While LGBT+ youth make up just 5-10% of the general youth population, they account for 20-40% of all homeless youth. This means that LGBT+ youth experience homelessness at a disproportionately higher rate than non-LGBT+ youth.
Many gay youth survive without a home by trading their bodies for shelter, clothing, and food – often called “survival sex.” Many of these youth are indistinguishable from non-homeless youth. Seeking to blend in is a survival approach that helps young people avoid being targeted for sex trafficking. For this reason, LGBT+ homeless youth can be difficult to track. If the church is to play a role in combating sex trafficking, we cannot ignore homeless gay youth.
On this day, countless homeless youth are identifiable by the over-stuffed backpacks they carry. As the sun goes down and temperatures fall, youth slip under the lowering door of a parking garage as it closes for the evening. Being behind that locked door will ensure their safety for the night.
In 2016, Lead Them Home began a justice initiative to lift gay youth out of homelessness. This initiative will help young people access jobs, education, and communities who are rooting for them. Lead Them Home speaks to this social issue at events, and has done so for over a decade. However, this past year, Lead Them Home also started a justice initiative fund that will help sponsor eligible youth experiencing homelessness. Read about our talk at Houston’s State of the City.
If you are interested in contributing to the Justice Initiative or having Lead Them Home come speak to your city about the young LGBT+ homeless population, contact us today.