THE LGBT YOUTH HOMELESSNESS

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LGBT is an abbreviation for lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, and transgender people (Kath Browne 88). With each passing year, a growing number of LGBT youths experience homelessness. As a result, these teens are expected to live on the streets after being evicted from their homes or deciding to abandon their homes due to the care they get. However, the streets are not always kind to them and they must fight to survive and end up engaged in practices that endanger their lives.
Even since the adoption and signing of the gay rights activists, the problem of homelessness in the LGBT community has intensified. There has been an increase in the emergence of LGBT themed shows, gay celebrities and these have been factors that have contributed to most of the youths the youths coming out as LGBT. The response from some of their caregivers, however, is not usually so pleasing that some of these teens are forced to leave their homes.

The primary cause for these youth’s homelessness is because they are kicked out of their homes because of their parents or guardians response to the gender expression and sexual-minority identity of these teenagers. Research by Durso and Gates(2012), shows that the LGBT status was the primary cause of homelessness among the youth. The gender-atypical self-expression distaste for the parents and guardians, making forcing them out of their homes their only reaction.

The reason why most parents force their LGBT children out of their homes is that of their religious practices; their religions view being an LGBT is a sin that needs to be punished, and by punishing them the child can see his mistakes. They think that by forcing these children out of their homes, the child will come back repenting and stop being an LGBT. In some other occasions, one of the parents consents with their child being an LGBT but the other one does not, so to please the spouse, he or she sends the child away (Seaton).

Sometimes these youths are not forced to leave their homes but choose to go by themselves following the kind of treatment that they receive both at home and school. Sometimes they face such a harsh treatment that they can no longer tolerate. They face abuse, harassment, and rejection that they are left with no other choice but go.

After moving from their homes, some of these youths join child welfare systems before going to the streets. Unfortunately, these systems which are meant to be heaven for these teens, turn into places that these youths need to be spared. Most of these systems are full of drug use and abuse, violence and theft (Flowers 107). In these systems, they face problems not necessarily related to them being LGBT, and some eventually leave these homes and opt for the streets.

These youths face a lot of challenges in the streets as they struggle to find food, shelter and even people to trust. Most of them spend their days at youth centers so that they can get a meal, health checks, computers and also learn life skill classes. In the evening, however, these youths go back to the streets to look for somewhere to lay their heads. These homeless kids usually have high rates of substance use, mental health, suicidal acts and HIV risk behaviors.

The homeless LGBT youths are most likely to be affected by depression as compared to the homeless heterosexuals teens; they are also more likely to abuse alcohol, cocaine methamphetamines and crack than the non-LGBT homeless youths. The suicidal attempts between the LGBT and non-LGBT youths range at (73% and 53.2%) (Newton, 54this proving that these LGBT teenagers are more likely to commit suicidal acts than the non-LGBT.

These youths are usually at a high risk of contracting HIV. This is mainly because of their risky survival strategies (Lynn, 11). According to a report by the center for disease control and prevention, the HIV infection among the gay male youths between 13-24 years had gone up by 22 percent as from 2008 to 2010. Jeremy Hartman, an assistant director at gay men’s health crisis, linked the rise of HIV with homelessness among these youths. He said that, that if specific basic needs are not satisfied first, and in this case housing and food, HIV is not one of these young peoples concern as they need warm beds (Rubinstein, 25).

Conclusion

The issue of homelessness among the LGBT youths is an alarming issue. This is because the society has identified being an LGBT as something out of the norm and people have to fit in with either being male or female. The stigmatization that these individuals face contribute to them living lives they are not happy with even though they can do nothing about it. The issue needs to be addressed, and the society should learn to accept and appreciate them by not treating them any lesser.Works Cited

Flowers, R.Barri. “street kids, lives of runaways and throwaway kids.” McFarland, n.d. 107.

Kath Browne, Leela Bakshi. “Ordinary in Brighton? LGBT, Activism and the city.” Routledge, 2016. 88.

Lynn, Rew. “sexual health risks and protective resources in gay, lesbian bisexual and heterosexual homeless youths.” journal for specialists in pediatric nursing, 2005. 11.

Newton, David E. “LGBT Youth issues today; A reference handbook.” ABC-CLIO, 2014. 54.

Rubinstein, Michael. “Left behind; LGBT Homeless youth struggle to survive on streets.” NBC NEWS 3 August 2014.

Seaton, Jamie. “homeless rates for LGBT teens are alarming, but parents can make a difference.” the Washington post 29 March 2017.

Spero, Josh. “down and out; why so many homeless youths are LGBT.” financial times 12 may 2017.

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