About 7 to 9 percent of young people in the United States identify as LGBTQ or gender-nonconforming. But recent research finds that percentage doubles among youth in juvenile justice facilities—and that these facilities are neglecting to keep LGBTQ youth safe or meet even their most basic needs, from housing to health care.
More than 54,000 youth in America currently are held in a juvenile justice facility. Most youth in these facilities are boys, and Black youth are greatly overrepresented—trends that bear a striking resemblance to the country’s adult prison population. As many as 40 percent of girls and 14 percent of boys in the juvenile justice system identify as LGBTQ or gender-nonconforming. Eighty-five percent of LGBTQ youth behind bars identify as youth of color.This article was originally published in Rewire.