LGBTQ+ & Two-Spirit youth

Deprecating LGBT+ Youth in Foster Care

Hello again everyone, and welcome back to my blog. My name is Tristan, I'm 18 years old, and I'm a 2015 All-Star from Las Vegas, NV. The content I'll be covering today concerns my advocacy work both as a foster youth and as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community.

My activism in the foster care system stems from the abuse I faced for being a transman by my social workers, foster parents, and school faculty. These resources that I was dependent on were harming me because of an aspect of myself that I couldn't change. It is my mission to ensure that this behavior by these parties is not condoned or replicated within the system ever again. I worked my way up to the All-Star internship by pursuing my passion for advocacy, and the platform I've been given has allowed me to advance my undertaking.

Because of this amazing opportunity, I'm solidly set on turning public speaking/advocacy into a career for myself. Sharing my story has made me paradoxically vulnerable and empowered. I've learned the importance of my experience in foster care and how impactful it is on perpetuating change. Being outspoken and working alongside Nevada's legislators are two important steps in creating LGBTQ+ friendly laws. Three goals I have in mind to improve the foster care system are marked homes which are LGBT+ friendly, cultural sensitivity training for social workers, and resources made available for youth; whether it be peer support or literature on how to live authentically, I cannot emphasize how important resources are for developing youth. By keeping the youth's confidence and self-esteem up, they have the opportunity to flourish.

In a perfect world, no foster youth would have to face abuse because of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, and it's not such an impossible idea. Ultimately, when I was pinned against a wall and given the choice to reduce myself to less than human or to fight back, I chose to rebel. The fiery passion I hold within myself is enough to push this movement forward.