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National groups respond to WCT's DCFS investigation
by Gretchen Rachel Hammond

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Several national advocacy organizations responded to Windy City Times' three-part investigation into Illinois DCFS and children welfare agencies nationwide removing transgender or gender nonconforming children from affirming homes.

From PFLAG's national office: "PFLAG believes that all children, including transgender children, should have safe, fair and equal treatment both as candidates and as participants in foster care, and that is why we advocate strongly for Every Child Deserves a Family Act, sponsored by Reps. John Lewis and Ileana Ros-Lehtenin in the House and by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand in the Senate."

From the National Center for Transgender Equality ( NCTE ): "Obviously, we are absolutely against trans children being taken away from their parents simply because they're trans. Some of the parents we work with have brought this issue to our attention, and our policy team has already started to discuss what NCTE should do to address this awful trend. … Anyone who is working to keep a child away from their family just because that child is transgender is actively contributing to a greater risk of negative outcomes for that child."

From GLAAD's national office: "GLAAD works regularly with parents of transgender children in our role as an organization dedicated to pushing stories of LGBTQ people and allies that drive acceptance. We obviously oppose any practices that harm trans children and strongly believe that child welfare organizations should update training and policies with respect to the unique needs of trans youth."

From Equality Federation: "Transgender children deserve to grow up in a loving home free from outside fear and harassment. The state has a responsibility to provide comprehensive training to its staff on how to interact appropriately with transgender children and their parents."

Internationally celebrated trans activist Buck Angel also spoke out during a Facebook Live video and an April 23 appearance on WCPT's Out Chicago radio show.

He called the situation "horrifying."

"People don't want to believe it's happening because it seems like something out of the Twilight Zone," Angel told Out Chicago hosts Scott Duff and Ellen Miller. "All the parents I've spoken to, their children were flourishing, they were healthy and going great in life until they were taken from their homes. Parents were begging me 'please don't say who I am. DCFS told me that if I put this out there on social media, they would make sure I never get my kids back.' Who speaks to a parent like that? Isn't the whole point of DCFS to help children? Somebody has an agenda to remove trans children out of homes because they personally believe that being transgender is a sickness."

Meanwhile, Illinois state Rep. Kelly Cassidy said that "after the report in Windy City Times, I reached out to DCFS and have asked them to follow up on the allegations."

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