- Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth
Media Contact for State Commission Recommends LGBTQ Training, Inclusion in Annual Report
Corey Prachniak-Rincón, Director, MA Commission on LGBTQ Youth
Boston — The Massachusetts Commission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer & Questioning (LGBTQ) Youth today released its annual recommendations to state lawmakers and regulators outlining actions to be taken to better support LGBTQ youth in communities across the Commonwealth.
“Now more than ever, our state government is the first line of defense for LGBTQ youth across Massachusetts,” said Corey Prachniak-Rincón, Director of the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth. “The report we have released today outlines some basic actions that, if acted upon by leaders across state government, would dramatically benefit young people who identify as LGBTQ. Each of these recommendations we have put forward would send a powerful message to LGBTQ youth that they are recognized for who they are and that our state government supports them.”
State and national data continuously demonstrate that, despite some progress in achieving legal equality, LGBTQ people face significant barriers in attending school, accessing services, gaining employment, finding housing, and living safely in their communities.
The first set of core recommendations in the report relate to addressing discrimination and bias, which the Commission sees as having a particularly strong correlation to the issue of bullying and suicide prevention. Among them:
- Requiring basic LGBTQ competency training for all state employees and contractors
- Adopting policies that recognize gender identity diversity in state workplaces
- Eliminating discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation in all settings statewide
- Establishing an interagency collaboration to address familial rejection of LGBTQ youth
The Commission is also issuing recommendations specifically related to its three focus areas: homelessness, criminal justice, and health, including:
- Restoring to previous levels the budget line items for prevention of youth homelessness and services for youth experiencing homelessness
- Increasing data collection of on sexual orientation and gender identity throughout the juvenile and criminal justice systems.
- Decriminalizing consensual sexual relations among parties close in age.
- Banning the harmful and discredited practice of conversion therapy.
“The truth of the matter is that even in 2018, here in Massachusetts, LGBTQ youth face discrimination and disparities that their peers do not,” said Alexander Nally, Chair of the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth. “Our goal is to bring to the forefront the laws and policies that would allow our state to make faster and more meaningful progress in the pursuit of equality for all young people who live here.”
The most recent available data show that LGBTQ students in Massachusetts are twice as likely to experience bullying in school as are their non-LGBTQ peers, and are three times as likely as others to experience cyberbullying
The data shows that LGBTQ youth are also more at risk of being subjected to violence. Among students who have been on a date, 22.5% of LGBTQ respondents reported that a date hurt them physically, compared to 7.5% non-LGBTQ respondents reporting the same.
The full report, released today, can be accessed online at www.mass.gov/annual-recommendations