NYC commission gives recommendations on homeless LGBTQ youth

Last week New York City’s Comission on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Runaway and Homeless Youth delivered recommendations to Mayor Bloomberg. The commission was formed in October 2009 to come up with strategies for addressing homelessness among LGTBQ youth and the specific challenges they face.
Queer and transgender youth too often find themselves without family support because of their identities. They make up between 20 and 40 percent of homeless youth, a vastly disproportionate representation of these communities. These young people are especially vulnerable to violence, lack adequate health care, and experience high rates of incarceration, especially since many of them end up involved in sex work and become the targets of policing.
One of the commission’s recommendations, to increase the age limit in youth drop-in centers from 21 to 24, is already being carried out. I hope we will see swift action on other recommendations as well (the full report can be read in pdf form here).
The report’s release came at about the same time that the Ali Foster Center, a new homeless shelter for LGBT youth in Astoria, was targeted with homophobic graffiti. This hatred directed at homeless queer youth is a pretty clear demonstration of the need for action.
Queer and trans folks who face homelessness and the often related dangers of incarceration seldom have their needs talked about as part of the mainstream LGBT agenda. Homeless LGBT youth are experiencing some of the harshest impacts of homophobia and transphobia, so I’m glad to see New York City taking action. I continue to hope poverty, homelessness, and incarceration will become central issues for the national LGBT community, as they have such an extreme impact on so many in the queer and transgender folks.
There will be a rally in support of homeless LGBT youth this evening at 6:30 in Union Square.

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