A group of LGBTQ youth awaits action from the Chamber | Regional News
Stronger anti-bullying protections, better data collection in the criminal justice system and support for HIV prevention programs are among recommendations of a state commission focused on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender youth , queer and questioning.
The Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth’s annual report, released Tuesday, also outlines a far-reaching legislative agenda, calling for passage of a series of bills and flagging others that will not become law this session, because lawmakers have already led them into a dead end. study orders.
Shaplaie Brooks, the commission’s executive director, said this year’s recommendations focus on “five key areas” that disproportionately affect LGBTQ youth – inclusion in schools, homelessness, juvenile justice, health and sexual violence.
The report highlights a handful of measures passed by the Senate that House leaders failed to introduce, including a bill on sex education that supporters call the Youth Health Act, a bill bill that aims to facilitate the access of homeless young people and adults to the state. ID, and another allowing a non-binary gender marker on birth certificates and encoding the non-binary Motor Vehicle Registry ‘X’ option on driver’s licenses and identity cards.
Each of these three bills is before the House Ways and Means Committee, as is a Senate-backed mental health access bill that the committee also wants House lawmakers to pass. .
In its report, the commission also recommended “the decriminalization of minors engaging in consensual peer-to-peer dissemination of explicit visual material” and called for “education in this area in lieu of criminal penalties”.
In May, the House passed an Explicit Imagery Bill which, along with measures targeting the practice known as “revenge porn,” aims to overhaul law enforcement responses to teen sexting by creating a new offence, entirely separate from child pornography charges, for minors. who share explicit materials.
Under the bill, which is before the Senate Ways and Means Committee, Bay Staters ages 16 and 17, who have reached the age of consent but not legal adulthood, would not face penalties for consensual sexting. A new diversion program would provide education and support for minors who share explicit images of themselves or their peers.
The committee is backing a bill that would remove the requirement for parental consent for young adults to have access to pre-exposure prophylaxis drugs for HIV prevention. The House has inserted similar language into its version of next year’s state budget.
The commission said in its report that LGBTQ youth are twice as likely to enter the juvenile justice system as their non-LGBTQ peers, with LGBTQ youth of color facing greater disparities.
As a way to identify and address disparities, the commission recommends increasing the collection of data on sexual orientation and gender identity within the juvenile and adult criminal justice systems. The panel supports a bill to improve data collection on juvenile justice and another that would collect data on LGBTQI prisoners held in restrictive housing.
Commission-backed bills that have reached completion in the legislative process this session include proposals to add mental health as a required subject in K-12 schools, remove criminal penalties for sexual Consensus among near-age youth and to demand school resource officers should be based in police stations rather than on school grounds.