To hear a young person’s voice about being homeless, listen to the following.
In the past, gay individuals had no role models; they felt isolated and were careful to not reveal themselves. It was only when they were out of college or able to support themselves that they might dare to come out. Today, with multiple role models in the media, youth are coming out at a younger age. One in four of those youth will find themselves without a home simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
At a time when parental guidance is most crucial, these youth find themselves on their own. Teenagers who are rejected are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, engage in criminal activity, be sexually promiscuous, and attempt suicide. Many of these at-risk teens run away and eventually find themselves locked up in detention centers or living on the streets.
Bullying and lack of support are pervasive problems in the schools, they make life difficult for gay youth, even when they are living at home. This is what Texas youth face in schools each day:
- There is frequent use of biased language
- Many students do not feel safe in their schools
- Responses of faculty and other school staff to reports of harassment and assault are often inadequate
- Supports in school are lacking
- Students from Texas perceive a higher incidence of racial/ethnic harassment in their schools as seen in the number of reports in Texas compared to students nationally. 1
1 GLSEN (2013). The 2013 National School Climate Survey