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Biden and Washington: LGBTQ youth at risk

As lifelong public servants, we've both committed our lives to the notion that no matter who you are, where you're fr...

Posted: May 21, 2018 10:46 PM
Updated: May 21, 2018 10:46 PM

As lifelong public servants, we've both committed our lives to the notion that no matter who you are, where you're from or who you love -- every individual deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Period.

Over the past decade, the United States has made tremendous progress toward equality for all -- including new laws like the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Action and landmark Supreme Court decisions including Obergfell v. Hodges and U.S. v. Windsor to affirm the equal treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people.

But history shows us that legal equality does not automatically translate into lived equality in our communities. Today, too many members of the LGBTQ community continue to face discrimination, harassment, rejection and physical violence every day at school, at work, in their neighborhoods and even in their homes.

This crisis is especially severe among youth. LGBTQ youth are five times more likely to attempt suicide than their heterosexual peers, and they represent up to 40% of the homeless youth population even though they make up only about 7% of the overall youth population in the US.

In addition, LGBTQ individuals and families experience disproportionately high rates of poverty, food insecurity and violence. According to the FBI, LGBTQ individuals have surpassed other groups as the most likely to be targeted for hate crimes.

Our shared belief is that communities -- and our nation -- cannot reach their full potential when a segment of the population is marginalized, and these harrowing statistics demonstrate we're not yet where we want to be.

Collectively, we can do something about it. Research has shown -- and we've witnessed through the work of our organizations -- that communities thrive when everyone has an equal opportunity to reach their full potential, contribute their talents and connect with their neighbors to work for the greater good.

In addition to helping protect our LGBTQ youth, we believe that placing greater emphasis on equality and inclusion is vital to developing strong economies, a vibrant democracy and safe and welcoming communities for all.

That's why the Biden Foundation and YMCA of the USA are launching a new initiative to foster LGBTQ inclusion and equality. Working together, we will begin to change our culture to one of greater inclusion, empathy and understanding by enhancing the ability of YMCAs to serve LGBTQ youth and adults and fostering greater understanding in communities across the country.

Here's how it will work: a cohort of Ys -- diverse in geographic location, size and membership -- will develop and implement locally focused strategies designed to engage and support LGBTQ individuals and their families. These strategies may include staff training; member outreach and engagement; program innovation for LGBTQ youth, adults, seniors and families; and community collaborations. Over time, the best practices and tools developed by the cohort will be disseminated to Ys nationwide.

This kind of work -- work to ensure everyone has a fair shot at the American dream and to build stronger, more welcoming communities -- is what drives our organizations, and we call upon others to join.

Every American deserves to be treated with dignity and respect, but too many in the LGBTQ community are denied this basic human right today. This is unacceptable in a country founded on the belief that we all are created equal.

Equality and opportunity for all is the way to a brighter future, and at the Biden Foundation and the Y, this is the future we are working to create.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 60101

Reported Deaths: 1689
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hennepin19057831
Ramsey7444265
Dakota4334104
Anoka3618114
Stearns288620
Washington207744
Nobles17626
Olmsted171823
Scott153218
Mower10992
Rice10298
Blue Earth9115
Wright8695
Carver8413
Clay77940
Sherburne7188
Kandiyohi6891
St. Louis52119
Lyon4263
Todd4242
Freeborn3591
Steele3451
Nicollet33313
Benton3203
Watonwan3080
Winona25916
Crow Wing23214
Beltrami2230
Le Sueur2171
Martin2075
Chisago1991
Otter Tail1933
Goodhue1929
Cottonwood1770
McLeod1730
Pipestone1559
Becker1521
Polk1504
Waseca1480
Douglas1391
Itasca13812
Unassigned13741
Carlton1350
Pine1290
Dodge1260
Isanti1230
Murray1221
Chippewa1031
Wabasha910
Morrison891
Brown882
Faribault870
Meeker852
Rock830
Sibley832
Jackson810
Koochiching773
Pennington751
Mille Lacs713
Cass692
Fillmore640
Renville635
Lincoln570
Grant533
Swift521
Yellow Medicine520
Roseau470
Pope460
Aitkin401
Houston390
Norman390
Redwood360
Kanabec341
Wilkin343
Hubbard330
Marshall300
Mahnomen261
Wadena260
Red Lake240
Big Stone220
Lake200
Stevens180
Clearwater140
Traverse100
Lac qui Parle70
Cook30
Kittson30
Lake of the Woods20

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 48398

Reported Deaths: 925
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Polk10223207
Woodbury371652
Black Hawk311566
Linn234887
Johnson206719
Dallas187835
Buena Vista179112
Scott171614
Dubuque166531
Marshall143826
Pottawattamie131426
Story116014
Wapello88133
Muscatine84648
Webster8017
Crawford7273
Sioux6253
Cerro Gordo60917
Warren5571
Tama54929
Jasper47626
Wright4651
Plymouth4579
Dickinson3804
Clinton3793
Louisa37814
Washington29810
Boone2553
Hamilton2461
Franklin23910
Bremer2247
Clarke1993
Emmet1914
Carroll1881
Clay1861
Shelby1831
Hardin1780
Des Moines1692
Marion1690
Poweshiek1578
Benton1551
Allamakee1544
Floyd1532
Jackson1511
Mahaska13917
Cedar1311
Guthrie1315
Jones1302
Buchanan1271
Hancock1222
Butler1212
Henry1203
Madison1182
Pocahontas1152
Lee1133
Lyon1132
Delaware1111
Cherokee1081
Humboldt1081
Harrison1060
Clayton1043
Taylor980
Iowa971
Winneshiek951
Page940
Monona910
Kossuth890
Mills890
Palo Alto840
Sac840
Calhoun832
Jefferson830
Osceola830
Fayette820
Grundy791
Winnebago790
Mitchell780
Union771
Monroe727
Cass711
Worth660
Lucas634
Montgomery594
Davis551
Chickasaw540
Howard490
Appanoose483
Fremont420
Greene410
Keokuk341
Van Buren341
Adair290
Ida290
Audubon281
Decatur230
Ringgold211
Wayne191
Adams160
Unassigned70
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