Each year, between 500,000 and 1.6 million youth in the U.S. are homeless or runaways. Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth make up an estimated 3% to 5% of the general U.S. population. Yet they make up more than 20%—and possibly up to 40%—of all homeless youth in the country.
Family conflict is the most common cause of all youth homelessness. For gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth, the conflict tends to be over their sexual orientation or gender identity. Half of all teens get a negative reaction from their parents when they come out to them resulting in many of them running away. More than 1 in 4 are actually thrown out of their homes by their parents.
“As a parent, I can’t understand those who would kick out their own kid simply because they are gay or transgender,” says Cyndi Lauper. “Your child is a part of you, throwing them out on the street is like ripping out a part of your own soul. No child should ever be homeless, especially when they have a family that can give them the love and acceptance that they need. It’s time all of us parents join together and let our kids know that their home is always a safe place for them no matter what.”
Once living on the streets, gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth have to learn to survive amidst a higher rate of victimization and suicide that awaits them. They also have to deal with greater difficulties in finding resources that are willing or able to help them due to their sexual orientation or gender identity, sometimes facing further rejection from the very people and institutions that are supposed to assist them.
To learn more about this gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender homeless youth, please visit www.wegiveadamn.org.
The Give a Damn Campaign, a project of Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors Fund, is a bold, web-based initiative with the goal of educating and engaging the straight community in the advancement of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. The campaign produces call-to-action videos that have featured Elton John, Whoopi Goldberg, Susan Sarandon, Ricky Martin, Jason Mraz, Anna Paquin, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Alan Cumming, Cynthia Nixon, Lily Tomlin, Pete Wentz, Piper Perabo, Sharon & Kelly Osbourne, Judith Light, Rebecca Romijn, Wanda Sykes, Margaret Cho, Mae Whitman, Kim Kardashian, Clay Aiken, Eric Roberts, and Cyndi Lauper.