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Evil ISIS executes boy, 15, by throwing him off a roof – because he's gay

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By Jeremy Culley /

MURDEROUS ISIS terrorists carried out a horrific public execution by throwing a boy accused of homosexuality off a roof, reports say.

 

MURDERED: A prisoner being thrown from a roof by ISIS

MURDERED: A prisoner being thrown from a roof by ISIS

SG

The 15-year-old had been arrested for being gay and thrown from the top of a building in Deir ez-Zor, Syria.

An eyewitness told ARA News: “The horrific execution took place in front of a large crowd.”

Sources say that the boy had been in a gay relationship with ISIS officer Abu Zaid al-Jazrawi, who has been sent to Iraq on the battlefront, rather than being executed.

GETTY

SICK: Terror cult ISIS has conquered large swathes of the Middle East

Although the Islamic law bans homosexuality, the brutal punishment by Daesh has never been witnessed throughout history”

Civil rights activist Raed Ahmed

This is reportedly to compensate for heavy losses sustained by ISIS, also known as Daesh, on the frontline from coalition and Russian bombing.

Sarai al-Din told ARA News: “The boy was accused of being engaged in a homosexual relation with the prominent ISIS officer Abu Zaid al-Jazrawi.

“Abu Zaid was forced to leave Syria and join the fighting fronts in northwestern Iraq. The decision has been taken by the ISIS leadership.

Three LGBT Youths Describe Being Homeless in NYC

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Editorial

UK Homeless Youth

I make no apologies for republishing this article from The Advocate on homelessness in New York City ; its relevance is because in the UK a quarter of the UK’s homeless youth are LGBT, according to a groundbreaking new survey carried out by the Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT). Yyoung people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans are more likely to end up on the streets than their hetero peers. Many were rejected from their family homes on account of their sexuality, while others were fleeing abusive households. 

Please remember the homeless, no matter who they are, and if you can help then donate to any of the following charities:

John

 

In recent months photographer Ocean Morisset and I been documenting the stories of LGBT youths who have been driven to homelessness. Their experiences of cruel rejection in their homes as well as the ordeals they endure on the streets provide stark evidence of the harm still suffered by the most vulnerable in our community

We live in times that have seen tremendous progress for LGBT people. We have torn down some of our society’s most formidable structures of homophobia. But progress for our community isn’t monolithic. There are at least 200,000 LGBT youths suffering homelessness in our nation. The abuse, hostility, and neglect they endure seem to belong to the time before 1969, rather than 2015.

It is easier to change a law than to change the human heart. LGBT youths who have the misfortune to grow up in homophobic or transphobic homes face terrible cruelty and abuse. At the Ali Forney Center, the nation’s largest organization dedicated to homeless LGBT youth, we hear heartrending accounts of their mistreatment. We hear about severe verbal abuse, kids being called “faggots” by their parents, being told that they are disgusting, that they are “against God.”

Unfortunately, it’s not just verbal abuse. Often youths are subjected to physical violence in their homes; they tell us of being punched, kicked, choked. Also they tell of degrading and humiliating treatment, like the young man profiled below who was made to literally sleep in a closet.

When they become homeless, either being thrown out of their homes, or fleeing from the cruelty and abuse there, trauma intensifies. Homelessness is an ordeal for anyone, but for LGBT youths it is horrific. Listening to them describe their experiences on the streets, I am most struck by how frightened they are, how terrified. Terrified of the people who would rob them or bash them. They tell of being overwhelmed by stress, not knowing how to find food, or shelter, or protect themselves.

Too often the available shelters pose insurmountable obstacles. Many homeless youth shelters push religion on homeless kids, with youths being encouraged to pray, read the Bible, or participate in “pastoral ministry” programs. No young person’s desperation for shelter should be exploited to promote a belief system. But this is especially problematic for LGBT youths who have so often been made homeless because of the religious beliefs of their parents. Even more problematic for LGBT youths is the hostility they face from other shelter residents. Unfortunately, many of the beds in this country are in large warehouse shelters. Warehousing homeless people creates dehumanizing conditions where LGBT youths are frequently targets of anti-LGBT violence and harassment. It is very frustrating to listen to so many LGBT youths explain how they feel safer sleeping in the streets than in large warehouse shelters.

Homeless LGBT youths need the advocacy and support of our broader community, The most important step we can take to protect them is to support shelter and housing programs where they can be safe from abuse, whether it be from abusive religious agendas or from conditions that promote violence and harrassment.

The Ali Forney Center offers emergency and long-term housing dedicated to LGBT youths. We also offer programs which help youths overcome the harm of rejection and homophobia, enabling them to be healed and to rebuild their lives. These include medical, mental health, and substance abuse treatment as well as extensive educational and vocational training and placement programs. All these services are offered in an environment where the youths can be free of the further trauma of homophobia and transphobia. We provide care to over 1,000 youths per year. Please consider offering your support here.

I would also encourage support for LGBT-dedicated homeless youth programs in other parts of the country. To learn more about such programs in your local area, please see our Web page devoted to the services available to homeless LGBTyouths across the country. The Ali Forney Center is dedicated to encouraging the success of programs dedicated to homeless LGBT youths, and we have offered training and technical assistance to many of these vital programs.

This holiday season, please help us bring homeless LGBT youths in from the cold to a place where they can find warmth, healing, safety and affirmation. Now meet three LGBT youths and hear about their lives on the streets of New York. —Carl Siciliano, executive director of the Ali Forney Center

Why Homeless LGBT Youth Need Our Help

Tank, 23

I grew up in Queens. I had to leave home because I was abused by my mother; called a faggot, vulgar stuff.

When I was with friends who were also homeless, we would huddle together, sometimes in Union Square, sometimes in Staten Island. We would sleep in Staten Island in abandoned buildings that had been left wrecked by Hurricane Sandy. Once when we walked on the floor, the floorboard broke underneath us, and a friend had his leg split open. We closed the wound and took him out into the street before we called the ambulance. We didn’t want anyone to know where we were staying.

We were afraid to stay in the adult shelters — we heard too many things about LGBT kids being beaten and robbed there.

A friend who knew I was on the streets got me a job at Taco Bell. I was working maintenance, working the night shift. I was also going to college. It was hard, sometimes I was crying. Sometimes I would look bummy, but I was still going to class. I had to go. I always heard my mother in the back of my head saying I wouldn’t get nothing for myself.

I want to be a veterinarian. Plus I want to open a home for youth who have nowhere to go.

Why Homeless LGBT Youth Need Our Help

Angel, 22

My grandmother raised me and my brothers and sisters. She died when I was 14. For a while I stayed with my aunt. It was a nightmare. She wouldn’t recognize my gender. I had a job at a theater, and she charged me $200 a week to sleep in a clothes closet on a pillow. I tried to make the best of it. At least the pillow was tempurpedic; it was the comfiest pillow ever.

When I became homeless I tried to go to a big shelter for hundreds of kids. The intake worker refused to respect my gender identity. I showed her that I had a male ID, but she said it didn’t make a difference, that my wanting to be respected as a male was bullshit.

They put me in a female dorm. One of the other girls there said I couldn’t use the bathroom unless I payed her $40! She raised her fist to me and threatened me for $40!! I couldn’t deal with it, so I decided to sleep in the subway. I slept in the subway for two weeks. I found the whole thing so stressful that I couldn’t eat.

It was better when I stayed in an LGBT shelter. They respected me when I was transitioning.

Today I got a promotion at my job at Dunkin’ Donuts. Now I’m a shift leader!

Why Homeless LGBT Youth Need Our Help

Quincy, 21

I had to leave my home because my mother couldn’t accept me. She would get angry about the way I acted and the clothes I wore. It was always “You’re a fag, you’re a batty boy” (she’s from Jamaica).

For a while after I left home I was sleeping on friends’ couches. Then for two weeks straight I was sleeping on the subway. I would clutch all my stuff really tight, holding them close, especially after I was robbed.

Mornings were rough because I was so exhausted. I could never get enough sleep, only two or three hours. It took a toll on my body. I was always tired and irritated. I couldn’t focus.

I was afraid to go to the men’s shelter. I have a friend who stayed there, and when they found out he was gay they beat him up mercilessly. If they would do that to a grown man, what would they do to a scrawny 21-year-old gay kid.

When you are on the streets, riding the subways, nights are very tough. Sometimes I felt so alone. Nobody cared, nobody asked about me. I was just alone.

Bucket List of 21 High School Films Every Gay Must See

Bucket List of 21 High School films every gay must see – BUT DO YOU AGREE?  Write in on our comments and let us know your best films!

 

21 High School Films Every Gay Must See

Bullies. Cliques. Mean girls. Insecurities. Cafeteria food. The high school experience can be rough — especially for LGBT kids who may be struggling with their sexual identities while trying to fit in.

These films explore the teen experience, and that jungle known as high school, with humor and compassion. Many of them feature queer characters and/or queen bees that LGBT viewers love to see get shot down (or emulate). Some of them explore the minefield of gender identity, with teen characters swapping genders. But whether they explicitly deal with LGBT characters, or simply question and challenge the teen world’s cultural status quo, there’s something in each of them that should resonate with queer viewers.

G.B.F. (2013)
In this candy-colored comedy from director Darren Stein (Jawbreaker), an out gay kid is fought over by the high school queen bees, each of whom wants him as their “gay best friend.” The United States of Tara’s Michael Willett stars with Paul Iacono as his geeky gay buddy, with a fun cameo by Megan Mullally as a much too gay-friendly mom.

Geography Club (2013)
A group of queer kids form a secret after-school club to share their feelings and experiences in this LGBT variation on The Breakfast Club. The film stars Cameron Dean Stewart as a closeted jock, and the cast includes Scott Bakula as his dad, Hairspray’s Nikki Blonsky, and Glee’s Alex Newell.

Just One of the Guys (1985)
Joyce Hyser stars as an aspiring teen journalist who goes undercover as a boy at a rival high school to win a summer internship at a local newspaper. Gender-bending romantic tension, an R-rated reveal, and various high jinks ensue.

But I’m a Cheerleader (1999)
Natasha Lyonne plays an all-American cheerleader whose parents send her to a gay “rehab camp” when they suspect she’s a lesbian. The strong cast includes Michelle Williams, Melanie Lynsky, Clea Duvall, and an out-of-drag RuPaul.

Struck by Lightning (2012)
Glee’s Chris Colfer wrote and stars in this film about an ambitious teen who challenges the high school status quo by blackmailing his classmates into contributing to his literary magazine. The cast includes Pitch Perfect‘s Rebel Wilson, Allison Janney, Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks, andModern Family’s Sarah Hyland.

She’s the Man (2006)
Amanda Bynes and a very young Channing Tatum are both delightful in this update of Shakespeare’s classic sex farce Twelfth Night. This tale of a girl posing as her twin brother to attend an elite boarding school remains faithful to the Bard’s gender-bending play as it hits all the time-honored high school comedy notes.

The Curiosity of Chance (2006)
Tad Hilgenbrink stars as an out-of-the-closet gay teen who earns the support of an eclectic group of friends while contending with a homophobic bully at an international high school.

It’s a Boy Girl Thing (2006)
Samaire Armstrong (of TV’s Resurrection and The O.C.) and Kevin Zegers (Gossip Girl andTransamerica) play sworn rivals who magically find themselves living in each other’s body in this gender-bending comic fantasy.

Hairspray (2007)
As gay filmmaker John Waters once told this journalist, “The musical version of Hairspray was really my most subversive work. It tricked families into embracing two men singing a love song to each other, and believing that it’s a great thing for your daughter to fall in love with a black guy.” Nikki Blonsky plays the chubby teen who strikes dual blows for big girl power and racial equality in 1960s Baltimore.

Fame (1980)
Skip the 2009 remake and see the gritty original from director Alan Parker (Evita) about talented teens coming of age at New York’s High School for the Performing Arts. Irene Cara, Lee Curreri, Barry Miller, and Maureen Teefy star along with Paul McCrane as a sensitive gay actor. The film earned Oscars for original score and for its infectious title song.

Clueless (1995)
Alicia Silverstone stars in this clever update of Jane Austen’s Emma that informed every ditz-girl comedy that followed, including Legally Blonde and Mean Girls. Justin Walker plays the adorable boy she sets her sights on — without realizing that he’s gay.

Saved! (2004)
Jena Malone stars as a teenager who finds herself pregnant by her gay boyfriend and is then ostracized and demonized at her Christian high school. The wicked satire features Mandy Moore, Macaulay Culkin, Patrick Fugit, and out actress Heather Matarazzo as it skewers fundamentalist Christian hypocrisy.

The Adventures of Sebastian Cole (1998)
A pre-Entourage Adrian Grenier plays a high school student who must contend with the typical teenage challenges — as well as his recently transitioned transgender father, played by Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s Clark Gregg.

Lost and Delirious (2001)
In this sexual coming of age drama, The O.C.’s Mischa Barton plays a shy freshman at a posh boarding school who discovers that her roommates — Piper Perabo (of TV’s Covert Affairs) and Jessica Pare (Mad Men) — are lovers.

Heathers (1988)
Winona Ryder and Christian Slater star in this dark comedy cult classic as teenagers who plot to kill the high school’s evil queen bees (Shannen Doherty, Lisanne Falk, and Kim Walker), all of whom happen to be named Heather. Ryder and Slater’s characters off two football players and then trick everyone into thinking they were gay lovers — leading to the infamous line “I love my dead gay son!”

Mean Girls (2004)
Tina Fey wrote this tale of an innocent teen (Lindsay Lohan) grappling with her high school’s reigning mean girls (Rachel McAdams, Lacey Chabert, and Amanda Seyfried). Looking’s Daniel Franzese plays her gay buddy, Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex) is her allegedly lesbian pal, and out gay actor Jonathan Bennett plays the hunky object of her affection.

Easy A (2010)
Emma Stone shot to stardom as a teenage virgin who tries to increase her social standing by pretending to have sex with her bullied gay friend (Dan Byrd). Rumors of her fictitious promiscuity spin out of control in this sly nod to Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel The Scarlet Letter.

Pleasantville (1998)
With no gay characters or storylines, this is one of the most queer-friendly, socially subversive teen movies of all. Two siblings (Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon) are magically transported into the black-and-white world of a 1950s sitcom, where they challenge and transform the sexually puritanical community into living, breathing life — and color. William H. Macy and Joan Allen are outstanding as their sitcom parents in this modern masterpiece.

Get Real (1998)
Ben Silverstone and Brad Gorton star as two British schoolboys discovering love in this tough but tender romantic coming-of-age story.

The Way He Looks (2014)
This sweetly naturalistic Brazilian film about a blind teenager yearning for independence, his best girl buddy, and the new boy in town who changes their lives is a subtle, charming, and totally winning tale of first love.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
Logan Lerman (Percy Jackson, Noah) proves to be the best young actor of his generation as a troubled freshman who blossoms under the friendship of two seniors. The glorious Emma Watson plays the object of his affection and Ezra Miller is outstanding as his edgy gay friend in what may be the most evocative coming-of-age film ever made.

Reprinted from the Advocate: advocate_logo

Miley Cyrus, Joan Jett and Laura Jane Grace sing to support homeless LGBT youth and it’s glorious

Miley Cyrus has teamed up with Joan Jett and Laura Jane Grace to sing a cover of Androgynous in support homeless LGBT youth.

The pop star, rock legend Jett and Against Me! frontwoman Grace collaborated on the the Replacements’ song as part of Cyrus’ Backyard Sessions.

The series, which is exclusive Facebook videos, has been made to raise money for the singer’s recently-launched Happy Hippie Foundation, which supports homeless and LGBT youth.

Miley Cyrus sings to support homeless LGBT youth and it's glorious

Miley Cyrus, Joan Jett and Laura Jane Grace sung a cover of Androgynous (Picture: Miley Cyrus/Facebook)

Cyrus told Out: ‘I’m fighting for people I don’t know but it’s also a fight for people I do know, and people I’m close to and love.’

Grace came out as a transgender woman in 2012 and her most recent album, Gender Dysphoria Blues charts her struggle with gender identity.

The videos created for Backyard Sessions offer a handy ‘donate’ button so get donating!

Why Will So Many LGBT Youths Be Sleeping Rough This Christmas?

If you in need of help in Northern Ireland, then call the NIGRA on 07719576524 or try the LGBT Switchboard on 0808 8000 390 

DON’T STAY ALONE – THERE IS SOMEONE WHO CAN HELP!

Posted: Updated:

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We live in a country where same sex couples can legally marry and gay pride festivals wind through streets, so why are there so many youths sleeping rough on the streets after being rejected by the families for their sexual orientation?

The Albert Kennedy Trust (ABK) provided 8,000 nights off the streets for young LGBT people with nowhere else to turn in 2014, a 160% increase on last year.

One teenager couldn’t return his family because of abuse. His parents, Jehovah’s Witnesses, didn’t accept his sexuality and social services initially refused to help.

“We had to employ solicitors to approach the High Court to request that he was made Ward of Court,” says Tim Sigsworth, chief executive of AKT.

But the teenager is just one example of the 1,500-plus youths who have called the AKT in need of help. More than half resulted in direct long-term case work and support.

“Two weeks into my job as CEO I met a young person at AKT who had spent one night on the streets after being rejected by his parents; during that one night he had been forced to have unprotected sex to secure a bed for the night,” Tim recalls.

“Shortly after this, his first sexual experience, he was diagnosed as HIV positive.”

The charity is named after a young man, Albert Kennedy who, whilst supported by his family, experienced homophobic abuse from strangers, which led him to take his own life in 1989.

Founded in the same year by Cath Hall, who was inspired to help young Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Trans (LGBT) people through her role as a foster carer, it provides accommodation, advocacy, mentoring and support for 16 to 25 year olds who are either homeless or at risk of homelessness.

The charity, which works in three cities across the UK, hears many stories from young people who have experienced homophobia, biphobia or transphobia, or ignorance of their needs from mainstream service providers.

“We also advocate for young people who have mental, physical health problems, self-harm and have substance misuse problems to obtain housing through the local authority,” Tim continues. “Sadly this is often a very long-winded process as these young people are likely to be turned away. Many young people come to us already living on the streets as their families have turned them away for coming out.”

One 19-year-old woman came to AKT after her devout Evangelical Christian parents kicked her out of her home when she came out to them as a lesbian. They also forced her to leave her child behind with them – a child conceived to cover up her sexuality. She spent the next few months sleeping in stairwells and selling her body to buy food.

albert kennedy trust

AKT has helped 1,500 youths this year alone
AKT provided her with a room at Purple Door, a safe house, to help her rebuild her life. She is now living independently, has a job and has started a new relationship. She is also in the process of getting back her child from her parents.

According to Tim, many people underestimate the adverse impacts of homophobia have on young people – despite the recent legislative change.

“The rights of LGBT people have been greatly improved, but this has not necessarily resulted in social change. Our own work and the research of other [charities] shows that young people are coming out earlier, but more than 50% fear telling their parents. In some cases, this is founded.”

AKT has seen a “significant” increase in young people coming to the charity for help. Between July and September, the organisation saw a “shocking” 100% increase in footfall to AKT compared to the same period last year.

The charity’s own data on homelessness shows LGBT youth are three to six times more likely to attempt or complete suicide or self-harm. Previous research showsmore than half of gay youths have suffered mental health issues, with 40% considering suicide.

albert kennedy trust

AKT at London Pride
Not only are LGBT youths more susceptible to mental health issues, the impact of homelessness is far greater in terms of health and wellbeing than their peers.

“We found this included sexual exploitation, mental health issues, and physical and substance abuse,” Tim adds.

“A young man, aged 22, came to AKT after being ostracised from his community and left homeless by his family having come out as gay.

“As a result of the trauma of the situation he then lost his job and was forced to spend his time looking for places to stay – hanging around bars and clubs. One evening he went home with someone who proceeded to drug and then abuse him, along with a group of other men.

“At this point he arrived at AKT suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. As a result of the sexual abuse he suffered he had contracted HIV but had barely engaged with HIV services, as he was so traumatised. 

AKT battled the local authority, who refused to honour their duty of care to him.

“In the meantime we linked him into appropriate HIV and mental health services and provided him with a mentor to help him rebuild his self-esteem. The local authority has just housed him in his own place with our support.”

albert kennedy trust

A volunteer with one of the youths AKT helps
AKT also aims to help youths rejected by their families to improve their independence skills.

“We have placements with carers for young people. They have a pathway plan that helps them achieve and improve these skills. We also have short-term accommodation available available where we house young people in an emergency, for example if they are fleeing violence or are left homeless by their families after they have found out about their sexuality or gender identity.

“Sadly we see many young people going to bars and clubs and finding people to sleep with so they have a bed for the night, which often leads to problems including sexual and drug abuse.”

AKT also helps youths plan a future. Mentors meet them on a weekly or fortnightly basis to help with practicalities such as college applications.

“We have seen a real need for this kind of support as many young people have sofa-surfed with friends and need help planning for the future. We also offer life skills training to help young people live independently.”

As for a long-term solution to the problem, Tim “absolutely” believes LGBT relationships should be taught in school.

“Many of the young LGBT people who AKT work with have experienced sexual exploitation and physical abuse in relationships and I believe this is in part due to LGBT young people not receiving education and support around same-sex relationships at school, whether on a sexual or emotional level.”

If you need help, AKT’s London, Manchester and Newcastle offices are staffed 10am – 4:30pm Mon-Fri.

London: 020 7831 6562
Manchester: 0161 228 3308
Newcastle-upon-Tyne: 0191 281 0099

If you need help at other times, call:

Shelter Housing Advice Line: 0808 800 4444 (8am-midnight every day)
LGF Helpline: 0845 330 30 30 (10am-10pm every day)
London Lesbian & Gay Switchboard: 0300 330 0630 (calls at local rate)
Samaritans: 08457 90 90 90 (24hrs)

 

 

The Unfair Criminalization of Gay and Transgender Youth

An Overview of the Experiences of LGBT Youth in the Juvenile Justice System of the USA

SOURCE: AP/Paul Sancya

Two boys hold hands at the Ruth Ellis Center, a drop-in shelter for LGBT – lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender youth in Detroit, Michigan.

By Jerome Hunt and Aisha C. Moodie-Mills | June 29, 2012

Download this brief (pdf)

Gay, transgender, and gender nonconforming youth are significantly over-represented in the juvenile justice system—approximately 300,000 gay and transgender youth are arrested and/or detained each year, of which more than 60 percent are black or Latino. Though gay and transgender youth represent just 5 percent to 7 percent of the nation’s overall youth population, they compose 13 percent to 15 percent of those currently in the juvenile justice system.

These high rates of involvement in the juvenile justice system are a result of gay and transgender youth abandonment by their families and communities, and victimization in their schools—sad realities that place this group of young people at a heightened risk of entering the school-to-prison pipeline.

Despite the disproportionately high rates of gay and transgender youth entering the juvenile justice system, our nation’s schools, law enforcement officers, district attorneys, judges, and juvenile defenders are not equipped to manage the unique experiences and challenges that these young people face. As a consequence, the system often does more harm by unfairly criminalizing these youth—imposing harsh school sanctions, labeling them as sex offenders, or detaining them for minor offenses—in addition to subjecting them to discriminatory and harmful treatment that deprives them of their basic civil rights.

Angela Irvine of the National Council on Crime and Delinquency in conjunction with the Equity Project, which works to ensure gay and transgender youth in the juvenile justice system are treated with fairness and respect, have both generated groundbreaking research on the experiences of these youth in the system over the past few years. This issue brief offers a high-level summary of some of their findings, as well as others, to explain the disproportionate pipelining of gay and transgender youth into the juvenile justice system, the bias and discrimination they face once within the system, and the steps that the federal government and state and local juvenile courts can take to ensure that gay and transgender youth are treated with dignity and respect.

Why gay and transgender youth end up in the juvenile justice system

Family rejection, homelessness, and failed safety nets

Research shows that gay and transgender youth entering into the juvenile justice system are twice as likely to have experienced family conflict, child abuse, and homelessness as other youth. This trend is partly due to the fact that youth today “come out” at younger ages, often to families that may not accept gay and transgender people. Since these youth still depend on their families to meet their material needs, family rejection can leave them emotionally and physically vulnerable, particularly if they find themselves cast onto the streets with nowhere to turn for support.

Many gay and transgender youth leave their homes of their own accord to escape the conflict and emotional or physical abuse that can ensue—26 percent report leaving their homes at some point—but more often, they are pushed out and into the juvenile justice system by their own families.

Interfamily conflicts stemming from parents’ refusal to accept a child’s sexual orientation or gender identity often result in the first contact these young people have with the justice system. According to the Equity Project, prosecutors frequently file charges against these youth for being “incorrigible” or beyond the control of their parents or guardians, based largely on the parent’s objections to their sexual orientation. This practice unfairly criminalizes gay and transgender youth because of their identity rather than because of their behavior.

Further, family discord that casts these youth from their homes can send them cascading through social safety nets not adequately equipped to support them. Programs designed to keep children and youth off the streets, such as foster care, health centers, and other youth-serving institutions, are often ill-prepared or unsafe for gay and transgender youth due to institutional prejudice, lack of provider and foster-parent training, and discrimination against gay and transgender youth by adults and peers.As a result, many youth run away from these placements, actions that could also land them in the custody of the juvenile justice system.

Gay and transgender youth who flee hostility and abuse at home and in temporary placements are most likely to end up homeless, which is the greatest predictor of involvement with the juvenile justice system. Gay and transgender youth represent up to 40 percent of the homeless youth population even though they only compose 5 percent to 7 percent of the youth population overall, and 39 percent of homeless gay and transgender youth report being involved in the juvenile justice system at some level.

Out of despair and a need for survival, homeless gay and transgender youth are more likely to resort to criminal behaviors, such as drug sales, theft, or “survival sex,” which put them at risk of arrest and detainment. These youth are also at an increased risk of detainment for committing crimes related to homelessness, such as violating youth curfew laws and sleeping in public spaces.

Family rejection, which sets off a tragic chain of events for many gay and transgender youth, is at the core of these issues. Caitlin Ryan of the Family Acceptance Project at San Francisco State University, whose research has brought to light the negative impacts that family rejection can have on gay and transgender youth, emphasizes the need to provide opportunities to help support and strengthen families in order to promote nurturing environments for gay and transgender children. Early intervention can help families and caregivers reduce the risk of these youth entering the juvenile justice system. It is important that law enforcement officials, district attorneys, judges, and juvenile defenders seek ways to keep gay and transgender youth and their families together, rather than pushing for incarceration.

Biased school discipline policies

Unfortunately, schools do not always provide a reprieve for youth experiencing family rejection. According to the Gay Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s School Climate Survey, 84 percent of gay and transgender students report being verbally harassed, 40 percent physically harassed, and 19 percent physically assaulted.

What’s more, gay and transgender students report astonishingly low levels of confidence in their school administrators and often do not report incidents because they expect the situation will not improve or fear it might even become worse. This is not surprising considering that one-third of bullied gay and transgender students who reported bullying to school officials said the administrators did nothing to address the issue.

In fact, school officials in many ways exacerbate these problems and place further stress and burden on gay and transgender youth by disproportionately doling out harsh school sanctions against them for minor disciplinary infractions. The school and juvenile justice systems have become inextricably linked in recent years with schools relying heavily on law enforcement to manage what in the past were school discipline issues. The consequence of this conflated discipline system is that it unduly criminalizes youth of color and gay and transgender youth.

School discipline policies across the United States are under heightened scrutiny because of the disparate impact they have on youth of color, particularly black boys. Data released this spring from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights show that harsh school sanctions—such as zero-tolerance policies, which lead to suspensions and expulsions of students for even the most minor offenses—perpetuate a school-to-prison pipeline that disproportionately criminalizes youth of color.

Hidden among these school discipline data are thousands of gay and transgender youth who bear a double burden of disparate impact. A groundbreaking study published in 2010 in the medical journal Pediatrics revealed that gay and transgender youth, particularly gender nonconforming girls, are up to three times more likely to experience harsh disciplinary treatment by school administrators than their heterosexual counterparts.

As with the racial disparities in school suspensions and expulsions, these higher rates of punishment do not correlate to higher rates of misbehavior among gay and transgender youth. What the research suggests is that gay and transgender youth actually face harsher sanctions by school administrators even when committing similar offenses.

Surely bias and discrimination among teachers, staff, and administrators contributes to the unfair treatment of gay and transgender youth in schools. Adults in schools often draw assumptions of guilt based on a student’s physical characteristics, demeanor, dress, or mannerisms, deeming those deviating from an accepted gender norm to be agitators. Such assumptions are not only misguided, but biased against gay and transgender students who do not fall within rigid stereotypes of expression.

Moreover, studies reveal that gay and transgender youth are often the victims, rather than the aggressors in school conflicts, which stem from bullying and harassment. Consider, for example, a gender nonconforming girl exhibiting masculine traits, who is disciplined for fighting but may be defending herself from peers’ taunts. Yet more often than not, school administrators will consider her the aggressor based solely on her physical demeanor and will suspend or expel her despite the defensive nature of her actions.

For many students, suspension and expulsion are the first steps toward time behind bars. This is equally true for gay and transgender youth. Black boys and gender nonconforming girls similarly experience disproportionately harsh punishments and juvenile justice system referrals in schools, but the latter are rendered all but invisible because sexual orientation and gender identity are not included in the federal school discipline data cited earlier in this report. A first step in addressing the unfair punishment of gay and transgender youth in schools is to expand the research and collection of school discipline data to include gay and transgender youth, which will help policymakers and practitioners alike better understand the problem and formulate more supportive school discipline policies.

Unfair criminalization by the system

Once in the juvenile justice system, gay and transgender youth are too often denied basic civil rights, wrongly categorized as sexually deviant simply because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender nonconformity, and even labeled as sex offenders. They are also subjected to the biases and discrimination of law enforcement agents, judges, and other justice system officials that leave them vulnerable to abuse and neglect.

Classification as sex offenders

Gay and transgender youth who end up in the justice system are at-risk of being labeled as sex offenders, regardless of whether they have actually committed a sexual crime. Gay and transgender youth “are more likely to be prosecuted for age-appropriate consensual sexual activity” than their heterosexual counterparts—a lopsided application of the law, which has devastating consequences for gay and transgender youth who would be required to register as a sex offenders in 29 states if convicted. The stigma of being a registered sex offender could haunt them for the rest of their lives, negatively impacting their future employment and life opportunities and causing significant psychological distress.

Many gay and transgender youth charged with nonsexual offenses are also unfairly treated as sex offenders and ordered by the court to undergo sex offender treatment programs or sex offense risk assessments simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This misguided categorization by the courts has led gay and transgender youth, innocent of violent crimes or sex offenses, to be placed in restrictive punitive settings for high-risk youth and to be given longer stays in out-of-home placements.

These restrictive settings not only hinder rehabilitation efforts, they perpetuate the stigma that being gay or transgender is wrong. Additionally, extended stays in out-of-home placements prevent gay and transgender youth from reconnecting with their families, a critical step proven to stabilize their lives and reduce their risk of returning to the system. These unfair practices make gay and transgender youth susceptible to discrimination and harmful treatment while in the system.

Detention as a default

In most incidences juveniles who have been arrested or detained will only be released from custody under the supervision of a parent or guardian. Without someone to claim them, youth can be left to languish in detention centers with youth convicted of crimes, even if they have not been. Gay and transgender youth are most at-risk of detainment by default by the juvenile justice system as they are more likely to be estranged from their families and lack parental support, which leaves them to fend for themselves. As a consequence, these youth are subjected to criminal incarceration while they await foster or group home placements.

Discriminatory and harmful treatment

Segregation and isolation of gay and transgender youth

From the moment gay and transgender youth enter a detention facility they are at risk of being inappropriately classified and housed. Transgender youth, for example, are often placed according to their birth sex rather than by their gender identity in an effort to force transgender youth to conform to societal norms. Doing so can be psychologically devastating and leave them vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse. Additionally, youth facility staff often view them as threatening or sexually predatory, harmful stereotypes that taint placement decisions and influence the treatment of transgender youth.

Some facilities will automatically segregate gay and transgender youth or place them in solitary confinement for their “own safety,” but this isolation perpetuates the stigmatization of gay and transgender youth, casts them as sexually deviant, and signals that they might be of threat to other youth.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, isolation “is a form of punishment and is likely to produce lasting psychiatric symptoms.” Unwarranted segregation deprives gay and transgender youth of educational, recreational, and programming opportunities that they are otherwise entitled to receive, punishing them unfairly and at a particularly vulnerable time in their adolescent development.

Physical, sexual, and emotional abuse

A 2007 study funded by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation found an astounding 67 percent of gay or transgender men have been sexually assaulted by another inmate—a rate 15 times higher than the overall inmate population. Another study found that sexual assaults that occur are not just isolated events, but that 30 percent of all inmates have endured six or more sexual assaults.

Gay and transgender youth are particularly at risk for physical, sexual, and emotional abuse while in detention, by both staff and other youth. Eighty percent of those surveyed by the Equity Project believed a lack of safety in dentition was a serious problem. Some reports suggest that staff have turned a blind eye to incidents of rape and abuse against gay and transgender youth, confusing gay and transgender identity as an invitation for sex. Gay and transgender youth are not only subjected to abuse by their peers but by staff as well, particularly in the facilities that lack training and policies that promote inclusiveness and rely on biases rather than on best practices in treatment and placement decisions. This type of environment allows physical, sexual, and emotional abuse toward gay and transgender youth to happen without so much as a second thought and leaves them with nowhere to turn for help.

Unsafe reparative or conversion therapy

Gay and transgender youth have been subjected to reparative or conversion therapy to change their sexual orientation by both social workers and the courts, even though so-called reparative or conversion therapy has been condemned by every major health organization, including the American Medical Association, American Psychological Association, and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Sadly, the juvenile justice system is rife with examples of misguided interventions. One judge hospitalized a gay youth to stop his same-sex attraction, while another judge with the parent’s approval, had a young lesbian who was caught in a sexual act with another girl placed in a private hospital to be “treated and diagnosed for this behavior.” These examples may be the extreme, but instances such as a 15-year-old boy being given a women’s lingerie catalogue with the purpose of teaching him “appropriate” sexual desires and a male-to-female transgender youth, who was detained in a boy’s facility, being placed on “treatment plan” to “help with gender confusion and appropriate gender identity,” are more common examples of unsafe reparative therapy.

The inclination to change a youth’s sexual orientation or gender identity or force him or her to conform to “social norms” hinders general mental health and causes severe psychological distress. This type of “counseling and other services are virtually worthless [for gay and transgender youth] because they either ignore or criminalize the youth’s sexuality.”

Conclusion and recommendations

Gay and transgender youth are pipelined into the juvenile justice system at disproportionate rates, often stripped of their basic dignity and civil rights, and treated in a harmful and discriminatory manner once in the system. The current policies and practices of schools and the juvenile justice system overlook gay and transgender youth and perpetuate stigma and bias that can lead to their unwarranted criminalization and unfair treatment.

Some of the issues discussed in this report stem from the lack of cultural competency on the part of school officials, law enforcement officers, district attorneys, judges, and juvenile defenders. The individuals who interface directly with these youth must be better equipped to provide respectful, culturally appropriate interventions in order to reduce the number of gay and transgender youth unfairly and unnecessarily pipelined into the juvenile justice system and to improve conditions for them once in the system. A first step toward improving the system will be to institute training standards across the board for all agents of the court.

Moreover, institutional bias is at the heart of the mistreatment of gay and transgender youth by schools and the juvenile justice system, and we recommend broad policy suggestions to address them. The following recommendations are adopted in part from the National Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Council and the Equity Project. These recommendations are by no means the only recommendations for improvement, but instead offer a start to address the serious issue of the criminalization of gay and transgender youth.

Practical recommendations

  • Promotion of family center interventions

Family rejection drives many gay and transgender youth from their homes and perpetuates negative coping behaviors and unlawful activities, heightening risk of entering the juvenile justice system. Gay and transgender youth who feel a sense of family acceptance report better physical, mental, and educational outcomes all around. Yet families have largely been left out of the equation on reform. Interventions that reconnect youth with their families will reduce their susceptibility to involvement with the juvenile justice system. Moreover, schools and juvenile detention systems should engage in more supportive behaviors that reduce risk and promote the positive development of gay and transgender youth in custodial care.

  • Gay and transgender inclusive training for all juvenile justice professionals

“Juvenile justice professionals must receive training and resources regarding the unique societal, familial, and developmental challenges confronting [gay and transgender] youth … [T]rainings must be designed to address the specific professional responsibilities of the audience (i.e., judges, defense attorneys, prosecutors, probation officers, and detention staff).” Furthermore, these professionals must ensure that they and others treat gay and transgender youth with dignity, respect, and fairness and avoid ridiculing or attempting to change their sexual orientation or gender identity.

  • Development of gay and transgender inclusive policies, procedures, and programs

All agencies involved with juvenile justice and all officers of the juvenile court should develop, adopt, and enforce polices that prohibit discrimination and mistreatment of any youth on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity at all stages of the process. Juvenile justice professionals should develop appropriate responses to the behavior of each gay and transgender youth that are tailored to address specific needs and to promote individual well-being by allowing gay and transgender youth to express themselves freely. This would include giving them the choice of name, clothing, hairstyle, or any other means by which they feel comfortable expressing themselves.

  • Gay and transgender inclusive data collection by the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention

Many states and localities are unable to achieve meaningful changes to their juvenile justice systems because the lack adequate data. Therefore, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention should prioritize data collection that is disaggregated not only by race, ethnicity, and gender, but also by sexual orientation and gender identity. Through this type of robust data collection, communities will be better able to develop services that are culturally and linguistically appropriate for youth and their families, especially for gay and transgender youth.

Policy recommendations

  • Dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline for all youth and for gay and transgender youth in particular

As previously noted, gay and transgender youth are disproportionately pipelined into the juvenile justice system by their schools. Yet little data are available to quantify the problem and address it effectively. We can address this by including sexual orientation and gender identity questions in the Department of Education’s school discipline data collection efforts. In addition, it is important that the Supportive School Discipline Initiative, a joint effort between the Department of Education and the Department of Justice aiming to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline and currently focusing on race, provide guidance to school systems that bridges the gap for all youth, including those who are gay or transgender.

  • Pass the Safe Schools Improvement Act and the Student Nondiscrimination Act

The federal Student Nondiscrimination Act would prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation against any student in a public school that receives federal funding and would allow individuals to take legal action and be awarded compensatory damages and reimbursement of court costs if judgment is found in their favor under the bill’s provisions. The Safe Schools Improvement Act would require kindergarten-through-12th-grade public schools that receive federal funding to implement policies prohibiting harassment and bullying based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The bill would also require states to report harassment and bullying data to the U.S. Department of Education. Passage of these two pieces of legislation by Congress would help ensure that gay and transgender students do not end up in the juvenile justice system for protecting themselves against discrimination they face on a daily basis at school.

  • Gay and transgender cultural competence in Safe Schools/Healthy Students

The Department of Education’s Safe Schools/Healthy Students program is widely recognized as a model of “effective collaboration across public education, local mental health, and juvenile justice.” Therefore the evaluations of the Safe Schools/Healthy Students program should be inclusive of gay and transgender students needs, including cultural competency training for those who work in the juvenile justice system. Increased training focused on the needs of gay and transgender youth will help decrease arrest rates and referrals of these youth to the juvenile justice system. Currently, law enforcement is 50 percent more likely to stop gay youth than other youth, according to a recent study in the medical journal Pediatrics. Additionally, “girls who identified themselves as lesbians or bisexual reported twice as many arrests and convictions as other girls who had engaged in similar behavior.” Gay and transgender youth in general experience high rates of school violence, which not only interferes with their ability to learn but also can affect their involvement with the juvenile justice system.

  • Amend the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act

Congress should amend the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, or SORNA, to exclude youth who are convicted of certain sex-based offenses from mandatory sex offender registration. The way the U.S. Department of Justice’s SORNA program is currently set up can disrupt families because both the youth who has to register is stigmatized and the entire family. More importantly, SORNA can have lasting effects on a youth’s identification and treatment. A parent, for example, may delay getting his or her child needed treatment and even go as far as hiding the child’s problem after discovering that the child may have to register as a sex offender for life. Thus, amending this law can help to alleviate the criminalization that is part and parcel of a gay or transgender youth being labeled as a sex offender.

  • Reauthorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act

The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act has not been reauthorized since 2002 and is in need of substantive changes to ensure that youth are put on a better path and that our communities are kept safe. In particular, the act should be reauthorized to include three key items that will help gay and transgender youth in the system. The first is to strengthen the Disproportionate Minority Contact core protections “by requiring states to take concrete steps to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system,” rather than just issuing vague requirements with no clear guidance on how to reduce these disparities.

Second, the partnership between states and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention should expand training, technical assistance, and research and evaluation to include of gay and transgender needs and issues.

Third, incentives for the juvenile justice system to ensure that all policies, practices, and programs recognize the unique needs of gay and transgender youth, including accountability measures, expertise on the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act advisory groups, and increased research and information dissemination should be created.

  • Passage of federal legislation prohibiting gay and transgender discrimination in the juvenile justice system

As this brief has shown, the juvenile justice system holds a disproportionally large number of gay and transgender youth, who experience high rates of discrimination and violence. Passage of federal protections that would ensure equality and the end of discrimination against gay and transgender youth is universal and should not be legislated on a state-by-state basis. Therefore, “Congress should pass federal protections against discrimination in all settings based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity and create incentives for States to appropriately and effectively respond to [gay and transgender] youth involved in the justice system.”

Jerome Hunt is a Research Associate for LGBT Progress at American Progress and Aisha C. Moodie-Mills is the Advisor for LGBT Policy & Racial Justice at American Progress.