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Can you imagine?
Forty percent of young people seeking homeless services at more than 350 agencies across the nation are LGBT, shows a study from UCLA’s Williams Institute.
The main reason: Dads and moms don’t want them any more.
According to the study, 68 percent — almost 7 out of 10 — of the LGBT homeless youth have experienced family rejection. More than 5 in 10 report having been abused.
In the Springs, many LBGT youth have experienced similar problems. Some of them have found a home at the Urban Peak shelter downtown.
The shelter has 20 beds, and 25 percent of its population self-identify as LGBT.
“Maybe there’s more than this number because some youth have been so traumatized that they keep their sexual orientation to themselves,” says Chris Telk, Urban Peak’s executive director.
“Accepting and loving your child for who they are is what will keep them safe and healthy,” she says in a press release.
Here is the full release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 20, 2012
Inside/Out Youth Services
Shawna Kemppainen, Cell 719.201.5926
New LGBT Homeless Youth Survey Nothing to be Proud Of
July 20, 2012, Colorado Springs, Colorado — On the eve of Colorado Springs Pride Fest celebrating equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender people, a new study out of UCLA’s Williams Institute shows that LGBT youth comprise 40% of young people seeking homeless services at more than 350 agencies across the nation.
“For years, surveys studies have shown that LGBT youth are greatly overrepresented in the homeless youth population,” says Shawna Kemppainen, executive director of Inside Out Youth Services in Colorado Springs. “The study from the Williams Institute identifies that the three top reasons for LGBT youth homelessness is family rejection.”
Overall, respondents at agencies who serve homeless youth indicated that nearly seven in ten (68%) of their LGBT homeless clients have experienced family rejection and more than half of clients (54%) had experienced abuse in their family. (http://williamsinstitute.law.ucla.edu/wp-content/uploads/Durso-Gates-LGBT-Homeless-Youth-Survey-July-2012.pdf)
The survey also shows the top three reasons why LGBT youth became homeless:
46% ran away because of family rejection of sexual orientation or gender identity
43% were forced out by parents because of sexual orientation or gender identity
32% experienced physical, emotional, or sexual abuse at home
“This Pride weekend in Colorado Springs, we want families to know that regardless of their political or religious beliefs, accepting and loving your child for who they are is what will keep them safe and healthy,” says Kemppainen.
LGBT youth whose families severely reject them are more than 8 times as likely to attempt to take their own lives and 3 times as likely to be at high risk for HIV or other STDs than if their family accepted them. (2009, Family Acceptance Project, San Francisco State University)
Inside/Out Youth Services educates, empowers and advocates on behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning youth. Our youth center is open most nights a week in downtown Colorado Springs. Contact 719-328-2056 for Shawna@insideoutys.org for more information