LGBTQ Youth Homeless in the UK

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On most days, the biggest thing you can do is a small act of kindness, decency or Love ~ Cory Booker

hub2LGBTQ2S youth homelessness is epidemic across North America. In Toronto earlier this month, the city’s first LGBTQ2S youth shelter “Sprott House” was opened. In the same week, a study found that almost 50% of youth experiencing homelessness in D.C. identified as LGBTQ+. This Huffington Post article highlights the similar LGBTQ+ youth homelessness crisis happening in the UK. ~  The Homeless Hub


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While the middle class gay leaders of our community may applaud same sex marriage as our last great battle, they are insulting those who have been completely left behind, particularly in the midst of the LGBTQ+ youth homelessness crisis in the UK.

“Crisis” may seem like a dramatic term, but there are several reasons I use it. The fact that 401891_10151390237591890_2040671388_nanybody could be homeless is a crisis, but particularly for those who identify as LGBTQ+, as there are few services which are able and willing to provide appropriate support and advice. This means that LGBTQ+ youths simply have very few ways of being able to get out of poverty. Furthermore, a recent report by the Albert Kennedy Trust found that almost one quarter of all homeless youths identify as LGBTQ+ despite the fact that only around 3-10% of the general population identify as such. This is completely disproportionate and the true figures of LGBTQ+ homelessness are potentially being severely underestimated when youth homelessness is thought to be three to eight times higher than official government figures.

We may be living in a more liberal time than ever before, but family rejection is still a leading factor in LGBTQ+ youth homelessness.

Legally, expressions of homophobic, bi-phobic or transphobic hatred and/or rejection are classified as hate crimes

yet there is no onus on parents to accept and support their LGBTQ+ children or relatives. It’s rose-loveseen as their right to reject somebody who is entirely deserving of love and respect. Youths who are rejected have very few rights; in a divorce, partners may be entitled to a certain percentage of wealth or assets, but young people are regularly turned out of their homes with nothing, simply for who they are. Even when renting LGBTQ+ people can find that they an unprotected legally as discrimination is actually allowed if one lives with a landlord in certain cases.

There’s also the risk that while more urban areas are breaking down traditional conservatism, rural areas are being left behind. There’s a great disparity in the treatment of LGBTQ+ youths across the country.boy-hat I live in the North East of England and have seen the delights of acceptance in certain parts of Newcastle’s city centre but also know well that rural areas — particularly former mining villages — still have a strong culture of masculinity and can often be hostile and intimidating places for LGBTQ+ youths.

Specific support services are also often concentrated in cities with little outreach being carried out in the places that need them most due to a chronic lack of funding. One should not have to move away to a new city simply to be able to come out and be accepted.

LGBTQ+ charities are also often dominated by white staff and therefore a white centric culture colourwhere little outreach is done to people of color, particularly if they are from certain religious backgrounds. This means that inevitably LGBTQ+ people of color are at a higher risk of not being able to obtain support and so if they do become homeless it will be that much harder to get out of poverty.

LGBTQ+ youths who are homeless will often engage in survival sex or sex work. This is why it is imperative that the wider LGBTQ+ community supports sex worker rights. If any aspect of sex work is criminalised the result will be that vulnerable LGBTQ+ homeless youths will not only struggle in poverty but will potentially face arrest and prosecution. Even those who oppose sex work cannot sincerely claim that criminalization helps anyone; it only targets vulnerable people. LGBTQ+ youths will not stop their sex work activities because of the law; they still need to be able to pay for shelter, food, drink and so will not give up their one source of income. All criminalization ever achieves is criminalizing the vulnerable.

The Tories may claim they believe in the politics of aspiration (while imposing austerity which has seen homelessness soar)

The reality for the overwhelming majority is that once you’re in poverty it is that much harder to get out of, Few realise just how expensive it is to be poor;

fork-itdebts accumulate quickly and rents are extortionate in this country. Savings should not be considered a luxury and yet they have become so with very few being able to give themselves a financial safety net in case something does go wrong. LGBTQ+ youths are most impacted by this due to their lack of employment history and saving possibilities to begin withcontinue reading »»»»»»


Article by Stephanie Farnsworth ~ Charity worker and LGBTQ+ rights activist ~ Feb 16, 2016


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