This June, Pride Month comes as a colorful, joyful celebration of diverse communities and a rainbow of ways of living, being and loving. But among the flag waving, let’s not forget those in our community continuing to face hatred for living as their true selves.
LGBTQ+ youth face higher rates of abuse, instability and homelessness than their cishet equivalents, overrepresented in foster care and child welfare systems. Additionally, our Queer kids are more likely to face maltreatment within the home and social system, as well as face living instability and impermanency throughout their childhood.
According to research published in the “Adolescent Research Review,” while only representing a small portion of the total youth population (about 5 to 8 percent), Queer youth “are at increased risk, compared to heterosexual youth, of experiencing hostile environments at home and in wider society and are subject to direct and indirect discrimination, harassment, disadvantage and inequality.”
In fact, the Williams Institute reported that the primary factor in homelessness or housing instability for LGBTQ+ young people is family reaction to a youth’s sexual or gender identity or expression. And LGBTQ+ youth make up at least 40% of the youth population facing homelessness. This is five to eight times the percentage of Queer youth in the US in general.
Queer youth are overrepresented in our welfare systems. According to a 2019 study by the advocacy organization, Children’s Rights, 30.4 percent of youth in foster care self-identify as LGBTQ, compared to 11.2 percent of youth not in foster care. Unstable housing also has negative long-term effects on the child’s wellbeing and overall functional performance.
These statistics only consider one facet of identity. Queer youth of color, disabled LGBTQ+ youth and youth who face multiple social factors of oppression are further overrepresented in these categories.
Instability and cyclical abuse have become a common narrative for our LGBTQ+ youth. Hatred in the home and outside of it can threaten the safety of the child and cause further instability with lasting effects.
CASA is dedicated to helping children who have faced abuse or neglect find permanency and safety. These two goals drive the work of every CASA, who knows that these things are not just ideal but necessary. Each child deserves to be safe and secure.
Support from CASA advocates (CASAs) are one way to make sure that each and every child is truly seen and heard. CASAs can ensure that children’s cases are best directed to its end goal: a safe future.
Our Trans, Gender-Nonconforming, Queer and LGBIA children deserve better. They deserve more than stability, they also deserve acceptance and love, especially in a world where safety is not guaranteed for any child.
So, this Pride month, let us push to make the world a safer place for our Queer children to thrive and work to create every space a safe space so they can shine and thrive as their true, authentic selves.
Learn how you can be a voice for vulnerable children at our monthly virtual info session, every 1st and 3rd Wednesday of the month. Info/RSVP: www.casarr.org/casa101
Referenced studies and more information on LGBTQ+ youth: https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/Serving-Our-Youth-July-2012.pdf https://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/publications/serving-our-youth-lgbtq/ http://www.centerforchildwelfare.org/kb/cultcomp/chapter_brief_child_welfare_508_nologo.pdf https://www.childrensrights.org/lgbtq-2/ https://doi.org/10.1007/s40894-019-00118-w