1 Effective Strategies for Representing LGBTQ Youth Sarah Bergen, National Juvenile Defender Center
2 Session Agenda Introduction LGBTQ Youth 101 Risk Factors Affecting LGBTQ YouthRepresenting LGBTQ YouthPost-Dispo Representation: Rights of Youth in Out of Home PlacementsQuestions and Answers
3 INTRODUCTIONThe purpose of this session is not to encourage you to find out whether every youth you work with is LGBTQ, RATHER it is about acting as if any/all youth could beGOAL: to improve practices to ensure safety for LGBTQ youth and to increase positive and healthy treatment outcomes for LGBTQ youth
4 Understanding Terminology SEXBiologyGENDERIdentityExpressionAttributionSEXUAL ORIENTATIONAttractionAlso refer to terminology handouts
5 Safe Terminology Use appropriate terminology. When in doubt, ask. Sexual Orientation vs. Sexual PreferenceGender IdentityGender ExpressionL – LesbianG – GayB – BisexualT – TransgenderQ – QuestioningWords to Avoid: Homosexual, Queer, “Slang” or Popular Terms
6 Adolescent Development & LGBTQ Youth Mean age for LGB awareness 10 yearsMean age for LGB disclosure 14 yearsMean age for FTM awareness 15 yearsMean age for FTM disclosure 17 yearsMean age for MTF awareness 13 yearsMean age for MTF disclosure 14 years- Grossman, A.H. “Lesbian. Gay, bisexual, and transgender youth” in P. White & L. Caldwell (Eds.), RECREATION AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT (p ), State College, PA: Venture Publishing (2005)
7 LGBTQ Youth 101In 2009, a national study of youth incarcerated in detention facilities, found that approximately15 %of the youth surveyed were “not straight” as the researchers defined that term. Of that total,11% of boys identified as gay, bisexual or “gender non-conforming”23 % of girls identified as lesbian, bisexual or “gender non-conforming”- Irvine, Angela, Ceres Policy Research, “WE'VE HAD THREE OF THEM”: ADDRESSING THE INVISIBILITY OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND GENDER NON-CONFORMING YOUTHS IN THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM, 19 Columbia Journal of Gender & Law (2010).
8 Take Home PointsIn reality, identities are not binary, they are fluid. There are infinite ways of being.Sex does NOT determine gender and does NOT determine sexual orientationLike all other youth, LGBTQ are not defined by just one aspect of their identity
9 Risk Factors Affecting LGBTQ Youth Family RejectionHarassment & ViolenceSchool BullyingStigmatization and BiasDepression & Substane AbuseSocial Isolation
10 Family RejectionNon-acceptance of an adolescent’s sexual orientation/gender identity leads to:Alienation from the family of originAlienation from religious institutionsExpulsion from the homeSuicides or AttemptsPhysical and Emotional Abuse
11 Family RejectionLGBTQ youth who experience high levels of family rejection during adolescence are:- 8.4 times more likely to have attempted suicide- 5.9 times more likely to report high levels of depression- 3.4 times more likely to use illegal drugs- 3.4 times more likely to report having engaged in unprotected sex compared with peers reporting no or low levels of rejection30% of LGBT youth were physically abused by familymembers as a result of their sexual orientation or genderIdentity39% of LGBT homeless youth are “kicked out” of theirhome because of their sexual orientation or gender-Ryan, Caitlin et al., Family Rejection as a Predictor of Negative Health Outcomes in White and Latino Lesbian Gay, and Bisexual Adults, 23 Pediatrics 346, (2009).
12 Family Rejection (Ctd.) “Because ethnic minority communities are important providers of essential emotional and practical support, their LGBT youth are particularly vulnerable to rejection…Many youth of color hide their sexual orientation and, as a result are often less visible than their Caucasian peers.”- Grov, C. & Bimbi, D.S., Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Generational Factors Associated with the Coming Out Process among Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Individuals, 43(2)Journal of Sex Research (2006).
13 Harassment at SchoolA 10 year national survey of school climate for LGBT youth reveals:72.5% heard homophobic remarks in their schools frequently and 62.6% heard negative remarks about gender expression;61.1% felt unsafe at school because of their sexual orientation and 39.9% because of their gender expression18.8% were physically assaulted because of their sexual orientation and 12.5% because of their gender expressionMore than a third of LGBTQ youth of color had experienced physical violence because of their orientation.52.9% were harassed or threatened by their peers via electronic mediums62.4% of those harassed or assaulted did not report it to school staff believing nothing would be done33.8% who did report an incident said that school staff did nothing- Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network. The 2009 National School Climate Survey: The School Related Experienes of Our Nation’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Tansgender Youth. New York, NY ( ).
14 Harassment at School (Ctd.) 29.1% of GLBTQ students missed a class and 30% missed a day of school in the past month because they felt unsafe in their school.A Massachusetts survey of high school students found that lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are:more than twice as likely to report having been in a physical fight at schoolthree times more likely to report having been injured or threatened with a weapon at schoolA NYC study found LGBT were 3 times more likely to bring a weapon to schoolGay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network. The 2009 National School Climate Survey: The School Related Experienes of Our Nation’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Tansgender Youth. New York, NY ( ).Massachusetts Dept. of Education, 2005 Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey Results 43 (2007).Advocates for Children of New York, Inc., In Harm’s Way: A Survey of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Students Who Speak About Harassment and Discrimination in New York City Schools 4 (2005).
15 StigmatizationLGBT youth are at higher risk for mental health problems:DepressionFeelings of hopelessness and helplessnessLow Self-esteem Self-hatredAttempted or completed suicide30% of GBT adolescent males have attempted suicide at least once.30% of all completed suicides in the U.S. are by LGBT youth.LGBT youth are 4 times more likely to report making a suicide attempt that required medical attention.Substance Abuse60% of gay and bisexual young men are substance abusers, compared with less than 4% of youth population as a whole.U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Report of the Secretary’s Task Force on Youth Suicide: Gay Male and Lesbian Youth Suicide, (1989)Remafedi, G., Adolescent Homosexuality: Psychological and Medical Implications, Pediatrics 79 (1987).Ryan, C. & Hunter, J., Clinical Issues with Youth in “A Provider;s Guide to Substance Abuse Treatement for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Individuals,” Center for Substance Abuse Treatment/SAMHSA, Washington, DC (2001).
16 Factors Leading to JJ Involvement Violence in family after coming outRunaway/throwawayStatus crimes (truancy, incorrigible)Non-violent survival crimes due to homelessnessSubstance abuse due to stigmatization or self-medicationInappropriate sex offense chargesFighting back/self defense
17 LGBTQ Youth & Sex Offenses LGBTQ youth are no more likely than their heterosexual peers to be sex offenders.However, LGBTQ youth may be more likely to be charged with a sex offense.Presumed coercionUneven application of “age of consent” lawsParents pushing for prosecutionIn addition, LGBTQ youth are 4 times as likely to have been detained in juvenile facilities for prostitution- 2% of straight youth, compared with 9% of LGBTQ youth- Majd, K. et al., Hidden Injustice: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth in Juvenile Courts, The Equity Project (2009).- Irvine, Angela, Ceres Policy Research, “WE'VE HAD THREE OF THEM”: ADDRESSING THE INVISIBILITY OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND GENDER NON-CONFORMING YOUTHS IN THE JUVENILE JUSTICE SYSTEM, 19 Columbia Journal of Gender & Law (2010).
18 LGBTQ Youth: Overrepresented in Detention LGB Youth more than 2 X as likely to be detained for alcohol or drug related offenseLGB youth more than 4 X as likely to be detained for any reason38% of LGB youth have been in detentionSanta Cruz County study conducted in 2006 by the Ceres Policy Research
19 Factors Affecting Detention Decisions of LGBTQ Youth
21 Ethical Duty to Represent Expressed Interests Juvenile Defenders:Defenders’ role is to assist the client to “cope with problems of law, to make skilled inquiry into facts, to insist upon the regularity of the proceedings, and to ascertain whether the client has a defense and to prepare and submit it.” In re Gault 387 U.S. 1 (1967)Florida Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1.1IJA/ABA Juvenile Justice Standards Related to Counsel for Private Parties Standards 3.1(a)NJDC Ten Core Principles for Providing Quality Delinquency Representation through Indigent Defense Delivery Systems
22 Attorney/Client Relationship Understand relevancy of youth’s SO or GIApproach youth with an open mindDo not make assumptionsBe aware of personal biases and lack of understandingMaintain an attitude of respectDiversify your surroundings to convey awareness and openness
23 Creating a Safe Environment Talk with youth in a space where they can feel comfortable disclosing information about themselves, their sexual orientation, and gender identityDevelop and maintain a network of local LGBTQ-sensitive providers to whom you can refer your LGBTQ young clientsAllow client to be the gatekeeper of information pertaining to sexual orientation or gender identity
24 Talking to Youth Be aware of any discomfort talking about these topics Respect youth’s gender identity-- chosen name, pronounSpeak in gender-inclusive, non-hetersexist termsRespect confidentiality
25 When might LGBTQ status be relevant? Discriminatory or inappropriate chargesEvidence of mitigationBias & harassmentPast record & AWOL historyDispositional planningServices & programmingRelationship with family & communityPost-dispositional advocacyPlacement/classificationSafety considerations
26 Challenging Bias Courtroom Conduct Charges Probation Placements Treated disrespectfully by court, attorneys, etc.?ChargesAge-appropriate consensual sexual activities?ProbationDiscriminatory conditions?PlacementsSegregated/isolated?Is this the least restrictive placement necessary?ProgramsReparative therapy?
27 POST DISPOSITION REPRESENTATION Legal Rights of Youth in Out of Home Care
28 Right to Safety14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution ensures the right to “reasonably safe conditions of confinement” and “freedom from unreasonable bodily restraint”Physical and emotional safetyAdequate food, shelter, and clothing
29 R.G. v. Koller Court looked at 6 factors: Federal court case in Hawaii alleging due process and other constitutional violations in state Youth Correctional FacilityNames director of agency, director of facility and several individual staff membersFacility has a responsibility to ensure safety of youthCourt looked at 6 factors:Absence of policies and proceduresFailure to train and superviseFailure to respond to complaints, ensure safetyDiscrimination and harassment based on SO and GIAbsence of classification systemInappropriate use of isolation and segregation
30 R.G. v. Koller“In light of ongoing abuse and harassment directed at LGBT youth at HYCF, the supervisory defendants' failure to adopt policies and procedures and to provide training regarding how to ensure the safety of LGBT wards supports a finding of deliberate indifference to plaintiffs' safety. Most notable is the complete lack of training for staff about their obligations to refrain from harassment and discrimination, to intervene in ward-on-ward harassment, and to investigate claims of harassment.” R.G. v. Koller (2006)
31 Right Not to be Isolated “Consistently placing juvenile wards in isolation, not to impose discipline for violating rules, but simply to separate LGBT wards from their abusers, cannot be viewed in any reasonable light as advancing a legitimate non-punitive governmental objective.”R.G. v. Koller (2006)
32 Placement of Transgender Youth In most cases, it is most appropriate to house youth according to their gender identity, not their birth gender. Sometimes a youth may not feel comfortable being housed according to their gender identity.Considerations:Youth’s emotional and physical well-beingYouth’s concernsRecommendations of youth’s therapistFacility’s willingness to support the youthPrivacy issues
33 Responsibility to Provide Medical Care Physical and mental health careServices unique to LGBT youthMedically necessary care for transgender youthRodriguezProper treatment for suicidal youthNo services that cause emotional harmState should provide necessary consent for medically necessary transition related care
34 Equal Treatment Equal application of rules and policies Respond to complaints of harassmentInclusive programming
35 Freedom of ExpressionLimits the right of public systems to censor a young person’s speech or expressionRight to be “out”Display symbols of identityWear clothing consistent with genderFor Transgender youth:Respect youth’s stated identityAllow youth to dress, style their hair, and groom in accordance with preferred gender
36 Examples of State Laws, Policies & Standards CA Juvenile Justice Safety & Protection ActState and local policiesNYCHawaiiVA Defender Standards“Counsel should be knowledgeable about and seek ongoing training in at least the following areas: the issues of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth in the juvenile justice system.”
37 Additional RESOURCES & CONTACT Hidden InjusticeAvailable at:Website contains resources for youth, defenders and other JJ professionalsSee also Himmelstein, K., Criminal Justice and School Sanctions against Non-heterosexual Adolescents: A National Longitudinal Study, 127 Pediatrics (2011)Contact Info:X 103