Hope for Homeless Teens, by Rich Paschall

Yesterday we presented a fictional story about a gay teen tossed out of his home.  The story is based — in part — on elements I know to be true. Many other true stories of teens exist; kids tossed out by parents or who leave home in fear for their safety.

Where do they go?  What happens when you are a teenager and homeless?  Where is there hope?

Corey Nichols, a 15-year-old, became sick and was ignored by his parents who suspected he was gay.  He became desperate and suicidal. A friends’ mother rescued him, and she and her husband nursed him back to health.  When the boy returned home after the absence, he admitted he was gay but the episode took a scary turn.

The Gaily Grind reports “Corey claims when his parents and brother tried breaking down the bedroom door, he took refuge in the bathroom. After they had gone to sleep, he slipped out of the house, never to return again.”  The friend’s parents took him in and adopted him.  Corey’s biological parents did not contest the adoption.

“I want the world to know that Corey is a beautiful human being,” Mindy, Corey’s new mom, told Out In Santa Cruz. ”I want the world to see Corey’s pain and know it is not necessary.”

Last fall The Huffington Post reported the story of Georgia teen Daniel Ashley Pierce.  He came out in 2013 but last year the parents tried to intervene, and it became violent.  The episode was caught on this shaky home video here.  Daniel stated on his Facebook: “to add insult to injury my step mother punched me in the face repeatedly with my grandmother cheering her along.”  Warning:  The video contains graphic content.

A friend posted the video and a Go Fund Me page to help with living expenses.  The video went viral, and there was an outpouring of support.  Daniel got his start and has since directed donations to Atlanta’s Lost N Found, a not-for-profit agency that help homeless LGBTQ youth.

Last September Rolling Stone reported on the rising number of gay teens being tossed out by “highly religious” parents. The article states: “The Center for American Progress has reported that there are between 320,000 and 400,000 homeless LGBT youths in the United States.”  The figure may reflect (partly) youth coming out at an earlier age, encouraged by social media success stories.  Unfortunately, many coming out stories do not turn out well.

This “hidden epidemic” of homeless gay teens is quite troubling to Carl Siciliano, founder of the Ali Forney Center, the largest organization dedicated to homeless LGBTQ teens. “I feel like the LGBT movement has been asleep at the wheel when it comes to this,” he told Rolling Stone. “We haven’t been fighting for economic resources. How many tax dollars do gay people contribute? What percentage of tax dollars comes back to our gay kids? We haven’t matured enough as a movement yet that we’re looking at the economics of things.”

So it is a variety of organizations across the country that are dealing with this growing problem. Since gay is “unacceptable” in so many communities, we literally have a generation of gay children without homes.

Point Foundation:  The largest organization dedicated to providing scholarship money and support to LGBTQ students.  The need is great. However, they can only offer scholarships to 2 percent of the students who apply.

The Trevor Project: “The leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24.”

It Gets Better Project: “The It Gets Better Project’s mission is to communicate to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth around the world that it gets better, and to create and inspire the changes needed to make it better for them.”

For more on any of the organizations mentioned above, just click on the name of the organization in the article.

Read more about the “hidden epidemic”: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/the-forsaken-a-rising-number-of-homeless-gay-teens-are-being-cast-out-by-religious-families-20140903#ixzz3WOcsK0WI
Follow: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

Categories: Life, Rich Paschall

Tags: , , , , , , ,

16 replies

  1. I agree with you on so many points, but you lose me when you talk about gay teens being kicked out of their homes as a ‘growing problem.’ Hello? If the biggest problem that gay teens have is being kicked out (or beaten up) by their parents, that is SO MUCH BETTER than in the past. They get kicked out and someone takes them in, or they have organizations to help them (if they can find them). This is such a major improvement that it boggles the mind. Years ago your parents kicked you out and then members of the community hunted you down and kicked you to death on the streets. You know this.

    Yes, this is a terrible thing, I am not saying that it is not, but please – a ‘growing’ problem? No, what is growing is the knowledge that 1) it is all right to be gay, and to talk about it, even if your parents don’t approve/understand/accept; 2) That you have choices – you can leave your parents and be accepted elsewhere; 3) That there are people (like you) who care enough to champion your rights and a public that supports those rights.

    Your blog post makes it sound as if this is something new, and it’s getting worse. No. This is something old, and it’s getting better. Let’s help it continue to get better. Yes?


    • The problem is they get kicked out and no one takes them in. On second thought, I should have subtitled the article “Little Hope For Homeless Teens.” They still get beat up or worse and the number of homeless is on the rise. That’s what makes it a growing problem and a “hidden epidemic.”
      There are a few heartwarming stories, but they are few. The organizations I mention can take care of a relative handful of the hundreds of thousands on the street. Ali Forney Center helps about 1400 per year at ten sites. They are the largest. Lost N Found House in Atlanta holds 18 while there are an estimated 750 on Atlanta streets.
      You Tube Coming Out videos, a couple hundred thousand of them, and the It’s Get Better Project might encourage teens to speak up when they would have stayed in the closet in years past. Now, that encouragement might actually harm them, if they find right wing parents will throw them out instead of accept them. The willingness to speak up is new. The rise of hate by parents is new, perhaps because their teens are telling them something new. The right wing reactionaries are on the rise and pushing anti-gay legislation in states all across the nation. Meanwhile, more children are looking for a place to sleep tonight. Perhaps the park or under a viaduct will do.


      • Homelessness is a growing problem. Vets, kids runaways, gay kids, straight kids, girls, boys. People who used to have homes and lost them. Drug users. People with mental illness who used to be in hospitals and have been tossed out with the trash. Most people don’t see the homeless, the poor, the down and out. Maybe they live in a town like this one where there are no homeless people. We are so rural and it’s so cold in the winter, no one could survive here without shelter. Or they have become completely desensitized and blind to the problem. It’s like failing to acknowledge poverty. It is surrounded by an SEP field. (Remember Douglas Adams? He defined the Somebody Else’s Problem Field as invisible.) Most people do not see homeless people. ANY kind of homeless people. If they don’t see it, it isn’t there.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post and it is important to bring this out in the open. Everyone – not matter who they are – race, creed, gender are God’s children and this is just another form of abuse but in the name of God.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks, Rich. During my working years, I knew of many of these cases. It was difficult to get an okay to cover them but I did my best. The more light you shine, the better.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great post, we need a lot of enlightenment. What ever happened to unconditional positive regard? This is something everyone needs while growing up.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I watched the movie in disbelieve. Interesting how they know what God wanted, interesting and sad what people do in the name of God. My best friend was gay, his Mom could only see and talk to him behind her husbands back. That was in the 80’s, almost 40 years ago and it still hasn’t changed.

    Liked by 1 person

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