By: Amy Spierling

Happy Pride!

Queer youth and kids are overrepresented in foster care and in the juvenile justice system, but instead of focusing on the negatives (if you’d like to know more, see here), I’d like to share some local queer history, events, and resources with our LGBTQIA+ youth. When we can see ourselves reflected in history, it can help ground us in the present.

Queer Liberation in California

Did you know that San Francisco and Los Angeles had LGBT riots years before the more famous Stonewall riots? Drag queens and trans women rioted at Compton’s Cafeteria in protest to ongoing police harassment and violence. It was common at the time to be arrested for the crime of “female impersonation” if you were found to be wearing 3 or more items of the ‘opposite gender’- and shirts buttoning “the wrong way” counted!

San Francisco had the first known gay youth organization in the United States, Vanguard. Many of the youth were homeless and trans.

Harvey Milk was the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California, and helped defeat the Briggs Initiative, a proposition that would have banned gays and lesbians from working in public schools. Florida had just reversed its anti-discrimination ordinance, and the fear was that these anti-LGBTQ laws would spread nationwide.

Your Rights

California law protects foster children and youth from discrimination based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity. It also protects your right to express yourself through clothing, hygiene, and grooming and to be referred to by your chosen name and gender pronoun. You also have a right to reproductive and sexual health care, mental health care, treatment and prevention of STDs, and gender affirming health care. You can also consent to or decline services regarding contraception, pregnancy care, and perinatal care including abortion services.

Local Events


If you feel like your rights have been violated, you can contact: