The Rolling Stone report on Homeless Gay Teens is pretty good but even pretty good reports on this issue have a tendency to fall back on some lazy ass tropes that savvy writers and editors should be questioning using the information given in their own articles.
1) LGBT people should be responsible for LGBT homeless problem. Let’s do some math shall we? (I can’t believe I just said that). From the article
Highly religious parents are significantly more likely than their less-religious counterparts to reject their children for being gay – a finding that social-service workers believe goes a long way toward explaining why LGBT people make up roughly five percent of the youth population overall, but an estimated 40 percent of the homeless-youth population. The Center for American Progress has reported that there are between 320,000 and 400,000 homeless LGBT youths in the United States.
How many tax dollars do gay people contribute? What percentage of tax dollars comes back to our gay kids? We haven’t matured enough as a movement yet that we’re looking at the economics of things.
And I say all of this as a donor to the Ali Forney center. It’s my #1 charity as I came perilously close (several times) to needing a shelter in NY myself. I deeply respect Carl Siciliano’s work and the Ali Forney Center but…come on.
2) Being Religious Vs Liking Gay People. <– This is a false-ass dichotomy.
But it becomes so natural to vilify parents who’ve abdicated their duties or alienated their kids that it is often forgotten how very hard it can be to change one’s worldview in the face of deeply ingrained religious beliefs. “It’s easy to see kids as victims and parents as perpetrators,” says Caitlin Ryan of the Family Acceptance Project. “But most parents would not want to make a Sophie’s choice between their faith and their child. These are parents who have been given misinformation for years.”
3) LGBT Homelessness is solely an LGBT advocacy issue.
No. It’s a straight religious issue. If you are a religious organization then you have caused this issue, and you do not get to tell adult LGBT how to run our lives because many of us are survivors of your bullshit.
The face of the gay-rights movement shouldn’t be what I call ’40-year-old well-moisturized couples.’ The face of the gay-rights movement should be a 15-year-old kid that’s been thrown out of his house and taught that he’s a sinner.”
The U.S. government spends more than $5 billion annually on homeless-assistance programs, yet federal laws allocate less than five percent to homeless children and youth specifically (though some money also makes its way to them through more generalized programs under agencies like HUD and the Department of Labor). Most of the dedicated funds are allocated through the Runaway and Homeless Youth Act (RHYA), which expired last September.