Christian Carter, Patrick Gem Gabbett and Sonia Emerson are passionate young people working to make a difference in the lives of other youth across the U.S.
In partnership with FosterClub, HRC’s All Children - All Families project has launched its #FosterEquality campaign to share stories throughout National Foster Care Month of young LGBTQ leaders who have had experiences in foster care. Their stories underscore the importance of learning from and advocating for LGBTQ youth in care who too often struggle with understanding their identities without the support of an affirming adult.
Carter, a queer Black organizer, spent five years in the Pennsylvania foster care system. Growing up in LGBTQ and multiracial households, .
Like Carter, Gabbett also spent time in foster care when they were 17. They now advocate for LGBTQ youth, homeless youth and other marginalized young people. Gabbett is passionate about being a voice for the voiceless — but most importantly, he hopes to create a world where the voiceless are themselves heard.
Emerson spent most of her life up to age 18 in foster care and experienced homelessness for a year after leaving care. Similar to Carter and Gabbett, she feels passionately about giving a voice to marginalized and underserved youth.
According to preliminary findings from HRC and Foster Club’s recent survey of LGBTQ youth with experiences in care, two-thirds of respondents reported feeling unsafe disclosing their sexual orientation while in foster care. Furthermore, more than half of respondents reported not having an adult role model and/or mentor who affirmed their LGBTQ identity.
Carter, Gabbett and Emerson have dedicated their lives to fight for intersectional change for youth with similar experiences by sharing their stories and advocating for LGBTQ youth in foster care around the U.S.
Having an affirming voice and a caring adult can be immensely powerful for young people in care. HRC advocates for foster youth year round through our All Children – All Families project, which helps agencies improve their services for LGBTQ youth in foster care.
If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a foster parent and supporting LGBTQ youth in care, check out HRC’s resources about foster parenting. This month be sure to also take time to watch “The F Word,” a powerful series chronicling the story of a queer California couple looking to adopt a child from foster care.
Learn more about All Children – All Families’ work to promote LGBTQ cultural competency in adoption and foster care at hrc.org/acaf. Want to stay up-to-date on All Children – All Families resources and activities? Subscribe to “Field Forward,” the program’s monthly e-newsletter at hrc.im/field-forward.