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.”
In the fall of 2014 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.
In September 2014 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
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