“But the number-one hurdle to LGBT equality is religious­-based bigotry”

4 Sep

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.

The Williams Institute Review places the adult LGBT population in the States at around 3.8%. Now, an important note here, not every single LGBT person is an advocate, so the amount of advocacy in the LGBT population is going to be LESS THAN 3.8% So how in the hell is less than 3.8% of the total population going to be responsible for 40%  of homeless youth? The Rolling Stone article, displaying all this info, nevertheless quotes Carl Siciliano of the Ali Forney Center
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.
How does it make mathematical sense for less than 3.8% of the population to be responsible for 40% of homeless lgbt youth? Or to make us responsible for the mess caused by seemingly broken religious straight parents? Two myths are at work. One is gay affluence the other is the belief that “gays” are akin to an ethnicity that is responsible for each other. Our communities exist because of the general population’s haywire belief that Yahweh sent his super son to Earth to convince you all to abuse your own gay children. We are grouped out of political necessity, but in truth, we are your blood.


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.”
Talking about parents who abandon there children like this in “que sera sera” dulcet tones isn’t helping, especially when it contradicts the sheer brutality of the narratives experienced by gay kids in the first half of your article. What LGBT kids experience isn’t “abdication” it is abuse, call it what it is, then try and explain it away as an all sides are tragic. This paragraph is also plainly insulting to religious families who do not abuse or abandon their gay kids, and it’s just dropped on us with no explanation.
Also I’m sure Caitlin Ryan of the Family Acceptance Project is just thrilled that this is the only quote of hers that made it into the article (lol).


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.”
This is the only quote by Mitchell Gold in the whole article, but including it as the only quote makes it sound like the entirety of this issue is on the gay-rights movement. I somehow doubt that the head of organization that advocates for ending the harm of religion-based hate would want the totality of the work to be that quote, but here we are.
Overall the article presents a brutal and realistic narrative of kids being harmed by religious parents, but sticks some (seemingly) out of context quotes to present this issue as a tragedy on all sides. I’m sure many of the advocates thoughts are nuanced, but the quotes as presented don’t paint a nuanced picture.  A stronger article would have followed the logic in this paragraph:
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.


One Response to ““But the number-one hurdle to LGBT equality is religious­-based bigotry””


  1. Gay Marriage vs Gay Charity and Gay Everything Else | Meanhood - October 6, 2014

    […] gay marriage. I’ve talked about the issue of whether or not LGBT homelessness is an LGBT cause here and many of the issues above are wrapped up in other problems. When we talk about homelessness we […]

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