Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Come Out, Kicked Out for Many LGBT Youth

The Ali Forney Center (shelter for LGBT homeless youth)
My friend and writer/activist, Cody Lyon, wrote this very important article on the epidemic of homelessness amongst LGBT youth:
The U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services estimates there are between 575,000 and 1.6 million homeless and runaway youth between 12 and 24 in the United States. The National Lesbian & Gay Task Force further concluded in a 2006 report titled "LGBT Youth; Epidemic of Homelessness" that between 20 and 40 percent of these youth self-define as LGBT....

An estimated 8,000 to 10,000 homeless LGBT youth are on the streets in New York on any given night. And the National Alliance to End Homelessness maintains these youth remain more vulnerable to violence. They suffer higher rates of mental illness and are more likely to engage in sex work. The Washington-based advocacy coalition further estimates sexual violence rates are more than seven percent higher among homeless LGBT youth than their straight peers and are more likely to attempt suicide.

"Being homeless is not some musical like "Rent" where everyone can sing along and be happy about it," she said. "They [LGBT youth] are afraid to go to any place for help because they’ve been taught their whole lives that the way they are is wrong. They are afraid someone will hurt them; kill them."

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