Category: LGBTQ

From Shame to Pride, Through Storytelling

America places a lot of value on a story. A good story can top the New York Times Best Seller List or rake in millions at the box office. A good story can change the world.

At the True Colors Fund, we hear a lot of stories – from young people who have experienced homelessness, from the service providers who work with them, and from supporters across the country who want to make a difference. To the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) community, an important form of storytelling is “coming out.” Living authentically in one's affirmed sexual orientation or gender identity often means sharing that story time and time again. And it isn’t always easy.

Coming out as LGBTQ shouldn’t be a shameful thing. But, to many, it is. Experiencing homelessness shouldn’t be a shameful thing. But, to many, it is.

LGBT Housing Discrimination is Real

One of the most heart-breaking experiences I had as a case manager was with a lesbian client who was invited, with her biological children, to stay at the family shelter where I worked. But because the faith-based shelter’s rules excluded same-sex couples, her female partner was not allowed to join them, even though they were, undeniably, a family unit. That family, understandably, elected to continue living in their car rather than being broken up.

June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride month, and we at the Alliance (and I personally, as a proud L) want to use our blog this month to highlight issues around LGBT housing and homelessness. A good place to start is the basics of the fight for fair housing: ensuring that everyone has equal access to housing opportunities, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

Could Shelter Policies Increase a Youth’s Vulnerability to Sexual Exploitation?

Last month, the Urban Institute released a report that examines the experiences of young Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) youth who have engaged in “survival sex” in New York City. Survival sex is a term frequently used to describe the exchange of sexual acts for money or goods that people require to live (e.g. food and shelter)

Of all the findings in this compelling report, “Surviving the Streets of New York,” one in particular should give homeless service providers pause: “Many [youth] … credited the instability and rules associated with emergency housing with driving them back to the street [and sexual exploitation].”

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