As we celebrate Pride month at Pivotal, we want to acknowledge the fact that a disproportionate percentage of foster youth – 30.4% - identify as LGBTQ+ as compared to 11.2% of youth not in foster care. In addition, 5% of foster youth identify as transgender, as compared to 1.17% of youth not in foster care.
According to the Trevor Project, LGBTQ youth from foster care are 3 times more likely to report a past-year suicide attempt and have nearly 4 times greater odds of being kicked out, abandoned, or running away due to treatment based on their LGBTQ identity compared to those who were never in foster care
LGBTQ foster youth can be subjected to dangerous efforts that falsely claim to change their orientation or gender identity, including so-called “conversion therapy” and are more likely to suffer from consistent harassment and abuse in foster care, juvenile justice settings and homeless shelters. Transgender youth are often most at risk as their identities are often rejected in state care, and they are often criminalized for acting in self-defense when bullied or abused.
Foster youth are being kicked out, abandoned, or forced to run away due to treatment based on their LGBTQ identity. This is particularly true among transgender and nonbinary youth.
At Pivotal, our goal is to break down the barriers that young people in and from foster care face and we know that LGBTQ+ youth face unique challenges. That’s why our entire organization went through RISE training. RISE stands for Recognize, Intervene, Support & Empower and its purpose is to help organizations like ours respond to the needs of LGBTQ+ youth and combat the heterosexism and anti-LGBTQ+ bias that leads to adverse health and mental health outcomes.
This Pride month, we celebrate all the brilliant young LGBTQ+ youth we work with. We hope we can help them build lives free of discrimination and fear, so they can truly thrive on whatever path they choose.