Copyright (c) 2004 The Trustees of Boston University
The Boston University Public Interest Law Journal
NOTE: THE KIDS ARE NOT ALRIGHT: ADDRESSING DISCRIMINATORY TREATMENT OF QUEER YOUTH IN JUVENILE DETENTION AND CORRECTIONAL FACILITIES
14 B.U. Pub. Int. L.J. 117
Peter A. Hahn
Queer 2 youth face homophobia in every aspect of our culture, from routine epithets flung in school hallways 3 to omnipresent assumptions concerning traditional marriage. 4 Children in the juvenile justice system 5 are not immune from the heterosexism, harassment, and institutional prejudices perpetuated by the sexual majority. Documented experiences of children and adult staff within juvenile detention and correctional facilities 6 ("juvenile facilities" or "facilities") bear out this truth.
Girl in juvenile facility:
Then (staff) asked me: "Are you a lesbian? Because if you are, we are going to put you in a room by yourself." It was so I wouldn't try to get at anyone else. Just because I like girls, I ain't going to go try to get at every single one of them! 7
Staff worker in residential juvenile detention center:
The attitude of "Why can't you just act straight while you are here?" ... It is like, "Wait a minute, you are punishing the wrong person here." Instead of working with the attitudes of homophobia and bigotry, it just further isolates the kid in a situation where they are already pretty scared. 8
In a system already rife with injustice, young men and women who find themselves in the sexual minority must also deal with widespread ignorance and intolerance of their identity in juvenile facilities. Many queer youth already encounter obstacles that trouble varying overlapping populations in the juvenile justice system, 9 including the overrepresentation of ...
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