Presentation on theme: "Queer Youth & Homelessness Jay Vites SOC 108. In the United States, “over a million youth (5%)” experience homelessness annually (Rosario et al 2012)."— Presentation transcript:
In the United States, “over a million youth (5%)” experience homelessness annually (Rosario et al 2012). Studies have found that LGB youth compose 15–36% of homeless youth, although they compose only 1.3–3.8% of the general youth population (Rosario et al 2012). The average percentage of homeless youth who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning/queer (LGBTQ) is approximately 20% (Van Leeuwen et al 2006).
How it affects LGBTQ people: Homelessness is associated with subsequent symptoms of anxiety, depression, conduct problems, and substance abuse (Rosario et al 2012) Youth homelessness leads to public health issues, such as sexual victimization, youth prostitution, and the spread of HIV (Nolan 2006). Homeless youth reported experiencing high levels of physical and sexual abuse, pervasive mental illness, and high rates of engaging in risky sexual behavior (Van Leeuwen et al 2006). LGBTQ youth are at greater risk for substance abuse and suicide, and they are at high risk for being both victims and perpetrators of physical violence compared to the general adolescent population (Van Leeuwen et al 2006).
Trans Homelessness Transgender youth especially are affected by homelessness situations, and find difficulty locating shelters that accept them. “Within social service environments, they were often told implicitly or explicitly that they "do not belong'. The presence of trans women within these spaces seemed to challenge the underlying assumption of a 'normative' homeless woman” (Sakamoto et al 2009). Much of the literature on trans people and housing is couched with reference to broader LGBTQ communities, in which the experiences of trans people largely remain invisible (Sakamoto et al 2009).
Why does it matter? With rampant overrepresentation of LGBTQ people in the homeless population, they face even more difficulties, stigma, and oppression than non-homeless LGBTQ. Queer youth are especially at-risk due to unsupportive families, abusive home situations, and lack of proper resources, such as school counselors LGBTQ outreach programs, and queer-friendly shelters.
What can we do? To ease the situation of a growing queer homeless youth population, we can do several things: Encourage shelters to accept gender nonconforming youth Petition universities and colleges to open LGBTQ student resource centers on campus There are fewer than 150 offices devoted to LGBT student services out of the over 2,000 postsecondary institutions in the United States (Fine 2012). Open your home to queer youth who have been kicked out; help develop a network of safe housing for queer youth Bring awareness to the public