“It felt as if we are putting together a guard of underground ninjas”: LGBT-friendly psychologists about working in a new reality

Sphere Foundation’s psychological assistance program held a scientific and practical conference for psychologists of Russian schools working with LGBT+ teenagers. More than 100 specialists from 90 schools from different regions of Russia took part in it. During the sessions, the participants discussed the most up-to-date scientific positions on sexual orientation and gender identity and eventually formed several theses.

  • There are LGBT+ teenagers in any school, however, the strengthening of state queerphobia; the anti-scientific view on counselling discriminates against and stigmatises both the teenagers themselves and the specialists who help them.

  • Instead of establishing channels of professional communication and support, school administrations put pressure on psychologists and forbid raising topics of sexual education, orientation and gender identity.

  • Despite all the obstacles, it is necessary to develop measures to ensure quality care and make it accessible to all school students, regardless of their gender, orientation, and ways of self-expression.

  • Due to the limited access and lack of information about free help, as well as psychologists themselves fearing being fired due to “propaganda”, the risk of suicide among young people is increasing.

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