The Harrowing Connection of the LGBTQ+ Community to Homelessness
There has always been a negative stigma regarding the LGBTQ+ community, historically
based on personal bias and ignorance. Whether people thought of it as a sin, unnatural, or just
downright wrong, the people of this community have been unfairly subjected to slander and
abuse for a long time.
Even today, abuse towards LGBTQ+ communities remains high, as outdated stigmas fuel
hatred for a community that only wants the freedom to be themselves. Another unfortunate
commonality is familial rejection of LGBTQ+ folk, often leaving them, if underage, homeless
and without stable income.
While some families respond with open arms to family members coming out as
LGBTQ+, many respond harshly, even going so far as to cut off vulnerable members and even
disowning them. The reality is that a lot of these LGBTQ+ folk that are abandoned by their
blood-line support systems at young ages are left homeless, as they don’t have the abilities to
create a stable income that would fund a living system. The hardships don’t even end there, as
many homeless LGBTQ+ people are more susceptible to abuse, violence, and exploitation than
cis heterosexuals. Not to mention if said homeless LGBTQ+ folk also happen to be people of
color, the rates would only worryingly increase. It’s also hard for LGBTQ+ people to find
homeless shelters that accept and respect them, as social stigma and ignorance often interfere
with people’s morals.
The numbers of homeless LGBTQ+ youth aren’t low either, as the William’s Institute
stated that 40% of the homeless youth served by agencies identify as LGBT, 30% of street
outreach clients identified as LGBT, 43% of clients served by drop-in centers identified as
LGBT, and 30% of clients utilizing housing programs identified as LGBT (data from the
National Coalition for the Homeless : LGBT Homelessness).
The issue of a disproportionate number of LGBTQ+ folk ending up homeless due to their
abandonment and the failure of the government to help them is disgusting and needs to be
remedied. It definitely isn’t an easy fix, as people usually aren’t willing to change their own
mindset so easily, but it’s a necessary one. Schools need to create safer havens for LGBTQ+
students, and educate more children regarding the community, in order to prevent more
ignorance spreading in the future. There should also be more discrimination laws put in place in
order to prevent people being barred from new housing opportunities and shelters based solely
on their sexual or gender orientation. As regular people, there isn’t too much we can do, except
for donating to charities like the National Coalition for the Homeless and educating ourselves
and others on how we can help. We can also organize movements to help this marginalized
group, and volunteer at shelters as much as we can.
I just hope that one day, the LGBTQ+ community can thrive and truly live life as any
other. It disgusts me to see that the ignorance of the past still lives today, and that so many lives
are disregarded for something as trivial as their gender and sexual orientation.