A Gay Foster Child in D.C.

I’ve spent part of my morning reading Jason Cherkis’ “Queer and Loathing: Does the Foster Care System Bully Gay Kids?“, in Mother Jones. It’s a difficult, damning examination of one child’s story and it sits at the intersection of so many issues we must resolve, as a society. This twisted my stomach in to knots:

As a gay foster child in Washington, DC, Kenneth spent most of his weekends alone. By the summer of 2009, the isolation had gotten so bad that he’d started calling his cell-phone carrier’s help line with imaginary complaints, just so he could vent to somebody about something. He would even text himself encouraging messages, like “Good job,” or “Damn you so strong.”

You’d think placing Kenneth would be relatively easy. He had decent grades and no criminal record. He spent his weekend nights doing chores, and loved to show off his spotless stove or the 17th redesign of his tiny bedroom. Although he struggled with a mood disorder, he’d learned to keep it in check. But what people saw first were his lipstick, his painted nails—his sexual orientation. “I’m just really worried about where we place you,” the judge said at one hearing. “I don’t know that there’s a perfect place.”

The rest is here.

  • Anonymous

    I would take a child like this in if I were a foster parent, but I’m not, and probably most foster families are not as open minded as I am.

    One thing I feel is missing in American culture is discipline and conformity amongst minors. By spoiling our kids and teaching them that no matter what, they “deserve” to be accepted or even lavished with adoration, we are doing them a disservice.

    This youngster has a sense of entitlement. If as a minor who is dependent on adults for his/her wellbeing s/he is unable to tweak a small part of his/her “personal expression” like refraining from wearing cosmetics at least until legal adulthood, then somewhere along the line he or she has been misguided.

    When s/he is on his/her own and fending for his/herself, then s/he can pile on the makeup as much as s/he likes as well as join a LGBT support group.

    But until then I say a little conformity would hurt him/her, just has it has not hurt me.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for your point of view, Anonymous.