Lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) men and women represent one of the highest-risk populations for depressive symptomatology and disorders, with young LGB adults being at greatest risk. To date, there have been no randomized controlled trials (RCT) to specifically target depressive symptoms in young LGB adults. This is despite research highlighting unique predictors of depressive symptomatology in this population. Here we outline a protocol for an RCT that will test the preliminary efficacy of a tailored compassion-focused therapy (CFT) intervention for young LGB adults compared with a self-directed cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) program with no specific tailoring for LGB individuals.The CFT intervention consists of 8 units with self-directed reading and activities tailored to LGB young adults, and 8 x weekly 1-hour consultations with a therapist. The CBT intervention consists of 8 units with self-guided reading and activities, with 1 x 1-hour session with a therapist at the mid-point of therapy. Fifty LGB individuals with scores of 13 or above on the Beck Depression Inventory-II will be randomized to either the CFT or CBT condition. The primary outcome measure is depressive symptomatology. Secondary outcome measures are symptoms of anxiety, suicidal ideation, internalized homophobia, self-compassion, and shame and guilt proneness. Assessments will occur at pre-intervention, post-intervention, and at 3-month post-intervention.This study is an RCT to test the preliminary efficacy of an LGB-tailored compassion-focused intervention for young LGB adults with depressive symptomatology. If this intervention is efficacious, this could begin to address the substantial mental health disparities amongst sexual minorities.ACTRN12616001018404 . Prospective registration, registered 02/08/2016.