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Is The Texas Foster Care System Failing LGBTQ Youth?

Is the Texas Foster Care System Failing LGBTQ Youth?
Kristopher Sharp (left) and his partner Kahlib Barton. Sharp grew up mostly in foster care institutions, in part because he was identified as gay when he entered Foster care.

 

Is The Texas Foster Care System Failing LGBTQ Youth?

The Texas Foster Care System Is Designed To Protect All Youth. But The System Failed One LGBTQ Youth In A Major Way!


 By Cade Michals | Investigative Journalist, About News

Most can’t imagine the thought of not experiencing love from a parental figure. At age 18, Kristopher Sharp aged out of the Texas Foster Care System becoming homeless, with no skills, or job. He became one of Houston’s unspoken problems plaguing the streets of Montrose, which no one wants to talk about.

It wasn’t long after being on the streets that a ‘drug dealer’ took Sharp under his wing; and the two became lovers. Their relationship was built around abuse that often landed Sharp in the hospital. “I can tell you about the first time I felt I was loved,” Sharp says. “This is after I aged out of the foster care system.”

A few days shy of his 10th birthday, Sharp entered foster care after being removed from his home. Sharp describes how his mother was a drug user and would heat up metal hangers to lash him and his siblings.

Sharp now identifies as gay, but he says he didn’t know that as a 9-year-old boy. Sharp said he didn’t even know the meaning of the word. But the caseworker did. “Whenever I first entered Foster care, the case worker told me that it would be hard to find me a family because I was gay.” Sharp stated.

In 2014 there were 31,176 children in foster care in Texas. As of January 2015 there were 4,041 children waiting for adoptive families. There are less than 2,000 foster families. The State of Texas hires subcontractors; and children like Sharp, whom are LGBTQ are most often cared for by these contractors.

Adam McCormick, a professor at St. Edward’s University in Austin has been documenting the experiences of LGBTQ youth over the last year or so. He’s found that of the thousands of children in foster care, the ones who have it the worst are LGBTQ kids.

“The state has failed to do really what it’s intended to do – to protect youth – as well as to establish some sense of permanency,” McCormick says.

“We tend to recruit foster parents from very conservative faith-based backgrounds – churches and faith-based organizations – and so the pool of individuals who are capable of providing affirming and accepting environments, capable of empowering LGBT youth is very limited,” McCormick says.

McCormick believes it’s time for Texas to start strategically recruiting foster parents who can commit to supporting and affirming kids who are LGBTQ. But at the state level several legislative attempts to put it in the books have failed.

Sharp has since left Texas, and lives in Washington, D.C. He’s graduated college and works as a legislative aid in Congress. He’s now advocating on behalf of children in the system – and he’s found love doing it.

“I’m in a relationship with a very sweet man who is a great advocate and works all across this country, who genuinely loves me and cares about me,” Sharp says.

Kenn McLaughlin Celebrates 15 Years With Stages Theatre

Stages Theatre Kenn McLaughlin Celebrates 15 Years!

2016 Marks 15 Years As Artistic Director For Kenn McLaughlin With Stages, Serving As The Theatre’s Longest Tenured Leader.


Even after 15 years, this leader continues to raise the bar and elevate the quality of work produced at Stages Theatre located near Montrose. The 2015-2016 season marks McLaughlin’s tenth season as Stages’ artistic leader, following five successful years as the theatre’s Managing Director.

Under the leadership of McLaughlin, Stages has strengthened its commitment to sustainable innovation through projects such as producing the first American regional theatre production of Stephen Sondheim’s latest musical, Road Show; re-envisioning classics like Auntie Mame and Veronica’s Room.

McLaughlin has produced more than 100 productions, with record-breaking hits for the theatre. Also the revival of the theatre’s landmark original musical Always…Patsy Cline; as well as pivotal world and U.S. premieres such as Black Pearl SingsAn American BratElizabeth Rex, five original Panto-style musicals and The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical.

Prior to his arrival at Stages in Houston, McLaughlin spent time in Cleveland, Ohio being nominted three-times for the Ohio governor’s award for excellence in the arts.

In Houston, McLaughlin went full steam ahead, teaching classes in creativity at Rice University, directing at Sam Houston State University, as well as teaching diversity awareness to cadets at the Houston Police Academy.

Senator Ted Cruz’ Plush Condo Over Looks Houston Gay Bar!

Senator Ted Cruz’ Plush Condo Over Looks Houston Gay Bar!
The Royalton located at 3333 Allen Parkway in Houston.

 

Senator Ted Cruz’ Plush Condo Over Looks Houston Gay Bar!

One of the Country’s Most Outspoken Critics Of Anything LGBTQ, Ted Cruz’s Houston Condo Offers Views Of Popular Gay Bar.


Living next door to a gay martini bar in Houston must keep a Texas Senator and Presidential hopeful praying at all hours of the night. With all those beefy karaoke goers, drag queen bingos screams, and never ending Beyoncé tracks floating up to his luxury condo on the nineteenth floor.

Unbeknownst to the LGBTQ community of Houston, the most dangerous Canadian born politician has been living in their backyard since 2008.

Nestled in luxury; Rafael Edward Cruz aka ‘Ted’ as in Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and his wife; Heidi reside at what was once called the ‘Crown Jewel’ of Houston. The Royalton is a beautiful thirty-three-story high-rise; offering fabulous floor plans, walls of windows, and limo service on the weekends. Located just one block from Guava Lamp at 3333 Allen Parkway.

The plush Cruz condo offers great views of downtown and direct views into the wild world of Guava Lamp’s patio; that is sure to give the Senator something to ponder on Wednesday nights.

Maybe he should consider venturing out of his perch and grabbing a cocktail. Who knows, he might change his beliefs. It should be noted that Robert Durst also owned a condo on the same floor, just two doors down.

It ain’t all yellow roses… in Texas.

Federal Court Rules Transgender Woman Lawsuit Against Texas Prison Director Move Forward

Federal Court Rules Transgender Woman Lawsuit Against Texas Prison Director Move Forward
Brad Livingston, Director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice

Federal Court Rules Transgender Woman Lawsuit Against Texas Prison Director Move Forward

Passion Star, An Inmate In Texas Has Sued The States Prison System For Allowing Her To Be Sexually Abused!


(Houston, Texas) 03/15/16 — Today, a Federal Judge for the United States District Court For The Southern District Of Texas, in downtown Houston ruled today that Brad Livingston, the executive director for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) will remain a defendant in a case where a transgender woman has sued relating to prison abuse.

The Court recognized that Livingston has a responsibility under federal law to establish reasonable policies and procedures or train and supervise TDCJ staff to prevent sexual abuse. It also highlighted the heightened risk that LGBT prisoners face in custody. (Read The Full Court Order Here)

Passion Star, a transgender woman currently in the custody of TDCJ accuses the Texas prison system, and its director for lack of policies and staff training that has allowed fellow inmates to sexually assault, and rape her.

According to Lambda Legal Star had been in seven facilities, and had been ‘raped, slashed with a knife, forced to submit to undesired sexual acts to escape violence, and/or threatened with sexual assault,’ before being housed in ‘safekeeping.’

Federal Judge Alfred H. Bennett wrote in the his order that was made public today “Plaintiff was sentenced to serve time in prison. She was not sentenced to be raped and assaulted by her fellow inmates.”

Zollicoffer v. Livingston