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The Unfair Criminalization of Gay and Transgender Youth: An Overview of the Experiences of LGBT Youth in the Juvenile Justice System

“Gay and transgender youth are pipelined into the juvenile justice system at disproportionate rates, often stripped of their basic dignity and civil rights, and treated in a harmful and discriminatory manner once in the system. The current policies and practices of schools and the juvenile justice system overlook gay and transgender youth and perpetuate stigma and bias that can lead to their unwarranted criminalization and unfair treatment” (p. 7). This report aims to clear up the confusion regarding the GLBT population of justice-involved youth, their treatment by authorities, and should be read by anyone working with juvenile offenders. Sections of this report include: introduction; why gay and transgender youth end up in the juvenile justice system-family rejection, homelessness, and failed safety nets, and biased school discipline policies; unfair criminalization by the system-classification as sex offenders, and detention as a default; discriminatory and harmful treatment-segregation and isolation of gay and transgender youth, physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, and unsafe reparative or conversion therapy; conclusion and practical and policy recommendations.