What is “SOGIE?”
SOGIE is an acronym that stands for sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. The term ‘LGBTQ’ is specific to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people, but SOGIE refers to characteristics common to all human beings, because everyone has a sexual orientation and a gender identity. Due to its inclusivity, “diverse SOGIE” is often used to describe the LGBTQ+ community.
In 2018, MCYJ and partners completed a collaborative project with the Wayne County Care Management Organizations that involved hosting listening sessions with youth with diverse SOGIE who have had contact with the juvenile justice system. Using input from directly impacted youth and staff who serve them, the project trained staff and amended policies to be more affirming for youth with diverse SOGIE. The project improved staff cultural competency, reduced placements in facilities, increased referrals for behavioral health services, and introduced new policies and procedures for working with diverse SOGIE youth. A full report “Transforming Justice for Youth with Diverse SOGIE in Wayne County” is available here.
Based on additional needs identified during our initial project, MCYJ is continuing these efforts by partnering with residential facilities serving diverse SOGIE youth from Wayne County to create sustainable trainings, implement policies, and expand community-based care and foster placements to effectively support the needs of diverse SOGIE youth, particularly in regard to housing transgender and gender nonconforming youth according to their gender identity. If you are interested in learning more about the current licensing variance process for placing diverse SOGIE youth in child caring institutions based on their gender identity, check out our webinar with Ruth Ellis Center and Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, available here.