May '23 Shout Outs!

A monthly update on GSAs & the PSUSD LGBTQ Alliance

newsletter in progress - come back May 1st!

Dear school leaders, GSA advisors, teachers, families, and students

This is the PSUSD LGBTQ Alliance's monthly newsletter. Our vision is to empower and affirm the LGBTQ+ students, staff, and families of PSUSD by developing policy, implementing trainings, and increasing student, parent, and community engagement.

In this issue of Shout Outs you will find upcoming events, a spotlight on the work the Equality California Mentorship Corps is doing at Painted Hill Middle School and Desert Springs Middle School, and updates from GSAs around the district.

You can also find great resources, including the Alliance's Year at a Glance calendar, helpful glossaries of terms, a staff resource library, and more!



Lavender Prom hosted by Riverside County Office of Education

As part of the Equity & Inclusive Practices Initiative a committee is organized to host a prom specifically for LGBTQ+ high school students in the Coachella Valley. The free, formal event will host 120 students and 40 slots per district will be allocated (Coachella Valley Unified School District, Desert Sands Unified School District, and Palm Springs Unified School District).

Contact Lisa Todd for details!

Harvey Milk Breakfast

The Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast is back for another wonderful year of celebrating diversity and the LGTBQ+ community. A gathering of 1,000 will be the largest in the nation to honor Harvey Milk and celebrate his legacy as a political and community leader who stood for justice and equality across the intersections of oppression, self-identity, and self-determination.

The 2023 Coachella Valley Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast will be a powerful testament to Harvey Milk’s legacy.

Milk opened the doors for many LGBTQ+ leaders and has given hope to generations of youth who followed his footsteps. We will celebrate with those who were influenced by Harvey Milk and embody his courage, passion, and sense of justice.

Two hundred of those attending are expected to be LGBTQ+ students from schools throughout Coachella Valley.

Event Details:

  • Thursday, May 11, 2023, 9:30-11:00 am, Breakfast event (doors open 8:30 am)
  • Palm Springs Convention Center, 277 N. Avenida Caballeros, Palm Springs, CA
  • Featured speakers, honorees, outstanding youth, special tribute presentation

Educator Panel: Creating Safe Spaces Where Transgender and Non-binary Students Thrive

Click here to register for this free online event!

Equality California Mentorship Corps at Painted Hills MS and Desert Springs MS

The Equality California Mentorship Corps currently has mentors working with kids at Desert Hot Springs High School, Raymond Cree Middle School, Nellie Coffman Middle School, Desert Springs Middle School, and Painted Hills Middle School.

Big thanks go out to Sarah Aguirre for sharing these updates on the work being done at Painted Hills MS and Desert Springs MS!

Sarah writes:

Painted Hills Middle School, similarly to the other schools discussed, has an AmeriCorps Equality California mentor. Unfortunately, they joined quite late, only starting after winter break. However, the school itself already has a high priority on the issues the mentor would focus on. In regards to mental health, the counselors there also do monthly Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) lessons in their physical education classes. In terms of academics, they have recently implemented a schedule change on Wednesdays. They call it academic success day and it places the students in classes based on their core-class grades. If a student has no Fs they have engagement classes consisting of fun activities (like movies, board games, or other activities). Those with Fs are in intervention classes where they only work on their missing assignments. All students also attend a class focused on SEL as well as their regular elective and PE classes. In terms of LGBTQ+ student needs, the school GSA club already has a very dedicated faculty member who aided the club learners and found external LGBTQ+ events for the students. Due to their involvement, both the support staff and the GSA faculty member knew which students would benefit from an EQCA mentorship and what support they would need. As such, the EQCA mentor placed would base their weekly meetings on their mentee’s interest. If nothing came to mind, the conversation would be based on the aforementioned staff advice to keep it relevant & productive for that specific student.

At Desert Springs Middle School, the Equality California Mentor became well-connected with the school staff. Just like all other mentors, they met with their mentees weekly and each meeting was based on what the student wanted that week. They would work as their educational tutor, an advocate for their faculty and administration issues, and a listening ear for their problems. Depending on the severity of these problems, they would work alongside the other support staff and administration to discuss alternative solutions. However, in this school, the site supervisor of the mentor was one of the school counselors. As such, they spent the majority of their time within the wellness center. The wellness center is a large room where all the counselors can be found. It had their desks at different corners of the room with a lounge area taking up the rest. There was also a small calm-down room & meeting room attached for the students who needed extra space. So, in addition to their caseload, they also would supervise and attend to other students in the center. Similar to their mentees, the EQCA mentor would aid these students in whatever their immediate support need was albeit only for the brief moment when they met. In some cases, these kids just wanted a place to rest and reset so they were granted that space without question. Being within the wellness center also enabled them to attend peer mediation sessions as well as support and general staff meetings. These meetings are what allowed them the previously mentioned staff connections for discussing students with severe needs.

Out and About Across the District!

Cabot Yerxa Elementary School Rainbow Club

The members of the CYES Rainbow Club share what the club means to them in this video!

We want to celebrate YOU!!

If you would like your school featured in the next newsletter,

send updates and pictures to Annie Axsom at!

2022-2023 Year at a Glance

Click the image to view the PSUSD LGBTQ Alliance 2022-2023 Year at a Glance! Here you'll find training opportunities, GSA meeting dates, community events, and more.

If you would like your school's event or GSA meeting dates added to the calendar, email the PSUSD LGBTQ Alliance at

Brave Spaces Parents

Brave Spaces Parents is hosted by the LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert. Meetings are the 1st and 3rd Thursday of each month. Brave Spaces is a support group for adult family members and allies of transgender, non-binary and gender-expansive tweens and young teens. The mission of this group is to create a safe/brave peer community where adults can support each other and find helpful tools on the parenting journey. One-on-one parent support/education meetings are also available for parents seeking additional resources.


All are welcome to attend the LGBTQ+ Parent Advisory Committee meetings to offer input and learn about supports and services offered in PSUSD.

Please share these flyers with the families at your school!

Resources for School Leaders

Staff Resource Library

Click here for a Google Drive folder of ready-made lessons, information about laws, resources to share with families, and more compiled by the PSUSD LGBTQ Alliance.

The LGBTQ Community Center of the Desert

Visit this page for excellent local resources for students and families.

The original source for supporting LGBTQ+ students

GLSEN is an educators' network founded in 1990. They offer a comprehensive set of resources for building an LGBTQ+ inclusive school community.

Thinking about school climate?

This guide from Learning for Justice will take you through the steps to building the kind of school climate that's safe for our most vulnerable students.

LGBTQ+ Glossary

Click here for a helpful glossary of terms relating to LGBTQ+ topics.

LGBTQ+ Glossary in Spanish

Click here for a helpful Spanish language glossary of terms relating to LGBTQ+ topics.

Elementary Level Glossary

Click here for a resource from Welcoming Schools that shares elementary level definitions for LGBTQ+ terms.

Checklists for Teachers - What to do & What to Say

What do you say when a student comes out to you?

This blog post offers a great script.

For your Curriculum