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DOJ creating $1 million LGBTQ+ center

An LGBTQ flag (torbakhopper/Flickr)
June 22, 2022

President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice (DOJ) is offering a $1 million grant to an organization that will develop and implement a National Resource Center program for “Justice-Involved LGBTQ+ and Two Spirit Youth.”

According to a DOJ document first released in April describing the grant opportunity, the department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) is leading the program which aims to “develop and disseminate resources (e.g., fact sheets, toolkits, online curriculums, webinars, training and guidance manuals, etc.)” that will “support the development and implementation of resources to inform justice systems policies, practices, and/or programs that address the needs of, and improve outcomes for, justice-involved LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirit youth.”

The document does not define what “Two-Spirit” means. It does, however, say that the OJJDP “understands that Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Gender Non Conforming, and Two-Spirit youth is an umbrella term” that described “a broad population of youth who identify with a sexual or gender identity other than cisgender or heterosexual.”

John’s Hopkins University defines Two-Spirit as a “contemporary term chosen to describe certain Native American and Canadian First Nation people who identify with a third gender, implying a masculine and a feminine spirit in one body.”

The document states that the program’s goal is to “support juvenile justice system reforms that address the needs of justice-involved LGBTQ + and Two-Spirit youth,” through policy approaches that protect LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirit youth and by ensuring that practitioners adopt “equitable access and care.”

The final application deadline for the grant is June 22, 2022. It’s not clear when the center would be created after grant approval.

Among the program’s objectives is increasing “the field’s knowledge of, and capacity to address, protective factors such as: Supporting system change, Family engagement and acceptance, Identifying gaps in knowledge related to LGBTQ+ and the intersection of youth of color, Identifying gaps in knowledge related to LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirit youth and the intersection of intellectual disabilities.”

The DOJ’s Office of Justice Programs, which is also involved in the program, said in a statement that it is “committed to advancing work that promotes civil rights and racial equity, increases access to justice, supports crime victims and individuals impacted by the justice system, strengthens community safety and protects the public from crime and evolving threats, and builds trust between law enforcement and the community.”

“This program furthers the Department’s mission by supporting juvenile justice systems reform by providing training and technical assistance to juvenile justice practitioners to assist them in meeting the needs of justice-involved LGBTQ+ and Two-Spirit youth to ensure that contact with the juvenile justice system is rare, fair and beneficial,” the office stated.