LGBTQIA2S+ equality has gained momentum, but it remains unevenly distributed and incomplete. Even where it exists, legal equality has not yet translated into lived equality for all, especially for lower income people and people of color. The Working Group is committed to criminal justice policy reform and advocacy for all criminalized LGBTQIA2S+ people and people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA).
The Working Group, a national advocacy coalition coordinated by two LGBTQIA2S+ formerly incarcerated people, has an urgent focus on criminal legal reform. LGBTQIA2S+ people and PLWHA are overrepresented in all aspects of the criminal justice system, from policing, to adjudication, to incarceration, to release. The high rates of LGBTQIA2S+ people and PLWHA in criminal and juvenile legal systems are a byproduct of legacies of criminalization, and continuing discrimination in employment, education, social services, health care, and responses to violence.
The Working Group, comprised of nearly 50 organizations, pushes for bold action to reduce the LGBTQIA2S+ and PLWHA disparities in the criminal legal system and the consequences of criminalization they face.
To reach the Working Group’s shared goal of criminal legal reform through decarceration, we support action to address the following categories and their impact on LGBTQIA2S+ people and PLWHA:
- Juvenile Justice
- Sex Work
- HIV/AIDS Criminalization
- Formerly Incarcerated People
- Sex Offense Policy
These goals are outlined in our report, A Roadmap for Change: Federal Policy Recommendations for Addressing the Criminalization of LGBTQIA2S+ People and People Living with HIV/AIDS.
The Working Group is dedicated to balancing the unequal range of unequal laws and policies that dehumanize, victimize, and criminalize LGBTQIA2S+ people and PLWHA. As a coalition, the Working Group has created and agreed on a set of guiding principles to determine our policy positions and provide a framework to realize our overall efforts to reform the criminal legal system for LGBTQIA2S+ people and PLWHA.
Our principles are as follows
The working group us inclusive, collegial, non-territorial and collaborative. The Working Group is organized into subgroups around different areas of focus. Advocacy priorities and strategies within each issue area are identified within subgroups.