across Ohio.

Star House Columbus

Youth homelessness support for young people in Columbus.

Trans Ohio

Education and advocacy to promote and improve the health, safety and quality of life for transgender individuals in Ohio.

For allies

Considerations When Working with LGBTQ Students of Color

Learn the dos and don’ts for working with students of color in the LGBTQ+ community.

Guide to Becoming a Straight Ally

Demystify the secret to becoming an ally for the LGBTQ+ community.

Guide to Becoming a Trans Ally

Learn about the world of people who are transgender and become a trusted ally.

Free Mom Hugs

Free Mom Hugs in Ohio can be found at Pride and LGBTQ+ community-focused events across the state. Once you register with the Ohio group, they will connect you with the appropriate local chapter. Free Mom Hugs works to empower the world to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community. We embrace people of all faiths, backgrounds, ethnicities, genders, and sexual orientations. Our goal is to change the world simply by showing up.

Our goal is not to replace family relationships, but to display our celebration and love for the LGBTQIA+ community so that family members feel encouraged to do the same. Though we’re known as Free Mom Hugs, we welcome dads, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, grandparents, and friends to be part of this movement of inclusion fueled by love. Our desire is that this work restores relationships, and that families are reconciled through the hope and power of Sara and Parker’s story.

The programs and initiatives we use to accomplish our mission vary, but most often include:

  • Public speaking engagements for corporations, churches, sporting events, schools, and universities.
  • Peaceful demonstrations to show support and advocate for LGBTQIA+ rights.
  • Collaborating with local and national organizations like the Human Rights Campaign, PFLAG, The Trevor Project, and more.
  • Participating in Pride events and parades.
  • Providing resources for individuals and families.
  • Creating programs to educate and uplift communities.
For people of faith

Coming Home

Information to help the LGBTQ+ community to establish and own their spiritual identities.

Religion & Faith

Resources and information to help members of the LGBTQ+ community to express their faith.

Straight for Equality in Faith Communities

Supporting LGBTQ+ people of faith along their spiritual journeys.

Help links

CANAPI: Community AIDS Network/Akron Pride Initiative

HIV support services and LGBTQ+ advocacy.

Equality Ohio

Find news, equality maps and information about issues affecting the LGBTQ+ community.

Explore: Communities of Color

Learn about the unique challenges facing LGBTQ+ people of color.


Leading the conversation for LGBTQ+ engagement and activism.

The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) National Help Center

Free, confidential peer-to-peer support and resources.

Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Community Center of Greater Cleveland

Education, awareness, advocacy and support for the Northeast Ohio LGBTQ+ community.

META Center Inc.

A safe place where trans and gender variant youth can come and gain information and support.


Continuum of substance abuse prevention, intervention and treatment services for members of the LGBTQ+ community.


National network of local crisis centers for people who have experienced rape, abuse and/or incest.

Trans Student Educational Resources (TSER)

Resources and support for trans and gender non-conforming students

LGBTQ+ support

COMPASS Rape Crisis

24/7 Confidential Hotline: 330-452-1111 Mental health, counseling, and case management services for all survivors of rape and sexual assault Confidential Hotline Hospital Advocacy Justice System Advocacy

Queer in Canton Community Center

Queer in Canton works to build community and help LGBTQAI+ people and allies across Stark County find belonging. Offering:
  • Safe Space for the LGBTQ+ Community
  • Support Groups
  • Resource Distribution
  • Youth programming for individuals 12-18 years old
  • Community Closet
  • Community Events

Please note that we'll be closed on these holidays: New Year's Day, Martin Luther King Day, Memorial Day, Juneteenth, Independence Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day

2663 Cleveland Ave NW
Canton, OH 44709
Hours: Monday - Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Mental health & substance use resources

Gay & Sober

Find a substance use support group for LGBTQ+ individuals in Ohio.


Mental health resources for members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Phoenix Rising Behavioral Healthcare and Recovery, Inc.

Recovery resources for people struggling with mental health and addiction in Stark County.

SAMHSA: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT)

National survey reports, agency and federal initiatives and related behavioral health resources.

The Trevor Project

Crisis support for LGBTQ+ youth including crisis intervention and suicide prevention.

Physical & sexual health resources

Equitas Health

A regional not-for-profit community-based, LGBTQ+ focused healthcare system.

MetroHealth Pride Network

LGBTQ clinic in Cleveland, dedicated to serving the LGBTQ community.

Pride events

Akron Pride Festival

Promoting acceptance of all individuals by defending human equity.

Cincinnati Pride

Celebrating and accepting all individuals regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.

Cleveland Pride

Bringing awareness, education and knowledge of the LGBTQ+ community to the general public in order to eliminate prejudice and discrimination.

Columbus Pride

Festival, events and parade to celebrate LGBTQ+ pride in Columbus.

Sandusky Pride

Supporting the LGBTQ+ community through awareness, education and celebration.

Toledo Pride

An annual area celebration of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, intersex and allied (LGBTQ+) community.

Youngstown Pride

Local festival to show support for local members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Support group resources

Camp Lilac

Summer camp with the mission to provide a safe, welcoming space for transgender youth, ages 12-17.


Nonprofit LGBTQ+ youth center, providing a space for LGBTQ+ youth and allies to socialize, grow, learn and celebrate

LGBT Community Center

Community center that with a mission to enrich the lives of the diverse LGBTQ+ community through advocacy, support, education and celebration.


Online community offering resources and support for LGBTQ+ youth and their families.


Advancing equality in Akron, Ohio through its mission of support, education and advocacy.

PRISM of Wayne County

Support group in Wayne County for LGBTQ+ allies.


Encouragement for members of the Northeast Ohio transgender community.

TransCEND Canton

Peer support group for transgender people and allies.


A transgender support group that holds regular support group meetings in Cleveland and Akron that are open to everyone.

Talk to an ally

Ask an ally about helpful strategies for coming out to your friends and loved ones. Adults who display rainbows in their offices, wear pins to show their support, or have Safe Zone stickers are likely good places to turn. Learn about ways to find an ally or to become an ally yourself.