LGBTQ Homelessness Issues

When we were asked to choose a research topic on an issue relating to gender and welfare in Canada, I was immediately drawn to the issue of LGBT homelessness, especially after leading a seminar on homelessness that included literature on LGBT youth homelessness. The more I read about the issue the more I wanted to understand what it means for LGBT youth to be homeless and how their status as LGBT individuals affects their experiences with homelessness and housing insecurity. One of the major things that has struck me over the course of my research is the fact that many of the people being discussed in the literature are LGBT youth who are around the same age as me and my friends and as a queer identified individual it really strikes me how lucky I am. In the states it is estimated that 320,000-400,000 LGBT youth are homeless, I am one of the lucky ones. As someone who comes from a very liberally minded family who accepted me from the very moment I came out, I can never even begin to imagine what it means trying to address homophobia within the shelter system as well as within your own family and community. The fact that I have had an extremely difficult time finding local resources available for LGBT youth experiencing homelessness only increases my drive to learn more about the topic and what we can do to make life better for queer homeless youth. I am eager to learn about the experiences of other queer youth and what we can do to improve the situation for homeless youth who are gay and trans.

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Comments on: "Why this is important to me…" (1)

  1. Although I have a basic understanding of what brings youth into the homeless shelter situation, this blog is providing insights into a group that I had not really thought of. A number of years back, I sat inside the G-20 gated area in downtown Toronto with a man about my age outside a Tim Hortons. I provided him with a coffee and a doughnut, and together, he and I talked about his situation. Amazingly, our backgrounds were very similiar. He had left his family at a very young age, for reasons that he did not get into. He had ultimately joined the military and entered basic training, only to be washed out for health reasons. I too had moved on from my home situation and joined the military to give me a sense of belonging and future, and had washed out due to health. I had been lucky, my family quickly took me back in, applied no judgement, and helped me to heal and find a place in the family and the world. My disenfranchisement was due to my own mental health issues and those in the family, nothing directly imposed through predudice or ignorance. The man I spoke to had spent the last 20 years on the streets, in shelters, mental health programs. He was an intelligent man who with supports at a younger age would not be sitting in front of this Tim Horton’s locked away from the public at that time due to the G-20 security. It was ironic, that there was millions being spent on the security zone and so little on him. When I read this blog, I learn another perpspective of the homeless and that there is a large group of individuals who are struggling to find their place in life and in their own sexuality. I am Nicki’s father, and without hesitation, I support her and admire that she is going beyond her own questions to attempt to understand and find ways to discuss how best to support those who do not have the support that she has. She is one of the lucky few. It has nothing to do with choice as many would say that gets people into or out of the homeless situation. It lies in the support that families, community, churches, and governments are willing to give to them to guide them along the way without judgement and to provide them peace in themselves and a direction to follow. Thank you Nicki for bringing this topic to the forefront. I look forward to hearing more. All the greatest success in this project to you. Love, your Dad.

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