LGBTQ homelessness is a very real and often woefully under-discussed crisis in both the USA and around the world. Two UK charities, Albert Kennedy Trust and Stonewall Housing, are now noting the dramatic increase in LGBTQ youths who are being forcefully (and often violently) ejected from their homes.
The numbers on this are truly staggering. According to The Independent: "LGBT youth homelessness charity the Albert Kennedy Trust said it had seen a 20 percent increase in the numbers of young LGBT people seeking its help with homelessness, from 622 in 2012-13, to 750 in 2015-16. The charity estimates that 4,800 young LGBT people – a figure it says equates to up to 24 percent of the youth homeless population – are now homeless or living in hostile environments."
The stats over here in America aren't much better. According to The True Colors Fund: "[U]p to 1.6 million youth experience homelessness each year. The statistics for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) homeless youth are even more shocking, as this group represents up to 40 percent all young people experiencing homelessness. Considering that LGBT youth represent an estimated 7% of the total youth population, these numbers are disproportionately high."
Tim Sigsworth, the trust’s chief executive, described the situation: “LGBT people in [the UK] have seen the benefit of many positive changes to legislation in recent years, and to some it might appear that the big battles have been won. They haven’t been.
At The Albert Kennedy Trust we are seeing increasing numbers of young LGBT people who are homeless or living in hostile conditions.
In most cases, young people have been driven out of their family homes because of parental rejection, abuse from within the family, and aggression or violence. We’re seeing a particular increase in the numbers of young people identifying as trans.”
Michael Nastari, Stonewall Housing’s advice team manager, noted the phenomenon as well: “We have seen a dramatic increase in young people coming to us for help. The majority of people contacting us feel their sexual orientation or gender identity is the reason. It can be that they are victims of antisocial behavior where they live. It can be violence against them at home. Young people being excluded by their families is still a big issue.”
“The LGBT community,” he added, “has had recent wins, but we are now seeing a backlash against that from people who aren’t happy with it ... We can legislate, but actually changing attitudes takes a long time.”
Consider giving a donation to LGBTQ homeless shelters like The Ali Forney Center this holiday season.
[Photo: Getty Images]