Kicked Out: Homelessness and LGBTQ Youth

Another common traumatic experience for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people is rejection by family, friends and community due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. For LGBTQ youth,  the threat or actuality of being kicked out by their families because of who they are exposes them to a number of other dangers and may engender feelings of isolation and despair, which in turn can also contribute to suicidal behavior.  The foster care system, group homes and shelters may also discriminate against or provide unsafe environments for LGBTQ youth. Homelessness of course poses other risks.

This issue is explored in Kicked Out, an anthology that has collected the stories of current and former homeless LGBTQ (the Q stands for queer) youth. Edited by Sasafrass Lowery and published by Homofactus Press, these stories give us insight into the high cost of homophobia and transphobia. LGBTQ youth from around the world who were forced to leave home as minors as a result of their sexuality and/or gender identity share their stories. These are stories of  trauma, pain and struggle, but also of survival, overcoming and the power of creating families of choice.

The following statistics from the Kicked Out Anthology website may give you a sense of the severity of this issue. I know the stories definitely will.

*40% of homeless youth in the United States identify as LGBTQ

-The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force: “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth: An Epidemic of Homelessness.”

*50% of LGBTQ youth experience a negative reaction when coming out to their parents

- The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force: “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth An Epidemic of Homelessness.”

*26% of LGBTQ youth were kicked out of their homes when they came out (that’s over 1/4th of LGBTQ youth)

- The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force: “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth: An Epidemic of Homelessness.”

*LGBTQ youth are 7 times more likely to be victims of crime than their heterosexual peers

- The National Runaway Switchboard

*LGBTQ youth are three times more likely to participate in survival sex

-The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force: “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth: An Epidemic of Homelessness.”

*78% of LGBTQ youth were removed from or ran away from foster care placements because they were un-welcoming or hostile towards their sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

-Urban Justice League ‘Justice for All’

*100% of LGBTQ youth in NYC Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) custody reported that they were verbally harassed in the group home because of their sexual orientation.

-Urban Justice ‘Justice for All’

*70% of LGBTQ youth in NYC ACS custody reported that they were victims of physical violence because of their sexual orientation.

- Urban Justice League ‘Justice for All’

*50% of national youth serving organizations reporting that they do not have services or resources to educate youth on LGBT issues or to support LGBT youth

-Advocates for Youth ‘survey and needs assessment of youth serving organizations capacity for working with sexual minority youth’


Kathleen Young, Psy.D.

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9 Responses to Kicked Out: Homelessness and LGBTQ Youth

  1. katie says:

    another great post. thank you so much for writing about this. i’ve known a number of people who have suffered immensely from being rejected and abused by their family for being gay.

    your work is very important. thank you for speaking out and helping to raise awareness for what the lgbt population go through.

  2. Sharon S says:

    Thank you for posting this! I totally see that so many LGBT people still have to deal with the issues you listed, however, I was surprised at the high percentages. Seems so 1980′s…This really saddens me.
    I will never understand a family kicking out their child solely due to their sexual orientation..26% is HIGH! As far as we have come in society with accepting the LGBT population, so much more education and understanding is needed. No one likes to be a victim or feel “less than” just because they happen to love someone of the same-sex or feel trapped in a body of a different sex.

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  5. Rick H says:

    As someone who had to deal with this growing up and coming out at 14 thank you for your post. The recent increase in media attention about bullying and suicide opened many old wounds for me and I started doing some google searches about LGBT youth and homelessness. I only found one drop in center so far and that was with Howard Brown. I really want to get involved more but don’t see many places that offer services in Chicago… Suggestions?

    Thank you for your time.

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