3Center or American Progress | The Unair Criminalization o Gay and Transgender Youth
up o 40 percen o he homeless youh populaion even hough hey only compose 5percen o 7 percen o he youh populaion overall, and 39 percen o homeless gay andransgender youh repor being involved in he juvenile jusice sysem a some level.
Ou o despair and a need or survival, homeless gay and ransgender youh are morelikely o resor o criminal behaviors, such as drug sales, he, or “survival sex,” whichpu hem a risk o arres and deainmen.
Tese youh are also a an increased risk o deainmen or commiting crimes relaed o homelessness, such as violaing youhcurew laws and sleeping in public spaces.
Family rejecion, which ses o a ragic chain o evens or many gay and ransgender youh,is a he core o hese issues. Cailin Ryan o he Family Accepance Projec a San FranciscoSae Universiy, whose research has brough o ligh he negaive impacs ha amily rejec-ion can have on gay and ransgender youh, emphasizes he need o provide opporuniieso help suppor and srenghen amilies in order o promoe nururing environmens orgay and ransgender children.
Early inervenion can help amilies and caregivers reducehe risk o hese youh enering he juvenile jusice sysem. I is imporan ha law enorce-men ocials, disric atorneys, judges, and juvenile deenders seek ways o keep gay andransgender youh and heir amilies ogeher, raher han pushing or incarceraion.
Biased school discipline policies
Unorunaely, schools do no always provide a reprieve or youh experiencing am-ily rejecion. According o he Gay Lesbian and Sraigh Educaion Nework’s SchoolClimae Survey, 84 percen o gay and ransgender sudens repor being verbally harassed, 40 percen physically harassed, and 19 percen physically assauled.
Wha’s more, gay and ransgender sudens repor asonishingly low levels o condencein heir school adminisraors and oen do no repor incidens because hey expeche siuaion will no improve or ear i migh even become worse. Tis is no surprisingconsidering ha one-hird
o bullied gay and ransgender sudens who repored bully-ing o school ocials said he adminisraors did nohing o address he issue.
In ac, school ocials in many ways exacerbae hese problems and place urher sressand burden on gay and ransgender youh by disproporionaely doling ou harsh schoolsancions agains hem or minor disciplinary inracions. Te school and juvenile jusicesysems have become inexricably linked in recen years wih schools relying heavily onlaw enorcemen o manage wha in he pas were school discipline issues.
Te conse-quence o his confaed discipline sysem is ha i unduly criminalizes youh o colorand gay and ransgender youh.