- Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth
Media Contact for LGBTQ Youth Commission’s Annual Report Finds Gender and Racial Disparities
Dr. Jo Trigilio
Boston, MA — On April 4th, 2019, over 100 people filled the State Library of Massachusetts to see the release of the annual report of the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth (now available for download here). In addition to issuing its yearly recommendations to the Governor, Legislature, and state agencies, the Commission also reported on new data on LGBTQ youth in the Commonwealth, which included new findings on the disparities facing LGBTQ youth of color and female- and femme-identified lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth.
Following remarks by Representative Kay Khan on the issues of conversion therapy and homelessness among LGBTQ youth, Senator Julian Cyr spoke about his time as the Chair of the Commission and led the formal swearing-in ceremony of the Commission’s 50 members.
The Commission was also proud to present its Advancing Equity Award to several community members who work in the Commission’s core issue areas of increasing inclusion, advancing justice, improving health, and ending homelessness:
- Katherine O’Connor and Leo Spooner, youth activists for transgender rights
- Sana Fadel, Deputy Director of Citizens for Juvenile Justice
- Athena Vaughn, Senior Transgender Health Navigator at Fenway Health
- Alexander Nally, Former Chair of the Commission on LGBTQ Youth
In to days since the release of the annual report, the Commission has welcomed the increased coverage of LGBTQ youth issues and the new findings of the report in the media:
State House News Service reported live from the Commission’s event:
- “It’s time that those who are providing critical services to LGBTQ youth and who have a growing number of LGBTQ coworkers in their offices understand how to interact respectfully and inclusively,” said Sasha Goodfriend, the Chair of the Commission. “This includes things like how do you ask someone their gender pronouns, for example. You can include that in the bottom of your email signature. We know that many state employees want these tools and are eager to learn more.”
- “Whereas we’ve made a lot of progress socially and culturally and politically, when you actually look at lived experiences of LGBTQ youth, particularly vulnerable youth -- youth of color, transgender, and genderqueer youth -- there’s still a lot of work to do, and the data are showing that,” said Senator Julian Cyr, who once served as Chair of the Commission.
- “I think there is another layer for LGBTQ youth around the issues of sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Corey Prachniak-Rincón, Director of the Commission, in a television interview. “I think that every youth goes through some self-discoveries, some questioning, may face peer pressure, may have trouble communicating with parents – these are normal factors in life. But for LGBTQ youth, they may not have someone that they can go to for help, they may not have someone to look up to, a role model for them who identifies the same way. So when we think about families if you’re a youth you have a lot in common usually with your parents, with other people in your family, you can go to them for help - it’s not always true for LGBTQ youth they may not have any other people in their family. So we’re really looking at how we can make sure there are different areas where they can find support.”
The Boston Globe interviewed the Commission’s Director:
- “Many schools provide little information tailored or applicable to LGBTQ teenagers on sexual education,” Commission Director Corey Prachniak-Rincón said. “They need to have information that applies to them and their lives, and that might be different information.” The Commission has recommended making sexual health education mandatory for all districts and LGBTQ-inclusive.
- “Without proper government-issued IDs, LGBTQ youths experiencing homelessness are unable to open bank accounts, enroll in school, access housing, or become employed,” said Prachniak-Rincón, explaining the Commission’s recommendation to have easier access to identification. “They are also at higher risk of adverse encounters with law enforcement.”
Good Morning BU hosted us for a live conversation on LGBTQ youth:
- The Commission’s Director, Corey Prachniak- Rincón, sat down for a live interview to discuss the Commission’s policy recommendations – including banning conversion therapy, which occurred just one week after the publication of the Commission’s report.
Daily Press news reported on the Commission’s data findings:
- “New data from The Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth’s annual report shows more than 31 percent of young LGBTQ people in Massachusetts said they seriously considered attempting suicide in the past year.”
Daily Hampshire Gazette quoted the Commission’s Director:
- “This report outlines important steps that should be taken to better support LGBTQ youth across Massachusetts, said Corey Prachniak-Rincón, Director of the Commission. “The results of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey demonstrate the critical need that exists to ensure LGBTQ youth are healthy, safe, and thriving as they grow into adulthood.”
Download the Commission’s annual report and recommendations, as well asaone-page data summary fact sheet, here. Photos credited to Dreana LeMaitre.