Showing posts with label Gay Youth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay Youth. Show all posts

January 10, 2020

Judge Orders ICE To Bring Back Gay Trans-Youth Deported to Ethiopia



By Tim Fitzsimons   

A federal judge has ordered the Department of Homeland Security to return a gay asylum-seeker who was deported to Chad, ruling that the government had not properly considered his asylum claim based on his status as a gay man before deporting him.

Oumar Yaide arrived in the U.S. in 2009 and requested political asylum because he was a member of “a disfavored group,” a Chadian ethnic group called the Gorane. His asylum application was denied in 2014, and in December 2018 a judge denied his final appeal.

In October, however, two months after officers from Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, removed him from his San Francisco home and sent him to California’s Yuba County Jail, Yaide filed a motion to reopen his asylum case. This request for relief was based upon new information: Chad criminalized homosexuality in 2016 — years after Yaide arrived in the U.S. — and Yaide came out as gay in 2019. This combination, according to court documents, led Yaide to fear “torture and death” if he returned home to the central African nation.  

Trans teen sues New York over birth certificate gender marker
But in early December, while Yaide’s new case was waiting to be seen by an immigration judge, ICE agents removed him from the Yuba County Jail, processed his deportation and sent him to the Sacramento airport, where he and two ICE agents boarded a flight to Chad. Yaide was in handcuffs until a layover in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. His lawyers said they had no idea where he was during the trip.

While Yaide was making the long journey back to Chad, his attorneys filed an instant habeas petition and temporary restraining order requesting that the government return him to the U.S. Last month, U.S. District Judge Charles R. Breyer granted the request and ordered Homeland Security to return Yaide to the U.S., ruling the “deportation violates his procedural due process right to pursue his motion to reopen.”

“Obviously, imprisonment or death would foreclose Yaide’s ability to pursue his motion to reopen,” Breyer wrote in his order, referring to the possible punishment Yaide could face as a gay man in Chad.

Returning Yaide to the U.S., however, is not without complications. He has an expired Chadian passport, and Homeland Security says it has no jurisdiction to retrieve him from Chad without a valid passport. It is unknown whether Chad’s government will issue him a new one.

Breyer’s ruling directed the U.S. government to work with Yaide’s lawyers to “formulate a mutually agreeable plan to return Yaide to the United States as soon as practically possible.”  

D.C. Council looks to strip gendered language from city code
Edwin Carmona-Cruz, co-director of Pangea Legal Services, the group representing Yaide, told NBC News on Wednesday that his organization is now “working with federal elected officials to assist in this process.”

Tanya J. Roman, an ICE spokesperson, said the agency is “unable to comment due to pending litigation.”

Chad is one of 68 U.N. member states where consensual same-sex activity is illegal, according to ILGA World, an international LGBTQ advocacy organization. In the United States, asylum-seekers have been successful with claims of potential persecution because of membership in a “social group,” namely the LGBTQ community.

In 1994, Attorney General Janet Reno ordered that the ruling in the case of a Cuban gay asylum-seeker, Fidel Armando Toboso-Alfonso, should be the guidance for future cases, thus cementing an earlier decision finding that Taboo-Alfonso was eligible for asylum because of his membership in the LGBTQ “social group” and the threat of political violence he would face if he were forced to return to his home country of Cuba.
LGBTQ asylum-seekers in Europe subjected to stereotyping and humiliation, rights group says
Aaron C. Morris, executive director of Immigration Equality, a nonprofit LGBTQ immigrant advocacy group, said Yaide’s case will have no clear impact on other LGBTQ asylum-seekers. However, he noted that “it’s pretty common” for LGBTQ asylum-seekers, like Yaide, to first seek asylum with a claim other than their sexual orientation or gender identity.

“A lot of our clients, often before they meet Immigration Equality, for various reasons, put forward meritorious claims that aren't successful, whether that is a religion-based claim or political opinion claim like in this case,” Morris said. “That could be a young person whose parents are paying for a lawyer and involved with their case, a person who is from anti-queer country but living with relatives or living within that community — there are a lot of reasons that are really compelling why someone might only bring a claim based on sexual orientation later in the life of a case.”

December 29, 2019

Mother of Bullied Suicide Victim Nigel Wants To Be A Mother For Those In That Place

Image result for nigel, bullied

Huntsville mom Camika Shelby has a message for LGBTQ youth: If you live in an unaccepting household, she's your mother now.

   Image result for nigel, bullied
Dressed in a white T-shirt adorned with rainbow letters and a rainbow-themed fanny pack, Shelby gave different gifts of encouragement during a Christmas event for black LGBTQ teens at the Birmingham CrossPlex on Saturday (Dec. 21). She took her time as she gave the youth long hugs, smiled as she gave them gift bags full of self-care items they can use to soothe themselves during a tough day and she typed her contact information into the youth's phone.

Shelby wanted to make sure the youth had all the tools they need if they ever get in a depressed space. Her openly-gay son, Nigel, was 15-years-old when he died by suicide in April in Huntsville. Although his mother was accepting of his sexuality, the family said Nigel was bullied. Camika Shelby said she couldn't talk about the school system due to legal reasons. 

But Nigel's death birthed a campaign focused on suicide awareness and the importance of LGBTQ-acceptance in homes, schools, and churches. She makes sure she is accessible to any LGBTQ teen who needs a listening ear by maintaining Nigel's Instagram account and creating a Facebook group. Connecting with LGBTQ youth has become part of Camika Shelby's grieving process. Her son's spirit was made of sunshine and this is her way of keeping his encouraging legacy alive. 

“I don’t want it to be, ‘the 15-year-old that committed suicide,’” Camika Shelby said during a Facebook live interview with’s Black Magic Project. “I want it to be ‘the 15-year-old whose suicide changed the world.’”

Multiple reports have expressed the need for more LGBTQ-friendly spaces, especially for youth who are vulnerable to racism, homophobia, and transphobia. The Human Rights Campaign reported that 90% of the more than 1,600 black LGBTQ teens surveyed said they have experienced racial discrimination. Along with this, 47% of respondents said they have been taunted or mocked by family members due to their sexualities and gender identities. AIDS Alabama, headquartered in Birmingham, has helped 33 homeless, black LGBTQ youth since 2016. While LGBTQ youth of color are more likely to experience depression and anxiety due to these stressors, the HRC survey pointed out the lack of LGBTQ-friendly and culturally-trained counselors.

The family-oriented nature of the holidays can amplify feelings of rejection and hopelessness in LGBTQ youth. This is why Camika Shelby was the main speaker during the annual Angel Toy Drive event in Birmingham. During the hour and a half celebration, black LGBTQ teens received $100 gift cards, self-care kits and listened to multiple LGBTQ mentors who talked about how they overcame bullying, suicidal thoughts and the services that are available to them.

During her speech, Camika Shelby stressed the importance of LGBTQ youth creating their own families if theirs is not accepting of their sexuality or gender identity.
"Sometimes family can be your own worst enemy. If they don't love you for who you are, they don't deserve you," she told the youth. "Don't let people tear you down for who you are. God knows who you are, and he makes no mistakes."

This wasn't Camika Shelby's first time speaking following her son's death. She has participated in two suicide awareness panels. The first one was at Alabama A&M University during a national suicide prevention month in September. She brought her message to a national stage when she appeared on "CBS This Morning" earlier this month.

While Nigel's death is being honored around the nation, Camika Shelby used the event in Birmingham to talk about his life. In between the pauses of pain and tears, she talked about her son's obsession with Beyonce and how he used to give her pop quizzes about Ariana Grande's life. Nigel is also her rainbow baby. Due to medical conditions, Camika Shelby said experienced multiple miscarriages.

"But it was something about Nigel. He was a fighter and he made his way into this world," Camika Shelby said. “From the moment I saw his smile, I knew this child was going to be special.”
Multiple celebrities also knew Nigel was going to be extraordinary. From Justin Bieber to Janelle Monáe, singers and actresses expressed their support for the Shelby family both emotionally and financially. Actress Gabrielle Union and her husband, former NBA star Dwayne Wade, helped pay for Nigel's funeral, Camika Shelby said. She appreciates how the couple has become cheerleaders for LGBTQ youth, especially when it comes to their own LGBTQ child, Zion. During an interview with Showtime's All the Smoke podcast on Thursday, Wade used Zion's preferred pronouns, she/her/hers, for the first time.

"For them to be in the public eye like that, that is amazing," Camika Shelby said of the couple.
Sunshine and smiles followed Nigel wherever he went, even into his final moments, his mother said. After he passed away, Camika Shelby found an uplifting text message on his phone that he was going to send to a friend who was going through a hard time. In the message, Nigel encouraged his friend to believe they are beautiful and not to let allow anyone to make them think otherwise.

"I cried and then smiled because it was a reminder of how much of an amazing child he was," Camika Shelby said. “When a person is having suicidal thoughts, they are thinking about ending it all. Before he made that choice, he stopped and took his time to uplift his friend.”

Creating a safe world for LGBTQ youth also means advising parents on how to support their teen's life. Camika Shelby demonstrates how to do this through her own story with Nigel. She said her son wasn't the first person to tell her he was gay, but her spirit did. So when Nigel admitted his sexuality to his mom at the age of 13, she treated as if it was a casual conversation and asked what he wanted for dinner. When Nigel was ready to tell his father and other relatives about his sexuality, momma sat closely beside him every time.

After Nigel's death, Camika Shelby said multiple family members asked her why she didn't tell them Nigel was gay. She said she didn't have that authority to tell his story.
"It wasn't my story to tell. Once he was ready to tell it, I sat right beside him," Camika Shelby said. “I needed him to know that I am right here. We are not sure how the person on the receiving end is going to take it. But as his mother, I am going to be right here.”

She also made sure Nigel felt very affirmed in himself. Proof of that can be seen in one of the most shared photos of her son - the one of him smiling and holding up the peace sign while wearing a rainbow-themed hoodie.

Camika Shelby and a friend spotted the hoodie while Christmas shopping last year. While Nigel lived in an accepting household, she got a feeling he was still uncomfortable with being himself outside of their home. So she bought him the hoodie as a gift, despite her initial hesitation.

"The rainbow flag will let the world know he is gay," Camika Shelby said. “Because I know how rejecting society can be, I was a little hesitant to buy it. But I went ahead and bought it anyway.”
She still cries over her son's reaction to the gift on Christmas Day. After opening the present, Nigel immediately dropped the hoodie and ran into his mother's arms. It was a moment of love, laughter and a lesson about the order of the stripes on the rainbow flag.

"He gave me the biggest hug ever because it symbolized to him that it was OK to be gay," Camika Shelby said, her voice quivering in pain at first, but then her voice booms into laughter. “He said, 'Momma, I really loved this gift. It is my favorite one. But by the way, the colors are not in order.'”
Tears pooled in her eyes again as she expressed her gratitude to those sharing the photo of her baby in the hoodie. She's still adjusting to her new normal where her emotions are constantly teeter-tottering between pain and peace. It's especially hard to find balance during the holidays.

The hoodie was her last Christmas gift to her only child. It was a tradition in their household to wear matching outfits to holiday parties. That won't be happening this year. One of Nigel's favorite holidays is New Year's Eve.

"I have my days when I don't want to get out of bed. I don't feel like I have a purpose anymore," Camika Shelby said. “For 15 years, I woke up every day with my mindset focused on what can I do to make Nigel's life better, and in a blink of an eye he was gone.”

Support from family, friends and her faith build the foundation of her strength. She must remain strong, she said. Not just for herself, but for the many other LGBTQ youths who have reached out to her across the country.

“I may have lost my own biological child, but I have gained so many more,” she said.
Nigel may be physically gone, but she knows she carries his spirit of encouragement with her. She allows him to speak through her as she tries to uplift the youth and give out her number and social media contacts.

"I'm to the point where I'm realizing that my baby had a purpose, regardless of whether it is here on this earth or not," she said. “So now, I'm his purpose. I am going to continue to speak out. I am going to continue to tell his story.”

And she is going to continue to reach out to other LGBTQ youth, she said.
She needs them to know that at least one mother is willing to sit beside them during their moments of need - just like she did with her son all those years ago.

Youth can use the following links to contact Camika Shelby:
-Facebook group: IamNigelShelby
-Instagram: remembering_nigel

Read more here:

April 26, 2019

City To Open LGBT Homeless Shelter For Its Gay Youth

Image result for shelters for lgbt youth

Only 1 to 8 percent of Americans, depending on the age group, identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). Yet around 40 percent of the young people living on the streets or in shelters identify as LGBT, according to research by the Williams Institute at UCLA’s Law School. The primary reason they end up without stable housing is family abuse or rejection.
While LGBT youth have been more likely to experience homelessness for quite some time, cities are just starting to focus on this vulnerable population's needs.
Sacramento, Calif., is slated to open its first homeless shelter specifically for LGBT youth this summer. It will host 12 beds and allow people to stay for 90 days.
"We have a couple of homeless youth providers, but it’s not a perfect fit," says Sacramento City Councilmember Steve Hansen. "Homelessness at large is a diverse population of people. As a government, we have largely used a one-size-fits-all [approach]. We need to tailor these interventions to the populations we’re serving."
Pixie Pearl, assistant director of housing for the Sacramento LGBT Community Center, explained  to an ABC affiliate why custom shelters are necessary.
“We have services that address different things for homelessness, but not necessarily, ‘Is this affirming to who I am? Am I going to be called she? Am I going to be called by my name?'"
Some see the rise in LGBT-specific shelters as evidence of a problem.
"My one concern is it’s happened because existing resources haven’t been safe [for LGBT youth]. So it’s a mixed blessing, I think we've started to have them because everyplace else has been awful," says Currey Cook of Lambda Legal, a legal advocacy organization for LGBT populations.

'There's More Out There'

In Central Florida, there are only eight shelter beds right now for LGBT homeless youth, according to Heather Wilkie, executive director of the Zebra Coalition, which provides housing and support services to LGBT people in the region. Of the 268 homeless youth they counted on a recent night, 93 of them identified as LGBT.
"And that’s just the number we counted. We know there’s more out there. They’re couch surfing. They’re hard to find," says Wilkie.
City officials in Orlando, Fla., are meeting with social services providers to brainstorm ways to better accommodate this population. They're expected to add two more shelter beds for LGBT youth this month. Still, Wilkie admits, that’s not enough.
She's hoping to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) this fall to help expand that capacity. Her five-year plan is to open a group home, and three other residential sites, for LGBT homeless youth.

Federal Changes

The Obama administration made LGBT youth homelessness a bigger priority than any administration before it. The same isn't true for the White House under President Trump.
In 2014, Obama’s HUD launched the LGBTQ Youth Homelessness Prevention Initiative to inform "national strategies for preventing homelessness among LGBTQ youth." The Trump administration has not continued to fund it.
The Obama administration also rolled out the LGBT Equal Access rule, which prevents discrimination in public housing on the basis of sexual orientation, marital status or gender identity. In testimony last month, HUD Secretary Ben Carson told Congress that the rule is still in effect, but critics say the department has taken down or discredited the Obama-era guidance.
The Obama-era efforts made it possible, Wilkie says, for cities to begin making blueprints of their own for their LGBT populations. Last year, New York City announced plans to open its first shelter for LGBT youth. It's projected to open at the end of this year.
"These new beds would be available once renovations, permitting and certifications have been completed by state and city agencies," said Mark Zustovich, spokesman for New York City Department of Youth and Community Development, in an emailed statement.
In the meantime, the city has drop-in shelters catered to the LGBT population in each borough. But advocates worry that they turn away young people.
"It’s really important to diversify housing. Emergency shelter gets brought up a lot, but not every youth is going to adapt to emergency. If you’re 19, are you going to be able to adapt to shelter rules? It doesn’t work as well," says Orlando's Wilkie.
Curfews and bans on guests and pets are cited as reasons why youth don't like traditional shelters.

LGBT Representation

Councilmember Hansen, an openly gay man, credits the opening of these LGBT-specific shelters for homeless youth to the increased visibility of LGBT people in government and politics.
In November, for instance, the number of LGBT state lawmakers rose to 129 -- at least three of them won in states that had never elected an openly gay or transgender legislator before. And this year, a record number of big cities could elect a lesbian for mayor.
"Now that we’ve gained seats at the table, we’re better able to address the needs [of these populations]," he says. "Our representation means something, and that’s why we run."

November 29, 2017

Australia's AG Tells Young People "There is Nothing Wrong With You"

Attorney-general George Brandis has told young gay Australians "there is nothing wrong with you" in a heartfelt speech supporting same-sex marriage in the Senate.
On Tuesday morning, Brandis brought to an end speeches from over 50 senators as part of the debate on a same-sex marriage bill that parliamentarians expect to pass.
Brandis said the passage of the bill will "demolish the last significant bastion of legal discrimination against people on the grounds of their sexuality".
"At last, Australia will no longer be insulting gay people by saying: different rules apply to you," he said. "After centuries of prejudice, discrimination, rejection, and ridicule, [this bill] is both an expiation for past wrongs and a final act of acceptance and embrace."
Brandis spoke at length of the pain and confusion often experienced by young gay people, saying the passage of marriage equality would send a message that ameliorated their hurt.
"I want to reflect for a moment on the message this will send, in particular, to young gay people: to the boy or girl who senses a difference from their friends, which they find difficult to understand and impossible to deal with," he said.
"In his first speech in the parliament, my friend Tim Wilson spoke movingly of his own experience of confronting that knowledge, as a tormenting fear 'that took an energetic 12-year-old and hollowed his confidence to eventually doubt his legitimate place in the world'.
"How many hundreds of thousands of young Australians have known that fear? How many have lived with it, silently and alone? How many have failed to come to terms with it and been overborne by it? By passing this bill, we are saying to those vulnerable young people: there is nothing wrong with you. You are not unusual. You are not abnormal. You are just you.
"There is nothing to be embarrassed about. There is nothing to be ashamed of. There is nothing to hide. You are a normal person and, like every other normal person, you have a need to love. How you love is how God made you. Whom you love is for you to decide and others to respect." 
Brandis made historical references through the speech, starting with the South Australian push to decriminalize homosexuality, which began in 1972. He also cited a 1989 essay by conservative writer Andrew Sullivan, Here Comes The Groom, saying: "It proved to be one of the most influential publications of the late 20th century because it kicked off the gay marriage debate."
Brandis said legalizing same-sex marriage would "stand as one of the signature achievements of the Turnbull Government".
"It rises above tawdry day-to-day politics as an imperishable legacy," he said. "If I may draw a comparison: nobody today remembers the arguments about the state of the economy, or the policy controversies or the political intrigues, that took place during the government of Harold Holt. Like all political ephemera, they have faded into history.
"But people do remember the 1967 referendum, that great act of inclusion of Indigenous Australians. As the years and decades pass, its significance only grows.
"And I predict that, like the 1967 referendum, this decision by the Australian people, enabled by their government and enacted by their parliament, will come to be seen as one of those occasional shining moments which stand out in our nation’s history, about which people will still speak with admiration in decades, indeed in centuries to come; one of those breakthroughs which have, as the wheel of history turns, defined us as a people."
Brandis described November 15, the day it was revealed Australians had voted "yes", as a triumphant and joyous day.
"Like all of the best and most enduring social change, it was not imposed from above," he said. "The will for it germinated in the hearts and minds of the people themselves. Now that the Australian people have spoken, it is for us, their elected representatives, to respond.
"And so, let us now complete the task which they have set us, and for which so many of us have worked for so long."
The ensuing vote to move to debate on amendments, carried on the voices, was in one way significant, as the first time either house has voted in favor of marriage equality. In another way, though, it marks just another procedural step along the complicated path to the bill becoming law.
The Senate is now debating a series of amendments to the same-sex marriage legislation.
Lane Sainty

May 9, 2017

Central American GayYouth AreFleeing Their Countries Due to Sexual Violence

Sexual and gender-based violence by gangs, particularly against girls, has been a major driver of Central American youths from the region, a group that protects immigrant children reported Thursday. 
Gang members are using rape, kidnapping, torture, sexual violence and other crimes, predominantly against women and girls and people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, as a main tactic to expand their control of territory in Central America, according to Kids In Need of Defense(KIND). 
"Our research found that sexual and gender-based violence by gangs causes many children, especially girls and LGBT children and youth, to flee Central America and seek safety in the U.S.," said Rachel Dotson, director of gender and child migration initiatives. 
Much of the violence is being seen in Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. The violence is worsened by the impunity of gang members. Many don't report the crimes or when they do they or their families are subject to gang violence, the report states. 
"Representatives of government agencies in all three countries acknowledge that there is little their governments can do to protect their children," Dotson said. 

A 14-year-old Guatemalan girl traveling alone to the U.S through Mexico.

In this June 19, 2014 photo, a 14-year-old Guatemalan girl traveling alone to the U.S. waits for a northbound freight train along with other Central American migrants, in Mexico Rebecca Blackwell / AP

The region's problems and the migration, asylum and border issues it raises for the country will be the topic of a mid-June conference the administration plans in Miami, Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said separately Thursday. 
"There's corruption there, there's terrible intimidation. They're afraid for their parents. These cartels … are horrifically violent and they hold neighborhoods, cities in a grip of fear and that includes police in many cases,” Kelly said at a forum held by the Atlantic Council, which released its own report on Central America. 
The release of the reports came the same day the Senate approved a sweeping $1.1 trillion spending bill that included $655 million for Central America. The money is aimed at bolstering the region's security and economy and stemming migration from the region to the U.S. The House approved the bill Tuesday.  
The amount is $95 million less than what was provided in 2016. It also falls short of the $1 billion the Obama administration requested from Congress in 2015 after a wave of Central Americans, including many unaccompanied youth, hit the southern border. 
"It is heartening to see USAID and the Department of State will continue to focus on addressing root causes (of the violence and migration), but it is a disappointment it is a reduction in funding," said Lisa Frydman, director of regional policy and initiatives. 
For its research, KIND interviewed 60 Central American children in Mexican custody and reviewed documents from 36 KIND client cases. Researchers also did 58 interviews with judges, police, prosecutors and representatives of advocacy groups in the region. 

Image: Detainees sleep in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility

Detainees sleep in a holding cell at a U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing facility in Brownsville, Texas on June 18, 2014. Eric Gay / AP

The Atlantic Council report was the result of a year of work on the region's issues by a task force. It also raises issues of gangs and violence against women and girls as well as the building of security and justice systems, but also focuses on economic and other issues. 
"El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are too often relegated to the back burners of U.S. foreign policy-making. Their fate directly impacts millions of Americans," said John Marczak, a director at the Adrienne Arsht Latin American Center and task force director, in a statement. "It is time for a new call to action based on long-term investment and partnership." 
Kelly, a retired Marine Corps general, had worked on Central America's issues - once accompanying then-Vice President Joe Biden to the region - as the head U.S. Southern Command. 
In his remarks, Kelly tied the region's problems in Central America to the drug trade that people turn to for lack of economic opportunity. 
The drug flow in the region "is entirely due to the drug demand in the United States - heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine," he said. 

Image: Heroin samples at Ohio Attorney General's headquarters

Heroin samples at the Ohio Attorney General's headquarters of the Bureau of Criminal Investigation in London, Ohio on Sept 16, 2015. Ty Wright / The Washington Post/Getty Images, file

"The reason for the drug flow is our drug demand and we do nothing about it," said the DHS Secretary. "Yes we try to rehabilitate drug addicts, yes we try to arrest our way out of this but we do little in our country, my country, the United States of America, to try to get at this incredible drug demand of the three hard drugs that as a direct result, is what is happening in Central America - a breakdown of societies, lack of police effectiveness and a lot of other things." 
Kelly said the mid-June conference is "a direct result of President Trump telling me to fix the problems on the southwest border." 
The first day will deal with economic development and the region's countries opening themselves to investment, he said. 
He said "the Mexicans are co-sponsoring with us. We've got Canada, Panama, Costa Rica, Colombia … as well as we think some European countries, the EU coming in." 
Kelly also said Vice President Mike Pence will attend one day, and potentially the secretaries of Commerce and Treasury and others administration officials. The presidents of Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador and Luis Alberto Moreno, the president of the Inter-American Development Bank, will also be in attendance. 
Kelly said the second day would focus on security - better police, better border protection and an improvement in their police.

April 7, 2017

LGBT Youth More Likely to be Arrested and Jailed

A disproportionate number of sexual minority youth in the U.S. are criminalized and subjected to abusive treatment in correctional facilities, a new study focusing on youth in detention found.

Conducted by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, the study defines sexual minorities as those who identify as lesbian, gay and bisexual, as well as those who identify as straight but have had some attraction to the same sex.

The study reported on three key findings: 60 percent of all incarcerated girls are sexual minorities; sexual minority youth are two to three times more likely to be held in custody for more than a year compared to heterosexual youth; and gay and bisexual boys are nearly 11 times more likely than straight boys to report having experienced sexual violence by peers.

"The findings support calls by policymakers and advocates for the need to pay attention to the unique needs of LGB (lesbian, gay and bisexual) youth in state systems," Dr. Bianca D.M. Wilson said in a statement released by the Williams Institute.

The study’s findings were based on a 2012 survey that anonymously questioned a nationally representative sample of youth at juvenile correctional facilities.

August 26, 2016

Since 12% in Youth Facilities are LGBT Its Time to Start the Conversation


Stigma and discrimination, unsafe schools and discriminatory policing drive lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth into the justice system where they are overrepresented and subject to unfair treatment and abuse, says a new report.

Studies show that while LGBT youth make up about 7 to 9 percent of the population, they account for larger percentages of youth in juvenile justice facilities, according to the report by the Movement Advancement Project and the Center for American Progress.

In a survey by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, 12 percent of youth in juvenile justice facilities self-identified as nonheterosexual.

Another survey by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency of seven facilities found that 20 percent of youth identified as LGBT or gender nonconforming. In the same survey, 40 percent of girls in juvenile justice facilities identified as LGBT, while 85 percent of nongender-conforming youth were youth of color.

“This report confirms once and for all what many of us have known for some time: LGBTQ young people are grossly overrepresented in the juvenile justice system, and it’s no coincidence. We live in a society where discrimination and stigma too often lead to criminalization and mistreatment at the hands of law enforcement,” said Ineke Mushovic, executive director of the Movement Advancement Project (MAP), in a news release.

The report highlights research on the experiences of LGBT youth to create a portrait of what factors help push them into the justice system, what happens once they are there and recommendations for change.

The hope is that a comprehensive round of the research can encourage a conversation about solutions that can make a difference for LGBT youth. The report’s recommendations include reducing homelessness for LGBT youth, reforming policing strategies and improving support for LGBT youth when they are released from facilities.

Naomi Goldberg, MAP policy and research director, said the field has taken an interest in LGBT youth once they are in custody, as part of a broader conversation about conditions of confinement. But conversations about how LGBT youth end up in the system also are beginning, especially at the local level.

“I think there are places where city officials and advocates are recognizing that LGBTQ youth are overrepresented and are particularly vulnerable, but it doesn’t feel like a conversation that is happening systemwide the way conditions of confinement conversations are,” she said.

One opening for a broader conversation could come as cities consider how to improve policing policies, Goldberg said.

“My hope is that LGBT people will be a part of those conversations,” she said.

The new report is a companion to one the co-authors released earlier this year that looks at the experiences of all LGBT people in the justice system, including youth.

Youth experiences

The report traces some of the reasons LGBT youth are disproportionately likely to end up in the justice system.

For example, family stigma or mistreatment in the child welfare system can mean youth run away and stay on the streets, making it more likely they will encounter law enforcement. Similarly, students who are bullied in school because of their sexual orientation or gender identity may be more likely to miss class or drop out. They then could face charges such as truancy or otherwise come in contact with the justice system.

Once in the system, studies show LGBT youth are more likely to be held while awaiting adjudication, are vulnerable to sexual assault and abuse, and do not receive the services they need for a smooth re-entry into the community.

“Their experiences in these systems are a huge threat to their lives and life chances, and we are doing far too little to prepare them for a healthy and productive life after release,” said Shannon Wilber, youth project director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

January 14, 2015

In Jamaica Homeless Youth are Outlawed from even Calling the Gutters Home (RU A GAY TOURIST?)

Youth walks through Shoemaker Gully before it was sealed shut after a raid on Dec. 23, 2014. (Photo courtesy of
Youth walks through Shoemaker Gully before it was sealed shut after a raid on Dec. 23, 2014. (Photo courtesy of
Jamaican activists who balk at the idea of forcing LGBT youths to live on the streets are trying to find a feasible alternative now that police have ousted dozens of youths from Shoemaker Gully, a drainage channel in New Kingston.
The youths had lived in that gully for two years after being expelled from their homes for being gay, then rousted out of abandoned buildings. Police have repeatedly raided the gully — most recently just before Christmas. Again and again, the youths were arrested, warned, released and then allowed to return to their only home — the gully.
At Christmastime 2014, however, the gully was sealed so they could not return to it.
Activist Yvonne McCalla Sobers, former head of the Dwayne’s House initiative that sought to build a shelter and training center for the youths, stated:
Homeless LGBT youths sleeping in Jamaican sewers. (Photo courtesy of Micheal Forbes)
Homeless LGBT youths sleeping in New Kingston drainage channel known as Shoemaker Gully — before they were forced out on Dec. 23. (Photo courtesy of Micheal Forbes)
The youth are today in a worse situation than they were last month, last year, or even the year before that. Shoemaker Gully, “home” to the youth since the latter part of 2012, has been sealed off and made inaccessible to them.
They have been set adrift in a city that is unfriendly to the homeless in general, and particularly hostile to homeless persons who are gay or trans*. So they sleep where they can and how they can, hoping to remain undetected by police or civilians. Providing them with any kind of support has become challenging because there is no longer a central location at which they can be found.
The local police superintendent has proposed establishing a shelter where the youths could be housed and trained for gainful employment, as have the advocates who are raising money to open such a shelter under the name of Dwayne’s House. But nothing has yet come of those plans.
Activists and the news media presented vastly different version of the Dec. 23 raid.  RJR News Online reported:
New Kingston police Senior Supt. Fitz Bailey
New Kingston police Senior Supt. Fitz Bailey
“Senior Superintendent Fitz Bailey, Head of  the Police Division, told RJR news that the operation targeted suspects linked to major crimes, including murders committed in and around New Kingston. Several persons were detained by the police during the operation.
“He said 40 to 60 individuals had sought refuge in the gully, and that New Kingston residents were fed up with the situation.
” ‘They have been wreaking havoc on the business district, in terms of their involvement in criminal activities, from robbery, larceny, burglary, and even two murders. The citizens and business people have really been intimidated and they have exhibited a level of frustration,’ he explained.
“He said a multi-agency approach will continue to be used, as the police are determined to drive criminals out of  New Kingston.” 
In contrast, McCalla Sobers said:
“In the December 23 arrest of ten of the youth, the police said these youth were to be questioned for serious crimes. However, the only youth in the group who was on the police wanted list was able to scale a wall and escape from the lockup; and the other youth were released within hours of their being held. “
She added:
Scene from police raid on LGBT youth in Shoemaker Gully in March 2014. (Click image for video.)
Scene from police raid on LGBT youth in Shoemaker Gully in March 2014. (Click image for video.)
“The claim can now be made that New Kingston is safe with the removal of these youth who are seen as criminals. Now. there are thieves who have taken refuge in the gully; this is a known minority for whom the majority invariably takes the blame.
“In the time of my close association with the youth, the usual policing practice was to make a periodic show of force, detaining eight to ten of the youth at a time. Media would be present, and the impression would be given that the police were being tough on crime in New Kingston. However, most of the detainees would be released, some within hours. The remainder would be charged with minor offences such as littering, loitering, or ‘calumnious language.’
“The police have a list of the youth whom they say are ‘wanted.’  The other youth in the gully have tried, without success, to persuade those committing the crimes to cease the theft or leave the gully. The youth point out that the alleged offenders invariably escape while non-offenders are arrested and harassed before being released.
“Recently, some of the youth confronted the most-wanted person on the police list who had once again taken refuge in the gully after committing a serious offence. There was an altercation in which the most-wanted man stabbed one of the youth just before police arrived on the scene. The police allegedly stood by as this most-wanted man stabbed the youth three more times. As this youth lay bleeding on the ground, the others in the gully [allegedly] appealed to the police for help, to no avail. Ultimately, the injured youth was taken to hospital by another set of police who came on the scene. The most-wanted man [allegedly] stood by with the bloody knife, and no attempt was made to arrest him.”
What’s next? McCalla Sobers said:
“There has been some movement toward finding shelter for these youth. The Member of Parliament representing the New Kingston area has identified a space deemed suitable for housing these youth. An entity has allegedly offered to provide funds for setting up this shelter, but these funds would not be available until mid-year if the promise is fulfilled.”
Dane Lewis, executive director of J-FLAG
Dane Lewis, executive director of J-FLAG
Dane Lewis, executive director of the Jamaica Forum for Lesbians, All-sexuals and Gays (J-FLAG), has asked Jamaicans to be more compassionate toward the homeless youths, who he feels have been marginalized and are victims of a hostile society. J-FLAG has urged stronger action by members of parliament to  solve the problem of homeless LGBT youths.
Activist Maurice Tomlinson said that a recent Home 4 the Holidays campaign  raised only about $10,000 Canadian dollars [US$8,500] plus about US$900 for a shelter for the youths — far less than the US$350,000 that was estimated as needed for the proposed purchase.
McCalla Sobers added:
“The current perspective of the youth is that they have risked their safety by showing their faces on multiple documentaries in the hope that the publicity would help them to find stability in their lives. They need tangible evidence to show they are not being abandoned and neglected yet again. Help for these youth cannot come soon enough in 2015. “

About Colin Stewart

Colin Stewart, a 40-year journalism veteran, is publisher and an editor of the "Erasing 76 Crimes" blog. More profile information on Google+.

Featured Posts

Tenn. Gov. Bill Lee Signs Bill to Allow Adoption Agencies to Deny to Gay Couples

Every kid you see in all three photos are either homeless or orphans Joel Ebert   ...