LGBTQ Youth in MA Department of Youth Services System

All youth, including LGBTQ youth, have the right to be safe in Massachusetts’ DYS System

You have the right to equal treatment and to access appropriate services while in the juvenile justice system.

You have the right to safe and appropriate placements free from discrimination or harassment based on your actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

If you have an attorney, your attorney should represent you supportively and without bias based on your LGBTQ status.

You have the right to be open about your sexual orientation and gender identity or expression.

You have the right to be identified by your chosen name and pronouns and to wear clothing consistent with your gender identity.

You are entitled to protection from physical, emotional or sexual abuse by other youth or facility staff.

A facility’s response to harassment or violence against you cannot be to move you to a more restrictive facility or to isolate you.

You cannot be segregated or classified as a sex offender based on myths that LGBTQ youth prey on other youth.

You may not be disciplined for engaging in age-appropriate romantic or sexual conduct that would not be punished between two different-sex youth.

You must have access to appropriate medical or mental health care, both for general services and for any medical services that may be unique to you as an LGBTQ youth.

Medical care should not be conditioned on good behavior or withheld as a punishment.

Massachusetts law protects you from having a therapist try to change your sexual orientation or gender identity.

You may report care or treatment concerns regarding an employee or another youth through the Youth Grievance Process or an employee.

Juvenile Criminal Records & Expungement

Expungement: Under the law, getting your record erased is called expungement. After your record is expunged, you can legally say that you have no criminal record. Having your criminal record permanently erased can make a difference when you are applying for employment, housing, and many other necessities.

Only some types of criminal records can be erased. Some examples of eligible records are those relating to:

  • Tagging
  • Drug possessions and distribution
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Theft
  • Sex work

You should talk to a lawyer about whether your records are eligible, and how to request expungement if they are.

For more information on criminal records, visit:
Greater Boston Legal Services
Or contact them: or (617) 371-1234.