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HHS Promotes: 'Embrace, Encourage, Celebrate' Gay, Transgendered Children

8:18 AM, Jul 1, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
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The Department of Health and Human Services recently recognized the RISE project (Recognize, Intervene, Support, and Empower) in Los Angeles County for its work to fight "anti-gay and anti-transgender bias" in the child welfare system in the county:

To address the over-representation of LGBTQ youth in the foster care system, RISE set out to develop and evaluate a multi-pronged approach to helping LGBTQ youth find permanent and supportive families. Early research revealed that many LBGTQ youth in the foster care system question whether their environments are safe spaces.  RISE engaged youth to design posters named “Brave Space” and other materials to let all youth know that caseworkers, offices, and other environments are safe places.  Equally important is the message to others that anti-gay and anti-transgender remarks won’t be tolerated.

One of the posters features the rainbow colors now ubiquitous in LGBTQ literature along with a message to "embrace, encourage, celebrate who we are."  The poster also discourages "homophobic, transphobic, racist, or sexist put downs and remarks."

The Q in the LGBTQ acronym employed by HHS stands for questioning. The even longer acronym LGBTQIA (adding "intersex" and "asexual," or "ally") has not gained widespread usage yet, although it has appeared on government websites from time to time, such as a 2013 Department of Education conference on bullying.

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