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  • Writer's pictureNatalie Tai

SLAYED. SLAYS.

Updated: Jul 17, 2021

40% of homeless youths identify as part of the LGBTQIA+ community.


Woof woof. *BEWARE: unnecessary joke*: What does a dog say after a hard day at work? A: It was a RUFF day today. haha. [Thank you for bearing with me... I just got to get that out of the way]. The following article is published under the pure innocence of a young teenager and is not meant in any intention of offense. If you find any of the below content insensitive, inappropriate, or dangerous to audience members, feel free to contact me by filling in the message section via the bottom of the main page, please. Thank you.


An Introduction to LGBTQ+ Youths in the Homeless Population

Daring to love is something worth celebrating. But in modern-day society, the topic of homosexuality and LGBT rights are still perceived as controversial and risky to talk about. In the United States, 40% of homeless youths are of the LGBTQ+ community; while not only left to endure the emotional pain of disownment, these young adults are left with the harsh circumstances of street life and long-established yet unending hurdles of their journey.


Risks and Loopholes



Queer youths not only hold a higher chance of homelessness, their risks of sexual victimization, exploitation, and mental illnesses are staggering. Data shows 58% of queer homeless youths having experienced sexual victimization while a whopping 38% of them have been forced to have sex. Their lack of basic resources such as water, food, and sanitation has led to sobering negotiations with 27% of queer homeless youths exchanging sex for food. Whilst already dealing with the worries of their financial and physical shortages, sexual intercourse as such furthermore erodes away a healthy self-image. With 62% of displaced queer youths reported to have experienced physical abuse, treatment is another obstacle in this journey. Medical centers, hospitals, and clinics oftentimes require parent consent for surgical procedures, therapy, or prescribed medicine. This challenge of healthcare is furthermore accompanied by their financial inability to afford proper treatment.


The current system in providing resources for the homeless has several loopholes as well. These adolescents are oftentimes sent back to their parents by the police, exposing them to the dangers of physical and emotional abuse while increasing their chances of mental illnesses such as PTSD, Conduct Disorder, and depression. The lack of understanding of this issue has caused the deprivation of effective solvencies to the crisis and has caused unfair accusations of law-breaking. Queer youths of the homeless population are commonly imprisoned for committing sex work although done without any selfish intentions, willingness, or even consent. Instead of trying to find an effective way that combats the root of the entire crises, unjustified imprisonments are only punishing the victims of the problem and erasing the evidence and impacts of this issue.


The Transgender Community



Perhaps one of the biggest burdens of this crisis is crashed upon the transgender community. Struggles with the misalignment of their gender and natural-born sex already has struggles on its own while the lack of therapeutic treatments to face gender dysphoria puts their mental and physical health in jeopardy. As mentioned previously, the lack of accessible healthcare resources leaves many of the trans community battling this dysphoria alone. Although not everybody of the community wants to physically transition, those that want to lack the resources, financial aids, and emotional support to do so. What this can lead to is the purchase of uncertified hormones and other drugs in underground markets, or even dangerously performing transsexual surgery without professional supervision. In society, trans women are especially targeted due to the narrow-minded stereotypes claiming how their gender identification as female is only for predatory purposes when entering public restrooms and lockers. This toxic sexism, targeting males as predators, leave transgender women with scars deeper than before. While many of these homeless youths are sent into the foster facility or homeless shelters, people within the trans community are assigned to bathrooms, lockers, or even dorms in correlation to their birth sex. Not only can these sex-segregated facilities be extremely inappropriate, but the dangers of discrimination and sexual assault lies within. The Human Rights Campaign have reported 17% of transgender people being sexually assaulted in homeless shelters while 20% of survey respondents in which have been incarcerated (in prisons/jails/juvenile detention centers) have had a history of sexual assault by the facility’s staff in one year’s time.


What Can I Do?


As society progresses through time, LGBTQ+ inclusive facilities and centers have come to arise. Establishments such as the Los Angeles LBGT Center provides incredible resources for struggling individuals of the LGBTQ family such as education, healthcare, employment, and housing. Although resources as such have not reached most of the world, the power to make a change lies largely within people like us. Just from bringing this topic to public awareness and offering support to dawning resources by volunteer or donations, combatting the stigma held against queer homeless youths starts with us. Click the links below for more information.


Resources:






Works Cited


Jones, Carolyn. "Abuse, violence common among LGBT homeless youth, study finds", April 25 2018, https://edsource.org/2018/abuse-violence-common-among-lgbt-homeless-youth-study-finds/596734, February 22 2020.


"Homelessness & Housing", youth.gov, https://youth.gov/youth-topics/lgbtq-youth/homelessness, February 22 2020.


"Sexual Assault and the LGBTQ Community", Human Rights Campaign, https://www.hrc.org/resources/sexual-assault-and-the-lgbt-community, February 22 2020.


"The Cost of Coming Out: LGBT Youth Homelessness", Lesley University, https://lesley.edu/article/the-cost-of-coming-out-lgbt-youth-homelessness, February 22 2020.

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