by Margot Adler
November 20, 2011
A number of studies of homeless youth in big cities put forth a startling statistic: Depending on the study, somewhere between 30 and 40 percent of homeless youths identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.
It's largely because gay youths are more often kicked out of their homes than straight youths. And even if they are not kicked out, they may feel so uncomfortable that they leave.
In New York City, nearly 4,000 young people are homeless every night — many of them gay.
Reaching Out To Homeless Youths
On the Christopher Street pier in Greenwich Village, where dozens of gay and transgender youths hang out, Carter Seabron and Elena Wood of Safe Horizon's Streetwork Project hand out snacks, condoms and information. The organization sends out several nightly teams to find homeless youths.
"Would you like a snack?" Seabron and Wood ask. Oreos, Rice Krispies treats and chewy bars are the favorites. They also give out information about Streetwork's drop-in centers, where young people can get showers, clothing and housing referrals.
Seabron, the outreach coordinator for the Streetwork Project, says that "for the most part, the majority of youth we see who identify as being homeless also identify as being LGBT."
Wood says not all of them are thrown out of their homes, although many are.