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CBS On Homeless LGBT Teens: VIDEO

HomelessTeens
On Friday, Miami's CBS affiliate aired a segment on the plight of homeless LGBT teens -- and floated the fascinating and frightening idea that a recent increase in the number of such teens has to do with the earlier and earlier ages at which teens are coming out of the closet. Watch AFTER THE JUMP ...

 

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  1. This is such an important yet sad subject. More information, more resources and more caring.

    Posted by: Matt26 | Feb 19, 2012 5:54:49 PM



  2. Nobody in the U.S. should be forced to live on the streets. If you have a mental health issue, there should be clean, safe places for you, and if necessary you should be forced to take your meds. One of the saddest things in a big city is seeing the obviously mentally ill live and die on the streets because social services decided decades ago that they deserve their 'freedom'. And every big town should have a clean,safe shelter specifically for homeless gay youth. It's inexcusable considering the vast sums spent on social services and the wealthy society we live in. I see some of these kids every day,some are obviously druggies and alcoholics. It's sad and pathetic.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Feb 19, 2012 6:03:46 PM


  3. What kind of monstrous parent could do that? And I say that as someone who taught himself to type when he was 12 because he was worried that he'd be disowned and wanted to be able to support himself. Luckily when I finally told my parents at 17, they were fine with it. Not overjoyed, but still very loving.

    Posted by: Paul R | Feb 19, 2012 6:07:35 PM


  4. It's true. Earlier coming out risks homelessness or kids running away because they are subject to the actions and decisions of their parents. We have to rally as a community to support these kids. As we promote messages about them coming out and being proud, we have to recognize that for some of those kids, doing so will result in risk. And if we work to change attitudes so that more parents are accepting, we also have to work to provide a safety net for kids whose parents can't be reached.

    Donate to national organizations that serve homeless youth AND are safe spaces for LGBT youth. Trevor Project, True Colors House, Ruth Ellis Center, Ozone House, Ali Forney Center, and Sylvia's Place are some of the organizations out there that need support in reaching out to homeless youth.

    You'd be surprised at the horror stories LGBT youth have told about being in homeless shelters with homophobic policies, and these pro-LGBT spaces are a godsend, but have such little funding and capacity. Volunteer at some of these drop in centers if you live near one. These kids need resources--a warm bed, food, a plan to build their lives again--but they also need mentors who will help them.

    None of these kids should be forced to live on the street and give up their lives and their futures because of homophobia. They shouldn't have to be forced to engage in sex work to have a warm place to sleep or food to eat because there is no shelter for LGBT youth or because all the beds or full or the center doesn't have enough funds to accomodate them. And shame on any member of our community who would take advantage of them for a quick thrill.

    I've said it once, and I'll say it as many times as it needs to be said: These kids are OUR kids. We need to take care of them.

    Posted by: luminum | Feb 19, 2012 6:34:54 PM


  5. So sad. How could a parent turn away a child--their own child--and say they wish they were dead. So many have lost their way, their compassion, and their humanity.

    Posted by: Jason Evan Mihalko, Psy.D | Feb 19, 2012 6:41:03 PM


  6. I waited until I was a junior in college to come out to my parents. I knew that doing so too early would be too risky. My parents aren't insane, but I thought they'd insist on a bunch of useless therapy. If you're not sure about the reaction, I'd keep it on the down low until you can support yourself.

    That grandmother ironing the kid's clothes before packing them up and saying that she never wanted to see him again? WTF? Crazy lady. Did she want him to look prim and proper when he had to become a hustler to eat?

    I so wish that there was a rule that potential parents pass various requirements before giving birth.

    Posted by: Paul R | Feb 19, 2012 7:34:24 PM


  7. Child abuse.

    The parents who do this should be prosecuted. They are not fit to have kids. Take their kids away and give them to a caring gay couple, and put their asses in jail!

    Now why can't that happen?

    Oh yeah, right wingers, Republicans, religious nuts, Mormons, and other homophobes.

    Ricky Gervais is right!
    http://tinyurl.com/7ap4x86

    Posted by: KevinVT | Feb 19, 2012 9:13:42 PM


  8. Ratbastard: do you think being gay is a mental illness?

    Posted by: KevinVT | Feb 19, 2012 9:14:58 PM


  9. Ratbastard: do you think being gay is a mental illness?

    Posted by: KevinVT | Feb 19, 2012 9:14:58 PM


  10. Ratbastard: do you think being gay is a mental illness?

    Posted by: KevinVT | Feb 19, 2012 9:14:58 PM


  11. i had a buddy in high school who lived in shelters and foster homes beginning around age 15 when he came out.

    it's amazing when a kid is told that "under his parent's roof" he "can't be gay". it's still amazing that people get angry at the child for being gay. i mean, truly. it actually boggles the mind.

    indeed, more specific shelters for LGBT youth are needed. for many it's not merely a case of having "intolerant" parents, or even rude ones, but legitimately toxic and dangerous home environments. being able to point to a place of refuge would be an asset.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 19, 2012 9:29:52 PM


  12. What kind of parent would do that? Many kinds. Too many kinds. A panel of undergrad students I had speak in grad school as part of a presentation on counseling LGBT youth talked about being rejected by parents as a teenager. Only one of six panel members had not been rejected. Some had been forced to leave home. Sure, the students who agreed to be part of the panel self-selected to do so, so it's not possible to assume their experiences are representative (even though it feels right).

    I wonder what the results would look like if we polled Towelroad readers of their experiences. How many would have been afraid to talk about confusing feelings about their sexuality, let alone those who felt sure? How many did talk, and experienced rejection (mild to extreme)? How many KIWIs, who experienced acceptance? How many of us will never be accepted by parents, even though we are adults?

    Posted by: TJ | Feb 19, 2012 10:07:13 PM


  13. @KEVINVT,

    I should ignore you,but:

    Where did I say gay kids are mentally ill because they're gay? That's right Kevin, I didn't. My comments on mentally ill homeless was just an extrapolation of the whole homeless issue being discussed.

    Are you in VT Vermont, Kevin? We get a lot of homeless young and old from northern New England in Boston. Your economy sucks up there, why don't you Vermont 'progressives' do something to help Vermont's economy, like encourage business growth and so-on? Maybe less down on their luck youth would find the need to migrate to places like Boston and live on the streets or squat.

    Please excuse the last comment if you aren't in Vermont.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Feb 19, 2012 10:38:01 PM


  14. Ratbastard's comment raises one of my big questions about this issue. I know a lot about LGBT homelessness, but I'm right in thinking that it's far more common in urban areas....correct? Even if the kids have to migrate there. Homelessness and the limited resources available to address it are far more common in urban areas. I can't really see a kid being kicked out in somewhere like, say, remote Idaho. The parents would be considered the monsters they are by much of the community, and the kids would have a hard time commuting to a city.

    Don't get me wrong: I know that it happens. But I also think that rural kids are way less likely to come out so early, knowing the potential outcomes.

    Posted by: Paul R | Feb 19, 2012 11:07:05 PM


  15. Paul R, the kids *are* kicked out of rural Idaho. or driven out.

    all you have to do is live in a Big City for a while to see the waves of young people desperate to find a place free from the "small town values" that benefit only those who Blend.

    the parents aren't considered monsters. the kid is considered the monster simply for being LGBT. parents? most just lie about the whereabouts of their child, ignore it altogether, or are rather vocal about kicking That Faggot out. we see it all the time.

    so, if i can impart anything it's that it is indeed the kids in the rural places that end up on the streets of another town or city.


    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 19, 2012 11:14:44 PM


  16. OK, Kiwi, I certainly believe you. That just makes it suck even more, and I apologize for my ignorance.

    Posted by: Paul R | Feb 19, 2012 11:24:04 PM


  17. it's all good, buddy. it's one of those things you really only realize through experience. i've met so many people, and heard so many stories, from all over the world the common thread: fleeing the Town for the City.

    the only thing i've noticed in terms of city vs rural "bad home experiences" was actually a greater threat of physical violence in the stories of people from smaller towns. Blue Velvet & Twin Peaks aren't much of a lie - in little places where everyone knows everyone else's business there's a great deal of fury when socially-conservative folks, God-fearin' flag-wavers and all that jazz, realize the community will realize that They've Got a Gay.

    for decades people have been told to "get to the city" - what they need is a place just for them when they arrive.

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Feb 19, 2012 11:37:39 PM


  18. @Kiwi, urban gay kids get disowned/kicked out too!! Last month I saw a documentary on the topic, put on youtube by some lgbt rights organization.

    Posted by: redball | Feb 20, 2012 1:09:36 AM


  19. Be it the suburbs, be it the city, be it rural- ignorance and right wing thinking (as in, things are supposed to be one way and one way only) abounds. No matter the locale, despite what seems predominant, all points of view exist. The kid in the midst of metropolis, with no readily accessible and known means of support, or even the guts to walk in the door, can be vulnerable. There are those who weather the storm, and those who don't. Some suck it up, bide their time, and in doing so, may developed enough life skills to survive. Some may not wait, and end up on the streets. Larger cities may have more resources, but large or small, most resources are overwhelmed. In the meantime, provide support. In the long term , fight for and accept nothing less than justice, what is fair, what is good and right: equality.

    Posted by: TJ | Feb 20, 2012 3:08:58 AM


  20. What a creative idea - disposable children.

    Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | Feb 20, 2012 6:13:38 AM


  21. What will it be like when kids come out at even earlier ages? I knew when I was five. At seven I knew it was "wrong". I bided my time. We all know there's an enormous and inordinte social problem over this innocent issue. Shelters are good of course, better yet would be more gay adults willing to take gay and other troubled youth into their homes. But for a long time yet the only thing likely to happen is that desperate young people will have to figure out how to survive any way they can, and fortunately many forms of social service do now exist, not enough of course, but far more than ever before. In fact the improvement between now and the London of Dicken's day is so enormous that there is good reason for hope.

    Posted by: uffda | Feb 20, 2012 9:31:28 AM


  22. I ran away from home once in high school. Although it was most-directly because of physical abuse, the thought that I might be gay played a big part, too.

    But, dude, it was cold out there. I had a farmer call the cops and take me home. Never played the gay card. Still humiliated my parents to have cops bring their son home; they deserved it.

    I went away far away to college; then, within a year or two, I started coming out to myself. It took me about a decade before I could tell my monsters-of-parents.

    SOrry, but these parents--and my own (sorry) ARE monsters.

    They also ARE the "Republican" party. And the fundamentalist hate-based wings on "Christianity" and Islam (which as a religion still seems to present a unilateral fundamentalist scary-ass face, sorry--it's still beyond me why regular-going muslims don't grow a pair and tell their "prophets" a simple "uh, no" sometimes...but wait, the Mormons are the SAME way, eh?).

    Anyway, yeah, I chose to stick it out, stay quiet, and get the hell out. I'm not close to my parents, and it's their fault and their loss.

    I don't know an easy way to fix this mess, as my parents to this day still hold onto hate, like to pretend I'm straight and will bring home a good woman one day.


    I see this as a child's rights issue. My parents treated me as a slave, basically. And particularly in my head, the real me was put in effective bondage to straight-hatesianity's claimed dictates.

    In light of the degree to which straight hater-parents treat their lgbt children as PROPERTY to be used or discarded, effective slaves, I don't think there IS any easy way for this to be fixed:

    Just like the end of slavery, there is BOUND to be some real upheaval. ;-/. But the upside is that if we fight hard enough, for long enough--and it may take GENERATIONS and LIFETIMES--it WILL get better. Sadly, of course, as Santorum's current rise to prominence shows, the haters take their hate as their God-given privilege defining their way of life. SO it may get WORSE before it gets better. I don't hold out for easy transformation. And the brutality of hater-parents likely leaves untold scars.

    Gotta say, tho, if America can transcend and redeem these evils, THAT is the shining beacon on the hill that our forefathers hoped our polity would become.

    Posted by: just_a_guy | Feb 20, 2012 11:15:39 AM


  23. JUST A GUY - great post!

    I was a time-bider, too. But I'd have to say that the thought of being gay was so suppressed that it was less about biding my time to come out than it was to just escape an all-around hell where I had I was not allowed to be anything, have any dreams or individuality.

    Being repressed and having individuation retarded meant I had a lot of catching up to do. Fortunately, I had developed some maturity, had a fair amount of intelligence, and a burning desire to become whole and happy.

    Young teens, by and large, haven't the coping skills on so many levels. Any repression inhibits testing identities, which can leave gay youth even less capable. And these kids get kicked out, shunned, and demonized? The world needs to change. People like Santorum (and poster MARY) philosophically oppose change. Ignorance is safe, but oh so damaging.

    Posted by: TJ | Feb 20, 2012 11:47:44 AM


  24. Love these personal posts which bring so much real life to this screen life. Thank you gentlemen. These stories are going to go on for a long time yet. It's so very Darwinian.

    Posted by: uffda | Feb 20, 2012 12:40:30 PM


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