A new study confirms that approximately four in ten homeless youth and teens are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, and more than 40% of those ran away from home or were kicked out of their family’s home because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. While these numbers don’t sound new, the massive study, taken from the results of surveys of 354 youth agencies, confirms tragic previous findings.
“Overall, respondents indicated that nearly seven in ten (68%) of their LGBT homeless clients have experienced family rejection and more than half of clients (54%) had experienced abuse in their family,” the study, conducted from October 2011 through March 2012, notes, adding that “family rejection on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity was the most frequently cited factor contributing to LGBT homelessness.”
Other findings include:
- Running away from home because of family rejection was the most frequently cited reason, as 46% of respondents thought that was one of the most important factors in LGBT homelessness (see Figure 7). A similar portion of respondents (43%) said that LGBT youth had been kicked out of their homes. A third of respondents cited physical, emotional, or sexual abuse.
- Relative to other homeless youth, nearly six in ten respondents (58%) report that transgender homeless youth have worse physical and mental overall health.
- Half of respondents also thought that the overall health of their LGB homeless youth clients was worse than other homeless youth.
- Respondents said that nearly two-thirds of their LGBT homeless youth clients (65%) have mental health issues and more than half (53%) have histories of alcohol and substance abuse.
- Respondents say that about four in ten LGBT homeless youth clients have been subject to sexual exploitation and sexual assault. About a third have been in foster care, have experienced domestic partner abuse, and have had contact with the juvenile justice system.
Additionally, the study, written by Laura E. Durso, and Gary J. Gates at UCLA’s Williams Institute, offers great financial detail about the shelters and agencies that serve our homeless youth, and the financial burdens they experience daily.
It would be negligent to omit, given today’s political climate, what a Mitt Romney presidency would do to these already-challenged front-lines of defense.
The 15-page study, called “Serving Our Youth: Findings from a National Survey of Service Providers Working with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth who are Homeless or At Risk of Becoming Homeless,” was performed by The Williams Institute in conjunction with Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund, and The Palette Fund.
Hat-tip: Think Progress
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