Ugh, what a depressing thing. I’m lucky that my family have been 100% cool with the gay thing and even welcoming my partner into the fold without a second thought, especially considering their political leanings. They’re conservative but not hatefully so. A lot of people I know have had a very different experience — maybe not to the point of making them homeless, but definitely alienating them by passing religion-fueled judgment.
And as much as my mom drives me nuts with her Obama/Muslim crazy talk, she’s never been anything but supportive to me and welcoming to my partner. She even asked him to be a pallbearer for her mother’s funeral! I think if she was the religious type things may have been different, but she’s not — so she’s free to make up her own mind on how to feel about things. Her parents (mostly her dad) were hardcore Republicans but not the churchy types. They encouraged their daughters to learn and think for themselves, but with a conservative slant. This is probably why my mother is an interesting mix of contradictions. Because of her upbringing she’ll always vote Republican and swear that “the liberals and socialists” (who are all Muslim sympathizers, of course) will destroy this country…and yet she’s pro-choice, pro-environment, and pro-gay marriage. Yeah, I don’t fully get it either!
As many as 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBT, and a new Williams Institute study of youth shelters confirms this estimate. Between October 2011 and March 2012, 354 agencies completed surveys about their clients and found that about 40 percent of their homeless and non-homeless clients were LGBT 9 percent of whom identified as bisexual. About 30 percent of clients using housing-related services like emergency shelter and transitional living programs were LGBT.
What was particularly disconcerting about this study was how evident family rejection contributed to this disproportionate number of homeless LGBT youth.
Of all the agencies’ LGBT homeless clients, 68 percent have experienced family rejection and more than half 54 percent experienced abuse in their family. Fortunately, nearly 80 percent of the service providers who work with clients under the age of 18 are doing family acceptance-related work, though only about half of providers working with older youth offer such resources.