Homophobia, biphobia and transphobia within families and within communities drives thousands of young people into homelessness. In the US, studies show that LGBTQ+ youths make up 40% of the nation’s total homeless youth population, despite LGBTQ+ youth comprising merely 5% of the overall youth population. In the UK, it is estimated that one in four trans people have experienced homelessness. This is an international phenomenon, and one which has been greatly exacerbated by the pandemic.
While recent years have seen more awareness of the crisis, our collective response has fallen drastically short. There is an urgent need for further research and action to support LGBTQ+ homeless youth populations across the world and to respond to the problems the pandemic has heightened. So how can we do better at protecting young people driven from their homes because of their sexual orientations and gender identities?
We can start by supporting the organizations that provide housing to LGBTQ+ youth. We need to be advocates, urging policy makers to fund housing initiatives, and prioritize homeless LGBTQ+ youths in their agendas. And we need to address the rejection and hostility that LGBTQ+ people face that can force them from their homes. We can and should do better to address this crisis.