Igor Volsky of ThinkProgress highlighted a story out of Miami, FL:
The local CBS affiliate in Miami has created an important illumination of the problem of homeless GLBT youth.
The average age that a lesbian or gay youth becomes homeless in New York: 14.4.
The average age that a transgender youth in New York becomes homeless: 13.5.
58% of GLBT homeless youth have been sexually assaulted, compared to 33% of straight homeless youth.
44% of homeless GLBT youth have been asked by someone to exchange sex for money, food, drugs, shelter or clothes.
Been there…in Seattle in November/December, 1967. Except I was offered a place to stay and the sex part was kept as a surprise.
62 percent: The portion of homeless gay and transgender youth who attempt suicide, compared to 29 percent of their heterosexual homeless peers.
8.4 times: How much more likely gay and transgender youth are to attempt suicide if they are rejected by their families in adolescence compared to if they are not rejected by their family. They are also 5.9 times as likely to have experienced depression, 3.4 times as likely to have used illicit drugs, and 3.4 times as likely to have had unprotected sex.
(F)ederal grant awards for homeless youth services are being awarded to providers without mandating that they not discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity, leaving vulnerable youth open to harassment from staff and other residents. Nor are these grantees required to abide by basic standards of gay and transgender health care. In short, the lack of inclusive policies and targeted resources for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth in federal grants prevents this population from having equal access to federally funded services.The new HUD guidelines improve the above situation somewhat…except that emergency shelters are explicitly exempted from those guidelines.
--On the Streets, CAP
It is not an unusual story, except for how grim it is: Child is GLBT. Child eventually works up the courage to mention this to the parents, looking for love, understanding and support. Parents say, "Not in my house!" and reject and eject the child. So now the child is on the street…often with his or her formal education now terminated…and has to learn the difficult lesson of how to survive in the urban jungle.
I know. I have been there…except that I didn't tell my parents how I felt before I left. The fear of rejection was enough to make me go.
That was 45 years ago and it was the Day of the Hippie, so I went to San Francisco. Times change. But it is not always for the better. Our society is bleeding GLBT youth onto the streets.
A new study by Brian Mutanski of Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine, published in the Journal for Preventative Medicine, reports that how parents react when a child first comes out plays a giant role in whether that child will later contemplate suicide or engage in other self-harming behavior.
Beyond the risk factors, Mustanski said one of the most important ways to protect LGBT youths against thoughts of suicide is to make sure they understand they're loved and supported by family members and peers.The reality, however, isn't encouraging.
The World is on Fire--Sarah McLachlan
Senator John Kerry introduced the Reconnecting Youth to Prevent Homelessness Act in May, 2011…but it has since disappeared from view. The bill was read twice and referred to the Committee on Finance. Upon reading the bill, however, I fail to see how it applies to parents throwing their child out of their home unless the evicted child is in foster care or the family is becoming or has become homeless.