Bullying | Gay Youth | Michael Bloomberg | New York | News

Ali Forney Center Director Slams Bloomberg for 'It Gets Better' Video, Hypocrisy on LGBT and Homeless Youth

Carl Siciliano, Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center, which provides shelter and services for homeless LGBT youth, is furious at NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg for an "It Gets Better" video the mayor released earlier today, in which he urged bullied gay youth to come to New York City where they would be accepted.

Siciliano explains, in a statement: Siciliano

"Two days after slashing support to homeless youth programs in New York City, Mayor Bloomberg has the gall to release a video telling LGBT youth that 'It Gets Better.' Mayor Bloomberg, your cruel and reckless cuts to the meager support system for homeless LGBT youth in New York City just made things for them much worse! On January 1st,  Bloomberg cut support for outreach to homeless youth in half, cut most drop-in centers for homeless youth by a third, and cut support for the two LGBT homeless youth drop-in programs in half. In New York City there are over 1,000 LGBT youth suffering on the streets every night without access to safe shelter. The drop-in centers and outreach are their only support. Homeless LGBT youth are at incredible risk of suicide with 62% reporting that they have considered or attempted suicide.

The LGBT community needs to recognize these cuts as an attack against our most vulnerable youth, and against us as a whole. We pay just as much taxes as anyone, and there are far too few City-funded programs that support our most vulnerable youth.  If we can be treated like this in a city with as strong an community as NYC, how will our youth ever get their fair share of the resources they need and deserve? I cannot speak strongly enough about what a horror it is to have LGBT youth who have been discarded by homophobic parents flock to us for help, and to have to counsel them to sleep in the subways because there are not nearly enough beds for them."

Said Bloomberg in the video: "Right now there may be some of you out there who feel that there's no hope, or that you're not wanted. Well I have a message for you. New York City wants you. New York has always been the place where anyone can go, and be who they're supposed to be, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender, or sexual identity. We need you."

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  1. It is heartbreaking to think that rejected kids are being advised to "sleep" (who could really ever sleep?) in subway stations.
    I can sympathize with the fact that there are cases where kids who have mental or behavior problems make it difficult to find space and resources for them.
    But ANY homeless kid who is willing to respectfully observe a basic set of strict rules (example: Be inside and in bed with lights off by 9 p.m., get up and out to school on time, wash your own dishes, no drugs or alcohol, etc. etc.) can surely at least be afforded a bare-bones bunk and a bowl of oatmeal somewhere.
    If there are 1,000 homeless "LGBT" youth on the streets of NYC, how many square feet would it take to fit in a bunk space for ALL of them? Oliver Twist-style housing is not ideal, but it is easily affordable and could be better than a park bench or a corner in a subway station.

    Posted by: GregV | Jan 4, 2011 10:31:21 PM

  2. Really sad news.

    Posted by: Mel Smith | Jan 4, 2011 10:48:47 PM

  3. Well, thanks for catching on to the real story here, Andy.

    Posted by: Zlick | Jan 4, 2011 11:40:35 PM

  4. @gregv,

    ...Common-sense, but unfortunately, social services agencies often lack it. Many shelter make no effort to separate sane, sober homeless from the mentally ill, druggies, and alcoholics. For a sane, sober person, shelters can be terrifying.
    And it's common for this reason for some homeless to sleep in public places during the day [when it's generally a lot safer] then be up all night, often in 'Safe' or safer public places.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Jan 4, 2011 11:46:22 PM

  5. This is so saddening to me. In a world of plenty and especially in the United States where our athletes, stars and others make so much money, how does this happen.

    I had admired the Mayor for speaking up, now I'm not so sure after reading your post. Especially when he could use his "star power" and get the monies together to help these youth. Heck, he even has the money if he "really" cared!

    Thanks for sharing!


    Posted by: Michael | Jan 5, 2011 12:26:50 AM

  6. But hey,DADT was repealed so all those gays who frothed at the mouth over Obama can sleep well.

    And where are log cabin and GOproud fans when you need their input? I thought they cared about gays? Oh, that's right. Only themselves and that economy their master effed up for 8 years. Ahem.

    Also a lot of these shelters have dubious people in charge who take advantage of the younger kids, so it's actually safer for them to be outside then inside.

    Posted by: Rowan | Jan 5, 2011 3:28:50 AM

  7. carl is only half right. We cannot expect the government to fund LGBT programs because 1) funds for such programs are decreasing and 2) we have to take care of our own.

    Instead of spending hours creating your own "it gets better video" how about spending 3 minutes writing a check for 20 bucks to your local LGBT organization for youth programming.

    Posted by: QJ201 | Jan 5, 2011 8:49:13 AM

  8. The It Gets Better Project is nothing but a big crock of sh*t, and that fact is underscored by the number of craven political opportunists who've jumped on the bandwagon. It needs to be retired, like, yesterday! Thank you, Carl Siciliano, for not disrespecting LGBT youth by calling them "queer youth" or "young queers".

    Posted by: Stuffed Animal | Jan 5, 2011 12:59:29 PM

  9. You are full of baloney as they say across the waves.

    It gets better was and is an amazing phenomenon that got hijacked by opportunists, like everything does.

    Posted by: Rowan | Jan 5, 2011 3:47:09 PM

  10. Who is calling out the Ali Forney Center for their hypocrisy? They are correct to condemn Bloomberg, but they are acting like hypocrites when they let Democratic politicians slide by unchecked. Why is it okay for Democrats to gay bash, but we all get our panties in a wad when Republicans gay bash?

    Posted by: Lonnie | Jan 6, 2011 6:09:39 PM

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