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Statement by Attorney Vickie Henry Before The Massachusetts Commission on GLBT Youth

GLAD presented testimony June 20 before the MA Commission on GLBT Youth panel addressing the needs of youth across the state.  Here is an excerpt from the testimony presented by Senior Attorney Vickie Henry, who leads GLAD’s Youth Initiative:

Chairman Lipkin and Members of the Committee:

As the leader of GLAD’s youth work, I have had the opportunity to speak to hundreds of youth across the Commonwealth, from Boston to Pittsfield to Salem to Hyannis to Holyoke and more.  GLAD has been co-presenting a Got Rights? workshop for students with youth from BAGLY, The Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth.  I have been able to speak directly with these young people as well as GSA advisors and teachers about what they need and how schools and the law can do better by our youth.  I have also spoken to youth who experienced our foster care system.  The theme of this testimony is that adults can and must do better – we need to enact stronger laws and we need the adults charged with implementing those laws to set the tone that the Commonwealth, its agencies, and the school districts within it support LGBTQ youth and will not permit discrimination against them.

Key Points From the Testimony:

  • Out-of-Home Youth Need Safe Shelter
  • LGBTQ Youth Need Transparency and Accountability From Schools When They Report Bullying
  • LGBTQ Youth Need Advocates in Every School, Not Just in the Statehouse
  • Creating a Positive School Climate Will Not Only Protect Youth From Bullying, But Also Improve Academic Performance

Read the full testimony here.