Nov 15: LGBTQ Youth in the Juvenile Justice System

LGBTQ Youth in the Juvenile Justice System

Join members of Gender JUST as they discuss the challenges and experiences of LGBTQ youth in conflict with the law.

Research suggests that LGBTQ young people are disproportionately impacted by the juvenile justice system. Join members of Gender JUST to discuss the challenges faced by LGBTQ youth in the system and to also underscore their resilience.

The issues facing LGBTQ youth have been at the forefront of public discussions around sexuality and sexual orientation. In particular, the issues of LGBTQ youth suicides and homelessness have garnered much attention, with discussions about “epidemics” in both. The National Coalition for the Homeless web site says that 20% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ, yet only 10% of the youth population identifies as such. For the most part, the analysis of these issues and the solutions proposed are based on a model of pathology and a direct connection between a supposed epidemic in queer youth being kicked out by families and their subsequent homelessness, which then supposedly lead to a “life of crime.” Such analyses ultimately propose that the best solution is a world where LGBTQ youth are accepted for who they are and allowed to express themselves.

Gender JUST will first demonstrate that, in fact, the primary problems facing LGBTQ youth are structural and linked to matters of poverty and a lack of social services and support systems for them. These are problems that are symptomatic of a neoliberal, privatized political and social framework which diminishes public resources and increases our dependence upon philanthropy and corporate solutions. Through presentations and a workshop format, we will discuss how queer youth are criminalized in terms of gender presentation, documentation status, ableism (mental illness and substance use in particular) and their engagement with street economies. We will discuss how youth and allies resist the privatizing of the very real issues facing LGBTQ youth, and how this work dismantles the juvenile justice system and the prison industrial complex.

5:30 p.m.
Gage Gallery
18 S. Michigan Ave

Download the flyer HERE (PDF).


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