National Runaway Prevention Month: LGBTQ Youth
While lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) youth make up 7 percent of the general youth population, it’s estimated that this population accounts for 40 percent of the total homeless youth population, according to the True Colors Fund.
Family conflict or rejection after revealing their sexual orientation and identity often leave LGBTQ young people without stable housing or support, leaving these young people at an increased risk of being trafficked, assaulted, and abused.
For the final week of National Runaway Prevention Month (NRPM), NCFY joins the National Runaway Safeline (NRS) in highlighting the prevalence of homelessness among LGBTQ youth and the importance of building community support for LGBTQ youth in crisis. A recent study of participants in the Family and Youth Services Bureau’s Street Outreach Program found nearly 30 percent of participants identified as gay, lesbian, or bisexual, and nearly 7 percent identified as transgender. These youth reported higher levels of victimization before and after becoming homeless.
The study also found that LGBTQ youth experience barriers to service when they do seek help, including a lack of LGBTQ-friendly policies and staff. According to the True Colors Fund, LGBTQ youth need services similar to heterosexual homeless youth, including housing, employment, and healthcare, but they also need identity-related supports, like acceptance and emotional support. Transgender youth need additional help with legal support and access to hormones for their transition – all in a space where they feel safe and welcome.
Visit FYSB’s youth homelessness website to learn more about what homeless youth need and what you can do to help. Also, check back for more runaway prevention topics and resources throughout the month.
Week 1: Homeless Youth and Abuse
Week 2: Trafficking
Week 3: System-Involved Youth
More on System-Involved Youth