NY Gov. Cuomo Mandates LGBT ‘Competency Training’ for Shelter Employees

‘Nearly 40% of young people in homeless or runaway youth shelters identify as LGBTQ…’

(Joshua Paladino, Liberty Headlines) New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law on National Coming Out Day, Oct. 11, to mandate that organizations caring for homeless youth take LGBT competency training.

“It is undeniable that a disproportionate number of LGBT kids end up in the care of homeless organizations because their families refused to accept them for who they are,” Cuomo said in a statement. “That’s why it’s common sense to ensure the adults who care for these young people every day are equipped with the tools and information they need to understand issues specific to LGBT youth.”

Every person who works with companies that “provide care to runaway or homeless youth” in New York State must learn about the “needs and issues of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth.”

“I’m especially proud to sign this measure into law on National Coming Out Day and once again demonstrate to the LGBT community that New York State has their back,” Cuomo said.

The primary purpose of the re-education initiative is to shame employees into using “correct terminology when talking about gender identity and sexual orientation.” In other words, New York State will likely require employees to use pronouns that do not refer to a child’s biological sex.

The program will also address how these employees can protect LGBT youth from the homophobia and transphobia of other children in shelters.

New York State Senator Brad Hoylman commented on the alarming number of LGBTQ youth in homeless shelters. 

“Nearly 40% of young people in homeless or runaway youth shelters identify as LGBTQ. In fact, LGBTQ youth are twice as likely as their peers to experience homelessness,” Hoylman said. “Therefore, it’s essential that our shelter system be equipped to handle the distinct challenges these youth face.”

Neither Cuomo nor the law’s sponsors addressed whether issues other than homophobia and transphobia are contributing to the high rate of self-identified LGBTQ youth in homeless shelters.