Injustice Against LGBTQ Youth in Juvenile Courts

Everyone makes mistakes. Clearly, there is no question regarding the truth to that statement. However, the severity of mistakes varies. Quite often, young people behave inappropriately, even illegally.  Of course, all who break the law should be held accountable. But, they should also all be treated equally - and not discriminated against for any reason - including race, color, or sexual orientation. LGBTQ youth unfortunately face injustice in the courts. 

Unfortunately, bias still exists today and members of minority groups, including those who identify as LGBTQ, have faced added injustice for years. Because of discrimination in their lives (at school, at home, and even out and about in everyday lives)these children are at greater risk. Bullying is rampant. Many simply don’t have the support they need to succeed. Some fall victim to substance abuse and related crimes.

It is important for those who work in the juvenile court systems to understand the often negative impact society has had on the LGBTQ youth with whom they come in contact. The difficulties these children face are often a mitigating factor in their behavior.  By understanding and appreciating this, these professionals can better assist those charged and convicted, help them to rehabilitate, and become law-abiding members of the community.

LGBTQ Youth Convicted

When LGBTQ youth are convicted and confined in juvenile facilities, they are often faced with violence (including sexual assault and rape)  at a higher rate than others.  Additionally, because many facilities are designated male or female, those who identify with a gender different than that which was assigned to them at birth face added pressures and stress.

Increased education is critical to leveling the so-called playing field and making the juvenile justice system fair and equitable. While we are all responsible for abiding by the laws and behaving responsibly, we must recognize that children make mistakes. Helping them to grow and learn in a safe and healthy way should be a goal for us all.

Those of us at Rainbow Depot are well-aware of the anxiety and stress identifying as a member of our community can have. And, these feelings are magnified in our LGBTQ  youth. We actively support all members of our community and continue to strive for equality for all.