Through my class I was introduced to the Rolling Stones article about homeless LGBT youth who have been kicked out by their religious parents for being who they are and coming out. The article shared a few people’s experiences about coming out to their families, living on the streets, finding shelter, and trying to get their life together on their own.
I was shocked to find out that LGBT youth made up forty percent of the homeless youth in the United States. Unfortunately, one of the biggest contributing factors to this percentage is intolerant families who side with their religious beliefs. More and more LGBT teens are coming out to their parents on whom they rely on for financial support. They risk losing that stability in return for being honest with their families and in hopes of being accepted, but a lot of the times that may that be the case. I personally grew up in a religious family with some very devoted people. Even though my family’s religion condemns homosexuality, I have never heard or seen anyone express any disapproval towards the LGBT community. As a matter of fact my family members support gay rights and the LGBT community. Religion is supposed to serve as a guide to be a better person. In my eyes, not everything in religion is meant to be followed exactly, one has to use his/her own judgement to decide what is right and what is wrong to follow.
Besides the fact that religion needs to sort out its priorities, the country needs to work on programs that provide shelter for LGBT youth. There are not many shelters with lots of housing space to begin with so a large amount of resources need to be allocated to building safe spaces for homeless LGBT youth. This is extremely important, because these young people start off the chapter of their lives as open LGBT members on the streets. They need to be surrounded by people who are accepting and supportive, ones that they will not get harassed by. It is equally essential to establish more programs that will help the homeless youth to finish their education or move on to higher education. Such programs also need to offer job training, assistance with permanent living situations, access to healthcare, and availability to speak with professionals. Without the right support, many of these people end up getting into trouble. Homeless LGBT youth should be given the opportunity to be able to make it on their own.