Sunday, May 27, 2007

Homelessness and LGBTQ Youth

So we just all went out for pizza to celebrate Brian's 13th birthday. It's a week early, but David was here, so we went. I love having all the boys together.

Anyway, I picked David and Evan's brains about being gay and in foster care in our part of the country. I was thinking about the next time I write a column for the local gay monthly, which I do not do regularly. I thought I might try to write about gay youth in the foster care system. What is like for them? Do youth get to know their social workers well enough to come out to them? Are the families safe?

They were very reassuring. Social workers are cool with it; all the schools have several out kids and others who were accepting; most foster families "aren't like you guys, but they know better than to make a big deal out of it." They can't think of anything that I should write in the column. Things are okay. Of course that doesn't mean that we should even consider taking a straight kid. We have to stay open for the next gay kid who won't accept living with a family that is merely tolerant.

And then I came home and turned out my reader and there was only one new item:

Homelessness & Gay Youth at the Republic of T. Terrance talked a little about gay youth, but mostly the post was pointing to a series of videos. Take a deep breath and go watch.

Up to 40% of homeless youth self-identify as gay. 25% of gay youth are not welcome in their own homes. Sometimes youth are actually ejected from the home. Sometimes the kids just survive by not going home. They couch surf with friends and go home only when they must.

There are indications that life is getting so much better, and yet it can still be so very bad. I'm hearing from parents who are more ready to be supportive than ever. The kids in the high schools are largely accepting. The LGBTQ youth I know report that even the kids who think homosexuality is a sin (a thought that makes less and less sense to me) don't really care about it.

And yet homelessness among gay youth is still a huge problem.


  1. This is an article from SF about outreach for foster children. They are reaching out to LGBT to adopt and to find homes specifically for LGBT youth.

  2. I lived close to the section of SF where many of the homeless kids hung out.

    I wanted to bring them all home.

    How can any parent sentence a child to that kind of life?


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