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“A BOX IS NOT A HOME ” HOMELESS LGBT YOUTH IS BECOMING AN EPIDEMIC

 

LGBT persons often have great difficulty finding shelters that accept and respect them. Transgender people are often forced to classify themselves as a gender with which they do not identify. These individuals are particularly at physical risk in shelters. This risk comes from a lack of acceptance. Ex. Transgender women (born with male genitalia but identify and live as women) forced to take shelter with heterosexual men are frequently subjected to verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. Transgender individuals have often been turned away from shelters and in some cases, signs have been posted barring their entrance

 

LGBT individuals everywhere deserve respect. However, for the homeless, some new considerations should be taken into hand. Forcing a person to identify as the sex their physical characteristics and genitalia identify them as is cruel. Requiring a sex change to allow the individual to stay in their expressed and self-identified gender is also unfair and demeaning. Regardless of a persons’ gender, sexual preferences, or questioning manner, all people deserve the right to safe shelter.

20% of homeless youth are LGBT. In comparison, the general youth population is only 10% LGBT.

While homeless youth typically experience severe family conflict as the primary reason for their homelessness, LGBT youth are twice as likely to experience sexual abuse before the age of 12.

LGBT youth, once homeless, are at higher risk for victimization, mental health problems, and unsafe sexual practices. 58.7% of LGBT homeless youth have been sexually victimized compared to 33.4% of heterosexual homeless youth

LGBT youth are roughly 7.4 times more likely to experience acts of sexual violence than heterosexual homeless youth

LGBT homeless youth commit suicide at higher rates (62%) than heterosexual homeless youth (29%)

 

-Published by the National Coalition for the Homeless

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