April 25th is #TrueColorsDay--an international day designed to bring awareness to the issue of homelessness in the LGBT community--which if you didn’t already know, is a huge issue. A new study by the Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago just showed that young people in our community are 120% more likely to be homeless. Even more, the True Colors Fund (the folks behind this day) estimate that 40% of all the homeless youth in America are in the LGBT community. That stat is especially disturbing considering LGBT kids only make up 7% of the youth population.
So why are LGBT youths so much more prone to homeless? There’s no short answer. Homeless is a complicated issue and there’s almost always a variety of factors involved, but tragically, parental rejection is a big one. Statistically, half of all coming outs end with a negative response from the parents. Think about that. And a good chunk of those end with disowning.
Another facet of this issue is that LGBT people in homeless shelters may not get their basic needs met. Often these kids need a type of support not usually provided at most shelters. For example, transgender youths may need access to transitioning assistance, both medical and legal. A young gay man may need support related to his identity. Homeless shelters simply do not have the resources or training to provide such help.
So solving this problem is going to involve lots of love, tolerance, and acceptance as a society. But until we get there, what can we do to help, if we can’t volunteer at a shelter? Well, that’s where #TrueColorsDay comes in. The True Colors Fund has made it easy for you take part in fighting homelessness among LGBT youth. To help out, consider doing any or all of the following:
And be sure to check out their website to learn more about what they’re doing to fight youth homelessness in the LGBT community.
Banner photo by Mídia NINJA