Advocate Calls For More Emphasis On Addressing Youth Homelessness
In her February 4, 2013 op-ed piece, “Young, Queer and Homeless”, to The Advocate, Hannah Le poses the question, “Do LGBT organizations seem to put more effort into marriage equality than finding homes for displaced LGBT youth?”
Le reminds readers of the fact that 100,000 homeless LGBT youth are surviving on the streets this winter with only 30% finding temporary housing in shelters or transitional living programs. These already vulnerable youth are placed at risk for suicide, HIV and physical or sexual abuse.
“Our progressive organizations are certainly fervent in their pursuit of marriage equality and combating bullying, but the majority of them seem to be appallingly silent on this issue, which currently affects thousands of teens. It’s a combination of issues, relating to sexual orientation, gender identity, class, and race.”
Le experienced homelessness as an LGBT youth firsthand when her parents disowned her upon learning that she was a lesbian. She writes,
“Before I could even register what happened, I suddenly found myself without a legal residence, car, phone, or insurance of any kind. I was kicked out with just the clothes on my back. Pleas of reconnecting with my parents were met with ‘We’re done with you’ or ‘You’re forbidden to come back. You will not see us again.’”
She was fortunate to have a strong support system and find employment that allowed her to survive until her parents invited her back home a year later but unfortunately, many youth like her will not be so lucky.