Youth Workers Observe the Experiences of Homeless LGBTQ Youth

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A young homeless man sitting in a playground.

A new study from the True Colors Fund looks at the state of services for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth who are homeless. “Serving Our Youth 2015: The Needs and Experiences of LGBTQ Youth Experiencing Homelessness” sums up findings from a 2014 survey of 138 people.  

Many respondents worked at programs funded by the Family and Youth Services Bureau. Others worked at agencies belonging to True Colors Fund’s Forty to None Network.

Among the findings:

  • Transgender youth were reported to go through bullying, family rejection, and physical and sexual abuse at higher rates than lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth. They were homeless longer. They had more health problems. And they were more likely to have been through trauma.
  • Respondents said having staff members who youth know are LGBTQ leads to more success in working with LGBTQ youth.
  • Much more needs to be known and done to remove the many barriers LBGTQ homeless youth face.

The survey updates an earlier one conducted in 2011. Other researchers have also looked at how well programs serve LGBTQ youth.

Publications discussed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth, the Family and Youth Services Bureau, or the Administration for Children and Families.

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