By JAVIER INIGUEZ, age 9
A national study by organizations working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth showed that LGBTQ kids and teens represent at least 40 percent of homeless youth in the United States. Most of these young people end up on the streets because they are rejected by their families. According to a 2008 census, there are not enough shelter beds and LGBTQ youth are often victims of hate crimes and discrimination on the street.
A lot of people are fighting for equality, but others are just fighting to survive, even turning to prostitution. In a 2012 Huffington Post article, a young transgender woman explained, “When it started raining and getting colder, I had to do more stuff I didn’t want to do just to get a place to sleep for a couple of hours. I’ve been abused and attacked in the streets.”
Yet there is hope. In New York City, the Ali Forney Center provides food, shelter, medical and mental health services to the LGBTQ youth. Mayor Bill de Blasio is also fighting for equality among New Yorkers and aims to help LGBTQ youth by adding 76 beds in shelters and $1.3 million to the 2014 budget for LGBTQ youth services.