Juvenile Justice Systems

As transgender and gender variant youth continue to face harmful discrimination in their homes, schools, and communities, they are at higher risk of juvenile court involvement. Further, their gender identity or expression can significantly affect the course of their case. These youth across the country often face denials of due process, unduly punitive responses, harmful services and programs, and unsafe conditions in confinement.

In 2005, Legal Services for Children, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and the National Juvenile Defender Center came together to launch the Equity Project. One of the outcomes of this collaboration is a groundbreaking study, Hidden Injustice: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth in Juvenile Courts. This report examined the inequities faced by LGBT youth in the juvenile justice system. They also developed a number of recommendations to address them.

Grounded in this study, Gender Spectrum provides focused support to help agencies, courts, and others involved in the juvenile justice system to become more sensitive and responsive to transgender and gender nonconforming youth. Through consultations, individual workshops, ongoing training, or assessment of policies and practices, we build agencies’ capacity to meet the pressing needs of the young people in the system.

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