Members of the LGBTQ community may already experience discrimination and have limited opportunities because of their sexuality. Unfortunately, homelessness is a large issue that many LGBTQ individuals face at some point in their lives. This issue is prevalent especially for people who are still living with their parents or guardians. As evidenced in “the Williams Institute, 40% of the homeless youth served by agencies identify as LGBT.”
These individuals have to face a giant shift in their physical environment; they are suddenly forced to find a new home, as well as proper resources to take care of their physical and mental health. Members of the LGBTQ community who have been kicked out from home also face a large rift in their social lives. They may have previously had strong relationships with their parents, siblings, or friends. This could all change once they express their sexualities, leaving LGBTQ individuals with a completely different social situation than before.
This ostracization is one that is likely very traumatic and requires specialized care to face. This becomes a deeper issue when taking into account that “there are currently no federal programs specifically designed to meet the needs of gay and transgender homeless youth.” There are also “no protections in place to keep gay and transgender youth from being discriminated against.” The situation of LGBTQ individuals affected by homelessness is radically different than that of other homeless people; their treatment needs to reflect that.
By Nicole Alesso