“Hidden Injustice,” a new report from the San Francisco-based Equity Project, describes the plight of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender youths in the nation’s juvenile justice and court system. These youths represent the most misunderstood, abused, bullied, and marginalized of any in juvenile justice, says St. Paul Pioneer Press columnist Ruben Rosario. The report provides a sobering portrait of that disparity.
“Across the country, LGBT youth contend with biased treatment by juvenile court professionals, unduly punitive responses, harmful ‘treatment’ programs, and unsafe conditions of confinement,” says the report, which Rosario says is worth reading, regardless of where you stand on sexual-orientation issues. Example: A 16-year-old transgender (male-to-female) youth is the subject of relentless harassment and abuse while in a boys’ detention facility. Instead of advocating for his client’s safety, the youth’s lawyer argued for continued incarceration because of the youth’s “nonconforming gender identity.”