LGBT Youth Homelessness: an ‘invisible’ Problem

Washington, D.C. – A June article from Metroweekly by John Riley points out part of the problem in the lack of resources for LGBT Homeless Youth is because they are very adept at being able to being able to get around:

Brian Watson, director of programs at Transgender Health Empowerment, said one of the reasons why there are so few resources is invisibility in that many homeless LGBT youths are not actually living on the street.

”Our kids are smart,” Watson told the audience of about 50 people. ”We know how to get around. We know how to use what we have to get what we want. We know how to survive, and our kids know how to survive.”

Watson said LGBT youth might hang out around bars, for example, in hopes of meeting a patron to go home with, or meet people online by using libraries’ public computers.

”They use resources so that they don’t have to sleep outside, [or] they stay with friends,” he said. ”Because people don’t necessarily see the need, there’s not an issue of homelessness in the community. But trust and believe, there are probably hundreds of youths out there that are not stably housed.”

The article goes on to state that many youth are “browbeaten” by religion.

Tre’Ona Kelty, of the organization Beautiful U Yes U, said many of the LGBT kids she sees come from Pentecostal or Baptist homes where they may be ”beat up” or ”browbeaten” by religious leaders, family or other adults in positions of authority. The remedy, she said, is educating the adults who deal with these youth. That education could be as rudimentary as pointing out that one can’t ”catch” homosexuality.

Read the full article

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