American Trans Kids

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As the debate continues over which bathroom transgender people should use, a more complex question is emerging about how early the medical transition begins for trans kids. Families and doctors are rewriting the rules as they decide when and how to start medical intervention before transgender youth hit puberty.

About 2 percent of American youth identify as transgender, and that estimate is conservative since the population is likely underreporting. “I feel comfortable saying that any survey of LGBT identity likely underestimates the full population because it only accounts for one part of sexual and gender minority status, ‘identity’,” said Bianca Wilson of the Williams Institute, a national think tank at the UCLA School of Law that advances sexual orientation and gender identity law.

In addition to fighting for acceptance, transgender children and their families are faced with medical questions that could be life-changing. These decisions are even harder for those young trans and gender nonconforming people who don’t have family support. Estimates show that about 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBT.

This documentary explores the emotionally charged and rapidly evolving issues faced by trans youth and their parents in a time of drastic political and societal change.

Can Preferences be racist?

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This is going to be controversial: In a new episode of MTV Decoded, Dylan Marron tackles an ongoing problem in the gay community: racism. Particularly, the sexual racism found on dating apps.

“When gay men are confronted with their racist language, many try to explain it away as ‘a preference.’” Marron says. “I mean, they can’t help it, it’s just how they feel. As if they were captive to some mystical, romantic force that naturally discriminates against people of colour.”

Before you get all defensive, hear him out: “This is where structural racism comes into play. Because preferences are actually shaped by learned values. When you’re judging a person based solely on their racial background, you’re acting on generalizations you’ve learned to associate with that person’s appearance or heritage. You can’t say it’s their personality because you shut them down before you even got to know them.”

Watch the full video below:

The choice to be unafraid

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Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon was honoured with the Visibility Award at the Human Rights Council annual gala on Saturday — and as we’ve come to expect from him, he completely stole the show with his poignant words.

“When I was little I used to care so much about what others thought of me,” he said. “I was mindful of the way I dressed, my mannerisms, the way I talked. I was afraid people would think I was weak. I was afraid of making mistakes. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be welcomed by the LGBTQ community because someone like me wouldn’t be the role model they were looking for. Maybe I was too gay, and maybe I was just too myself. Throughout my life, I have fallen short many times. I have felt depressed. I felt not good enough. And I felt like there would never be a day where I would feel like I belong. I was living life afraid. I remember hearing the quote, ‘What would you do if you weren’t afraid?’ I remember really hearing it, and honestly asking myself, ‘What would I do differently?’

“I remember making the choice to be unafraid,” he continued. “I made the choice to not care what others thought of who I was. I was going to be truly me. This was the biggest and most important decision I’d ever made: To live fearlessly. To take risks. To let go of my fear of what others may think of me, and to always keep learning. You will find that you will have your greatest success when you wear your scars proudly. Through my shortcomings and from my successes, I’ve learned that a champion is more than a medal. It’s a mindset.”

He closed with a powerful, inclusive sentiment: “To all the young kids out there, whether you are gay, straight, bi, trans or still on a journey of self-discovery; whether you are white, black, or any color in between, you are smarter than you think. You hold more strength than you may ever know. You are powerful. No matter where you have come from or where you are going to, there is someone who looks up to you, and they will find inspiration in your strength of just being yourself. Be a role model, and never forget that you can be someone’s champion. You are a winner. When we all come together, we can change the world.”

Homeless Queer Youth in the UK

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Over 10,000 young queer people were made homeless in the UK last year, new figures show. Freedom of information requests from 234 councils across the country show 45,000 18-24 year-olds came forward to local authorities in past year.

Figures from the Albert Kennedy Trust show that of young homeless people in the UK, about 25% are queer. Therefore, of the astonishingly high number of young people who have come forward to say they are either homeless or at risk of becoming homeless – an estimated 11,250 are queer.

However, with more than 100 local authorities not providing information – the Guardian reports the real number could be much higher.

The AKT figures make the LGBTI representation among homeless young teens hugely disproportionate. Additionally, they also show coming out is the reason nearly four in five of the young LGBTI teens AKT spoke to become homeless.

Moreover, once homeless, queer youth are more likely to experience targeted violence and discrimination. They are also more likely to abuse drugs, face sexual exploitation, and take more risks in their sex lives.

Speaking at the announcement of their partnership with National Student Pride, Tim Sigsworth, CEO of the Albert Kennedy Trust says:

“AKT believe that youth homelessness is the most pressing human rights issue facing the UK LGBT+ community. No young person should have to choose between a safe home and being who they are.”

Gay singer Troye Sivan has spoken out about LGBTI homeless youth

Troye Sivan spoke to queer kids in New York about being homeless. The singer visited the Ali Forney Center in New York City and spoke to three LGBTI youth aiming to turn their lives around.

Sivan met Skye, Maddox and Lala, who all had their different reasons for being homeless. The three are part of the centre’s youth ambassador program and are looking to, and working on, turning their lives around.

“As a community, we’ve come so far,” Sivan said. “But we clearly have a very, very, very long way to go. Now it’s my job, and our job, to keep pushing that forward and keep moving things in the right direction.”