Biden and Washington: LGBTQ youth at risk
by Joe Biden and Kevin Washington
May 21, 2018
CNN) – As lifelong public servants, we’ve both committed our lives to the notion that no matter who you are, where you’re from or who you love — every individual deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Period.
Over the past decade, the United States has made tremendous progress toward equality for all — including new laws like the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Action and landmark Supreme Court decisions including Obergfell v. Hodges and U.S. v. Windsor to affirm the equal treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people.
But history shows us that legal equality does not automatically translate into lived equality in our communities. Today, too many members of the LGBTQ community continue to face discrimination, harassment, rejection and physical violence every day at school, at work, in their neighborhoods and even in their homes.
This crisis is especially severe among youth. LGBTQ youth are five times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers, and they represent up to 40%of the homeless youth population even though they make up only about 7% of the overall youth population in the US.