According to the Advocate, Democratic Representatives from Wisconsin Gwen Moore and openly gay Rep. Mark Pocan, have proposed legislation that would provide assistance for runaway and homeless LGBT youth.
In a statement, Pocan called passing the legislation a “moral responsibility” to ensure that LGBT homeless youth have access to “life-saving services and safe, welcoming places to stay.”
“Homelessness is one of the most pressing matters affecting LGBT youth,” Pocan said. “Young people in the LGBT community are disproportionately at-risk for homelessness, often as a result of the rejection, discrimination, or violence they face simply for being themselves.”
The Advocate stated:
The Runaway and Homeless Youth Inclusion Act would add language to the Reconnecting Homeless Youth Act, last reauthorized in 2008, to include specific protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender young people, a demographic at high risk for homelessness and displacement. The act is scheduled for reauthorization this year.
“I ran away from home when I was an adolescent,” Moore said in a recent statement. “It was the first and last time. Living on the streets is a difficult and dangerous experience — one that no child should have to endure. Unfortunately, homelessness is the reality for hundreds of thousands of youth each year.
“According to some studies, LGBT youth account for up to 40 percent of all homeless youth,” she added. “LGBT homelessness is an issue that negatively impacts our children, our families and our communities. Omitting these young people from the RHYA sends a powerful message to this population: that addressing their trauma and fear is not a priority. The LGBT youth homelessness experience cannot be ignored.”