Celebrating Pride Month
“Every child and youth who is unable to live with his or her parents is entitled to a safe, loving and affirming foster care placement, irrespective of the young person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression.”
U.S. Administration on Children, Youth and Families
Each June Pride Month events are held throughout the United States to celebrate the progress the LGBTQI community has made as well as acknowledge the challenges still faced to achieve full equality. This celebration occurs in June to commemorate the Stonewall Riots. In the early morning of June 28, 1969, a raid of the Stonewall Inn, a gay nightclub, sparked several days of riots which ultimately served as the launch of the modern gay rights movement.
Though great progress is being made in the United States and throughout the world toward LGBTQI equality, youth all too often come out to family members and experience rejection, poor treatment, and violence. While LGBTQI youth often enter foster care for reasons of abuse and neglect similar to those of other youth, in some cases, they may be forced out of their home or choose to run away based on the treatment they receive when coming out. Because of this, available research indicates that LGBTQI youth are over-represented in the foster care population.
While in care, LGBTQI youth often experience further challenges. A high percentage of youth continue to experience harassment and violence once placed in care due to their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. This treatment adds to the trauma already experienced from abuse and/or neglect and leaving their biological family. This often leads to multiple placements, decreased likelihood of finding permanency, and an increased risk of homelessness.
Because of the unique challenges faced by LGBTQI youth in foster care it is imperative for those involved in their life, including the child welfare system, to understand and offer support for these distinctive experiences. Many resources are available to develop competencies and to better understand how to support and positively address issues faced by LGBTQI youth. Like all children and youth, LGBTQI youth both need and deserve a safe and stable environment where they can express themselves and learn skills to thrive as healthy adults.
For more resources, please follow the links below: