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The LGBT Struggle – Homeless & Gay Youth

Oftentimes coming out can be the hardest most traumatic thing you have ever experienced. Some of us don’t do it until we are well into our 20’s, some don’t do it until middle age but more and more kids are learning and accepting their identities at earlier ages. Sadly that scary traumatic big step might be only the beginning, the first stepping stone to a world of hurt, fear, struggle and trauma. Many times kids that realize they are gay or transgendered go to their parents to find the love and acceptance they so desperately need in a world that is all too often lacking in love and acceptance just to find that their parents are less than loving and accepting themselves. Many times these kids find themselves either kicked out of their homes or forced to live in such terrible conditions that they run away from their homes just to try to find some peace. However, sadly it doesn’t take long to figure out that there is no peace to be found on the streets. It’s dangerous and lonely to be out there on your own finding out all too soon that you have to endure some pretty terrible things just to survive.
The alarming and troubling fact is that 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBT, given that only 5 to 10 percent of all youth identify as LGBT these numbers bring up some serious issues. The reality is that parents and guardians are not always a safe haven for kids trying to figure out who they are and embrace their identities accordingly. Whatever the reason for finding themselves homeless, a lot of LGBT youth do in fact find themselves with no place to go. This opens them up to a world where they feel pushed into doing whatever they have to in order to survive. Sometimes survival includes running away from a home where you are being abused, sometimes it means running right into a situation of abuse as there are plenty of predators out
there looking to prey on kids that feel like they have no other options. It is common among homeless youth to report that running away from abuse at home is one of the major reasons they end up homeless but in the case of LGBT youth the number that reports abuse as a reason for running away is doubled. So here a lot of these kids are young, gay, scared and desperately trying to get away from physical, sexual, or emotional abuse. They end up on the streets and the harsh reality comes crashing down that more abuse is waiting. Homeless LGBT youth often end up the victims of both sexual and physical violence much more so than their heterosexual counterparts. These homeless youth find themselves in dangerous places kicked around and often resorting to selling their bodies just to make a few dollars here and there. The creeps that are out there actually buying sex from teenagers often have absolutely no qualms about taking more than is offered. The statistics say that 58 percent of LGBT homeless youth end up being sexually assaulted at least once. This is over half of the LGBT kids out there on the streets. These kids are starving, getting assaulted, dropping out of school, and dropping off the radar.
Surely there are ways that we can prevent at least some of these tragedies these kids are facing. There are ways. Parents need more education that will make them closer to being able to accept what they don’t understand. Parenting classes could benefit most parents out there. It’s okay to not have all the answers but it’s absolutely not okay to make a child suffer because you don’t know how to deal with their differences. Still, no matter what, it would be extremely naïve to think that some parents are even going to care enough to get help understanding their children, this is where a broken system comes in. Social services prove inadequate, the foster care system is completely broken, and there is so much of an influx of homelessness that shelters are too overcrowded to accommodate all the kids that need places to stay. LGBT kids become the victims here persecuted for trying to be who they are and continually failed by both their guardians and the justice system.
Lack of acceptance and abuse at home leads way to kids being pushed out on the streets where they meet more abuse and still cannot find places where they can safely rest their heads. LGBT homelessness poses a really large threat that needs attention. Whatever the reason is for any kid to find themselves homeless, scared, alone, and abused that reason is never good enough.

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