My partner and I spend a lot of time talking to our kids about leading purposeful lives. They’re still young, so mostly we say things like, “it’s important to be a good friend,” and “when you see something is wrong, it’s your job to speak up.”

It’s really simple. But it’s also the reason I work at GLAD.

At the end of the day, GLAD’s job is to fight wrongs and support those who don’t always have a voice. And young people in the juvenile justice system, the child welfare system, and schools – especially youth of color – are the ones who need us most of all.

Together with the wider GLAD community, we are creating a future where every kid is safe, affirmed, and cared for, no matter who or where they are.

It’s often hard for kids to access the legal resources they need and rights they deserve. That’s why GLAD fights so hard on their behalf. It’s why we help them find their own voices and advocate for themselves and their peers.

Our Youth Initiative is often a key lifeline for youth who have the odds stacked against them:

  • GLAD is working with school administrators, teachers, and coaches to ensure that the identities of transgender youth are fully respected.
  • We are fighting for LGBTQ youth in foster care systems to make sure they have safe placements, vital medical care, and supportive environments that enable them to thrive.
  • GLAD is working to make New England a conversion therapy-free zone. With victories this year in Connecticut and Rhode Island, and our ongoing work in Maine and Massachusetts, we are protecting LGBTQ youth against the harmful and fraudulent practice of conversion therapy.
  • We’re fighting for incarcerated youth, through individual representation and systemic advocacy, to redress damaging and unsafe conditions, institute more humane policies and practices in facilities, and advocate for community-based alternatives to juvenile prisons.

Young people impress and inspire me every day. They are courageous, tenacious fighters. They have endless capacity to grow, and to change the world around them. Together we can lift up our collective vision for a safer, fairer world and make sure that youth have the rights, affirmation, and resources they need and deserve, right now.

So many young people need our help. Which means that together we have so many opportunities to make a difference in their lives.