This article was published on May 11th, 2019
Cities across the world deal with the issue of homelessness. But in two of the wealthiest nations on earth, it’s difficult to understand the epidemic of people living on the streets in Canada and the United States. It may come as a surprise, but there is a proportion of young queer people who are homeless as a result of rejection by family and society. LGBT kids are at a disproportionately higher rate to be homeless.
LGBTQ young people are 120% more likely to experience homelessness than non-LGBTQ youth, with identity-based family rejection being the most commonly cited reason. Are parents in two of the most advanced countries still so homophobic that they risk the life of their child by throwing them out versus accepting their homosexuality in 2019? Apparently so, according to studies done on queer homelessness.
Here’s how you can get involved and help:
Start being that gay everyone in need can turn to. Let it be known to your family and friends that they and all queer people in need of a chosen family has you with their back. If you’re potentially able to open up your home or be a mentor to a queer teen in need, that is a great start.
But not everyone has immediate access to or knows how to contact homeless queer youth. You can volunteer and donate to your local LGBT centers and youth facilities specifically geared toward queer youth. Vote in your local elections and for ballot measures and laws that expand resources and outreach for gay people and the homeless.
Let your straight friends know about your journey and that acceptance begins at home with family and the people who are supposed to love you, no matter what. Make sure they understand fully that homosexuality is not some lifestyle choice, but a natural, biological occurrence seen in 98 other animal species and in humans on ever corner of the Earth.
Stand up to bullying and let your voice be heard in regard to homophobia and anti-gay rhetoric. It’s temperaments and ideals like these that drive negative ideas about homosexuality in the first place and cause families to force their kids to choose between who they are, versus who they are expected to be.
Queer youth homelessness is at a shocking high rate and shouldn’t be. Take amongst your friends and family to brainstorm further ways you can prevent gay kids from living on the streets and what the community can do as a whole to solve this epidemic.
Have more ideas on how your can help? We would love to hear them. Leave your suggestions in the comment box below.