This guide provides tips, strategies and resources to LGBTQ youth, ages 14-21, who are exiting the youth justice system. Its purpose is to help young people take charge of their own decision making and build essential life skills. The guide provides short exercises to help youth set goals, navigate juvenile probation, find meaningful employment, succeed in school and practice self-care, self-discovery and self-advocacy.
The guide offers advice from young people who have navigated being part of the youth justice system as well as service providers who serve them.
It recognizes the importance of giving young people the opportunity to be leaders in their own reentry process as they exit the youth justice system. Letting young people take charge of their decisions and feel they have a sense of agency in their own case planning helps build essential skills needed in their day-to-day lives to advocate for themselves and their needs — skills that will serve them well into adulthood and for the rest of their lives.
Creating a world where LGBTQ youth are seen, safe and supported
When providing services to LGBTQ youth exiting the youth justice system, the goal should be to make sure youth develop the skills necessary to move forward, advocate and care for themselves and create a future that includes a supportive community and opportunities for success in whatever they choose to pursue.
Young people navigate their lives under the weight of justice system involvement
Justice system involvement for young people is connected to myriad difficulties and challenges that may stay with them through adulthood. It is well-documented that some of these challenges include disconnection from education that limits professional and economic opportunities, access to resources and a social network; housing insecurity; and poor mental and physical health. This is particularly true for Black and Latino system-involved youth and even more so for lesbian, gay, bisexual, questioning, gender nonconforming and transgender youth of color, who are overrepresented in the youth justice system.
LGBTQ Youth Benefit From Strategies and Tools That Help Them Build Essential Life Skills
Findings & Stats
Showing Up as Your True Self
LGBTQ youth could introduce their chosen name and pronouns across their job application documents, including below their legal name on their resume, in their cover letter in parentheses, after their name with their contact information and in their email signature in all communications with a recruiter or hiring manager.
Get the Documents Your Probation Officer May Need
Youth on probation usually need the following documents: photo identification, birth certificate, Social Security card, Social Security number, work visa and court-related or case-related documents.
What To Do If Misgendered
For folks who are part of the LGBTQ community, showing up as their true selves can be challenging, but is a key to their growth, healing and success. Remember, young people are not defined by anything they’ve done or solely by a single identity. They get to define who they are.
Young people have other experiences and identities that may be just as important to them as being LGBTQ, and it is okay to remind people to not focus only on that part of their identity.
Statements & Quotations
For folks who are part of the LGBTQ+ community, showing up as your true self can be challenging, but is a key to your growth, healing and success. Remember, you are not defined by anything you’ve done or solely by a single identity. You get to define who you are.
You’ve got other experiences and identities that may be just as important to you as being LGBTQ+, and it is okay to remind people to not focus only on that part of yourself.
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