Last week Americans celebrated a historic Supreme Court decision confirming that federal employment protections extend to and protect gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender workers. The positive implications of this ruling are far reaching and worth celebrating especially as we conclude Pride Month.
For the children we serve, this decision from the highest court in our nation is a hopeful sign for a future when they can safely and fully embrace their true selves.
That future is one that needs to be fought for. In our advocacy for the welfare and safety of all children in DC, we can attest to the fact that LGBTQ youth of color – especially Black trans girls – face often extreme and sometimes violent levels of racism and adversity.
Unfortunately, that adversity may come from their own families. National data consistently shows that LGBTQ youth are overrepresented in foster care. While many LGBTQ children enter care for the same reasons as their straight, cisgender peers, some come into care because their families do not support who they are. For all of these children, the move into foster care can increase their feelings of rejection and cause additional trauma. These moments may compound – increasing the child’s risks of suicide, depression, homelessness and sexually transmitted infections.
Our lawyers, social workers and investigators work hard to create a safe space for LGBTQ children and teens.
At 14 years old, Rosii* came out as lesbian. She courageously shared the news with her Children’s Law Center lawyer and with her foster parents. By sharing resources and information, Rosii’s lawyer supported her foster parents in moving from simply accepting Rosii’s sexual orientation to creating an affirming environment.
No matter where a child is in their journey of discovering their gender identity or sexual orientation, we train all our staff to take extra care in creating a safe and affirming environment. We also created this linked robust resource which we have shared with our partners across the child welfare system so we can collectively support and advocate for all LGBTQ youth in foster care.
We want all LGBTQ youth to feel safe being their true selves at home – especially now when they can’t easily take a break to visit with friends. It is one of the many reasons we are staying in extra close contact with the children we work with during the entirety of this public health crisis. But we can’t do this without your help.
As we wrap up the last day of Pride month, let us continue celebrating LGBTQ youth all year long by advocating for safe, affirming homes and communities for every child.
Thank you, as always, for your support.
*Children’s Law Center works hard to protect our clients’ confidentiality. The client’s name and some details about the child have been modified.