The following is a guest blog post from MCAH Resource & Community Development Specialist, Cameron Paxton.
LGBTQ stands for, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer and has become a buzzword for policy of late. These populations have been particularly marginalized in Western Society in the last century. With the recent change in marriage laws, some may well believe that LGBTQ populations are doing just fine. However that is not the case, particularly amongst the young and homeless.
I went to school with a boy who lost his home when he came out as gay, and as someone from a small town, it makes me worry about the multitudes that experience this across the nation.
A person’s social connections are some of the most influential factors in determining quality of life. Someone who has strong family and friend ties, have less worries about becoming destitute. They are more likely to find someone who knows of a job opening or to receive support in times of great need. If someone is alienated from family support and lack any sort of external aid, say friends with well paying jobs or a place of their own, it is quite easy to become homeless.
The most weakly connected members of society are typically Children. At most they may have completed high school, thus their employment prospects remain slight, and their social relations are mostly limited to those in their own situation, children, and their family.
This is the difficulty of students/children coming out as homosexual or transgendered. It goes beyond just wanting parental love and approval, but of the reality of how they will survive.
Continuums of Care from one study reported at least 29% of the homeless youth identify as LGBTQ and of those numbers the major cause for being homeless was being forced or running away from home due to being LGBTQ. This is much higher than the assumed average number of LGBTQ individuals in the population of adults (3.5%) or of youths (7-8%). If you believe that someone couldn’t kick a child out of their home because of their sexual orientation do a quick Google search. Several videos have gone viral, surrounding this topic and show the abuse someone can face from a parent when they come out.
Again this is an already vulnerable population with an unsuitable network to rely on. This is why youths who come out as homosexuals and are kicked out/ decide to run away are one of the most likely segments of the population to become homeless.
I don’t believe that someone should put forth an issue without at least positing some sort of method to improve the situation so I will advise, until as a society, we decided that kicking children out of the home because of their sexual orientation is illegal, donate to your local LGBTQ youth shelters. Make sure that these kids have a bed to sleep in. And if you don’t have a local LGBTQ youth shelter, maybe think about creating one.
Resource & Community Development Specialist