BBBS of Washtenaw County Supports the LGBTQ+ Community
To all of our program participants,
BBBS of Washtenaw County (BBBSWC) wishes to affirm its stance that transgender rights are human rights, and that trans youth deserve the same protection, empowerment, and legal treatment as all other youth. We believe that all children, regardless of their race, their gender, how much money they have, or who they love, deserve equal protection and treatment under the law.
BBBSWC considers child safety and empowerment to be paramount. The recent actions taken against LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer/Questioning) individuals, specifically targeting trans families, cannot go unacknowledged. We at BBBSWC believe that the recent actions taken across the country by legislatures targeting LGBTQ people are harmful to children and families based on our work, our research, and scientific consensus. As we draft this statement, the ACLU is tracking over 400 pieces of proposed anti-LGBTQ legislation in the US - you can find that information here. This number is staggering, and we find ourselves yet again called to advocate against discriminatory and violent policies in our nation. This is the same hatred tackled by Martin Luther King Jr, by Rosa Parks, by Susan B Anthony, and by Harvey Milk - simply re-skinned to attack yet another vulnerable population.
Hatred is hatred, no matter who it’s directed towards, and it cannot be the motivating factor behind the world we build for our children. Current research and data from social work practice, including BBBS’s own work into addressing LGBTQ+ inclusion in our programs, shows time and time again that these types of policies and beliefs contribute to higher suicide rates in LGBTQ+ kids, higher rates of youth homelessness in LGBTQ+ kids, and overall worse outcomes for LGBTQ+ kids. We cannot in good faith allow these policies to continue unaddressed, and unchallenged.
When you tell trans children that there’s something wrong with them, that they aren’t deserving of fair treatment and may even be arrested by the state government – they don’t suddenly stop being trans. They grow up to face higher rates of mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, and even PTSD, directly linked to familial and community abuse. They grow up to face higher suicide rates and rates of homelessness, as these policies not only prevent trans kids from flourishing, but they prevent trans adults from accessing public resources and supports. These policies create disparity, inequality, and above all harm families and children.
BBBS of Washtenaw County is a safe place for children and families of all identities. As we let our participants know during enrollment: we do not discriminate against anyone based on race, gender, sexuality, religion, ethnicity, or class. We believe that all children deserve to have their potential defended, ignited, and supported as they navigate a world that may not treat them with the respect they deserve.
If you are experiencing any type of discrimination, whether it be transphobia, homophobia, racism, sexism, classism, or religious intolerance, BBBSWC stands with you. We’re dedicated to creating environments and communities that empower and support all children, and that includes those who may be persecuted based on natural, implicit parts of who they are. If you or someone you know is struggling, consider contacting one of the support lines on our JEDI page, or call 988 for immediate crisis counseling.
With love, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Washtenaw County