Children’s Rights stands with transgender and gender nonconforming people in the fight against hatred that has resulted in the murders of at least 32 transgender people in the United States in 2019.
“I think every day about the transgender youth we have worked with over the years who have been pushed out of child welfare systems, charged as criminals for defending themselves and lost to us through cruelty, homelessness and poverty. The very systems that were meant to protect them exposed them to violence and discrimination. As we mark this solemn day, we renew our commitment to protecting and defending their rights.” — Christina Wilson Remlin, Lead Counsel, Children’s Rights.
Through our work with children in systems of care across the country, we know that TGNC kids in child welfare and juvenile justice systems are uniquely vulnerable to discrimination, abuse, harassment and neglect. A recent study found that the percentage of transgender youth in foster care is almost five times higher than the rate of transgender youth in the general population; TGNC youth are also similarly overrepresented in our juvenile justice systems. They are sometimes subjected to so-called “conversion therapy” treatment, a dangerous effort that falsely claims to be able to change their gender identity, expression or sexual orientation.
I think every day about the transgender youth we have worked with over the years who have been pushed out of child welfare systems, charged as criminals for defending themselves and lost to us through cruelty, homelessness and poverty.Christina Wilson Remlin, Lead Counsel, Children’s Rights
When TGNC youth’s identities are rejected in state care, they are often criminalized for acting in their own self-defense. Without safe foster care placements, and without the vital support of caseworkers and other child welfare professionals, they flee abuse in foster care only to face homelessness and sexual exploitation, and to experience suicidal thoughts. Tragically, the suicide rates for transgender and gender-nonconforming people are much higher than the national averages. And we know those impulses spike when young peoples’ identities are not supported.
As we remember the transgender people we have lost, however, we must not lose heart: we know it is possible for TGNC youth to be affirmed and respected in systems of care. Children’s Rights and other advocates published Safe Havens, a comprehensive profile of organizations across the country that are doing right by TGNC youth. We implore providers to follow their lead to help TGNC people feel the love and affirmation they deserve. In doing so, we will be one step closer to ending the cycle of violence against TGNC communities across the country.