This number is one that I find a little bit terrifying, especially considering that there appears to be a severe lack of resources out there aimed specifically towards LGBT homeless youth. When we take a moment to consider the reason that there is such a high rate of homelessness amongst LGBT youth, these numbers are not really all that shocking. LGBT identified youth are at extreme risk for becoming homeless simply because of the fact that they identify as gay, or lesbian, or trans. Homophobia and transphobia are rampant within our society and is often the greatest factor for LGBT youth homelessness. Many studies have shown that the main reason that LGBT youth experience homelessness is because of family conflict caused by parents and family members who are not accepting of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Despite the fact that LGBT youth are at a greater risk for homelessness, the resources are just simply not out there to support these youth in getting off the streets and into safe and affordable housing. While many resources exist to aid people who are experiencing homelessness, these resources are not always suitable for LGBT individuals as staff are often untrained in the specific needs of these youth and residents often express transphobic and homophobic opinions and behaviours which can make the shelter system more dangerous for LGBT youth than living on the streets… and since living on the streets is not pretty and certainly NOT safe, that thought is a little horrifying. These statistics are the reason that there needs to be increased focus on the needs of LGBT homeless youth and on increasing the number of services available to address the specific needs and experiences of homeless youth who are also sexual minorities. These statistics are the reason that we need to ensure that there are safe spaces for all youth experiencing homelessness, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity.