Addressing the Harm of Silence and Assumptions of Mutability: Implementing Effective Non-Discrimination Policies for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer Youth in Foster Care
UC Davis Journal of Juvenile Law and Policy, Winter 2013
40 Pages Posted: 24 Aug 2012 Last revised: 3 Apr 2015
Date Written: August 1, 2012
This article builds upon the momentum of recent media attention on and increased litigation over the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth by addressing the unique problems of sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination in foster care systems in the United States. Part I of the article addresses disproportionate risk factors facing LGBTQ youth, including homelessness, foster care, and isolation. Part I also advocates against modern incarnations of “conversion therapy” that pressure youth to identify as heterosexual or to remain silent about sexual orientation and gender identity issues. Part II discusses the relevant framework of statutes and case law and explores concrete avenues for legal advocates when an LGBTQ-identified youth has been harmed by discrimination or conversion attempts. Part III provides a survey of non-discrimination policies that can serve as models for all state foster care systems to build upon. Part III also discusses necessary steps for successful implementation of a sexual orientation and gender identity non-discrimination regulation or policy in the foster care settings.
Keywords: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender, Youth, Juvenile Law, Foster Care, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, Non-discrimination
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