October 1st, 2009 by Admin
Twenty-three years ago statistics indicated that 25% of LGBT youth who came out to their parents were kicked out of the house and abandoned.Â
With all the progress that has been made since that time for gay rights, and all the exposure and acceptance that gays have received, I was disheartened to read an recent article (http://www.examiner.com) from the Indypendent (www.indypendent.org) that currently twenty-six percent of LGBT youth who come out to their parents are kicked out of their home. (Stats from a report from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force)Â And when they get kicked out of their homes, they wind up on the street.
The article goes on to say that, in the United States, 575,000 to 1.6 million youth are homeless each year, of which 20-40% identify as LGBT. This means 115,000 to 640,000 LGBT youth are homeless per year.
The statistics are brutal: Twenty-five to thirty-three percent of homeless youth have engaged in survival sex. Nearly 50% of LGBT homeless youth have attempted suicide. The number of safe havens for homeless LGBT youth is nearly non-existent when compared to the staggering numbers of LGBT youth on the street.
We are not addressing the problem. The government is not paying attention, and in this economic climate, it is not likely to. Itâ€™s going to take organizations like the Ali Forney Center in New York City, which provides emergency and transitional shelter for LGBT youth, to deal with the problem. We are going to need a mass social movement and we have to start by making people aware of whatâ€™s going on.Â Frankly itâ€™s going to take the gay community and its allies to solve this problem.
We need to tackle the problem from both sides. First, for the 26% of the kids being abandoned, the immediate need is for more beds, more safe havens for homeless LGBT youth.Â Second, the long term solution is to educate the 26% of parents who are abandoning their kids. Thatâ€™s where my focus will be.Â My Â new book is coming out in a few weeks. It’sÂ entitled The Rest of the Way: A Coming Out Story for Parents and Gay Children. One of the themes of the book is that parents have to be active participants in their gay childrenâ€™s lives. Â Check out my website at www.RestoftheWay.com. Only by educating parents to overcome their homophobic fears can we begin to reduce these numbers. ÂGay Lesbian Homeless LGBT National Gay & Lesbian Task Force The Rest of the Way: A Coming Out Story for Parents and Gay Children
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