Stigma and discrimination, unsafe schools, and discriminatory policing drive lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth into the justice system where they are overrepresented and subject to unfair treatment and abuse, says a new report quoted by the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. While LGBT youth make up about 7 to 9 percent of the population, they account for larger percentages of youth in juvenile justice facilities, says the report from the Movement Advancement Project and the Center for American Progress. In a survey by the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, 12 percent of youth in juvenile justice facilities self-identified as nonheterosexual. A survey by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency of seven facilities found that 20 percent of youth identified as LGBT or gender nonconforming. Some 85 percent of nongender-conforming youth were youth of color.
“This report confirms once and for all what many of us have known for some time: LGBTQ young people are grossly overrepresented in the juvenile justice system, and it’s no coincidence. We live in a society where discrimination and stigma too often lead to criminalization and mistreatment at the hands of law enforcement,” said Ineke Mushovic of the Movement Advancement Project.