Director’s Corner: A Safe Space for LGBTQ Youth
LGBTQ youth are at a much higher risk of homelessness than their heterosexual peers. While they make up only six percent of the general population, LGBTQ young people account for more than 40 percent of homeless youth.
Many of these young people are forced out of their homes due to conflicts surrounding their sexual and gender identity.
The challenges only increase once they’re on the street. Sex trafficking is a major concern for all young people, but LGBTQ youth are twice as likely to be trafficked compared to their peers (24% versus 12%). They are also three times more likely to engage in “survival sex,” trading sex for access to food, shelter, or other necessities. LGBTQ youth also report higher rates of being robbed, assaulted, or attempting suicide.
These young people face a scary and difficult road, but there’s hope.
When Stephen was 15 he was kicked out of his foster home because his foster father discovered he was dating a male classmate. He had heard about The Bridge, and came here hoping to find a safe place to stay. Our case workers welcomed him, affirmed his sexuality, and facilitated family counseling sessions. After a short time, he felt safe returning to his foster home.
Stephen has continued attending our weekly support group, where he can get to know other LGBTQ youth in a safe environment.
LGBTQ young people face unique challenges, so they need unique services. We offer the longest-running support group for LGBTQ teens in the Twin Cities, formed in 1992. Our staff are also trained in LGBTQ issues, and we offer a single bedroom for transgender youth who feel more comfortable not sharing a space.
At The Bridge, we believe that every young person deserves a safe and stable home environment. Help us provide that for LGBTQ youth by donating today.