As a community that cares, we need to support LGBTQIA youth. They are often ignored but struggle the most. During the month of June, we need to recognize the correlation of Human Trafficking to homeless LGBTQIA youth. For decades kids who came out to their parents faced rejection and were forced to leave their homes. The harsh reality is that runaways are at the highest risk for Human Trafficking. When parents cannot accept their child’s sexual orientation and their communities have turned their backs on them, they leave. LGBTQIA youth are more than twice at risk of being homeless than their heterosexual peers.
An estimated 700,000 kids report homelessness each year. As these children have no adult in their lives, they become especially at risk for Human Trafficking. The Institute of Medicine found that homelessness is the largest risk factor for Human Trafficking. 27% of that number are LGBTQIA youth who have experienced Commercial Sexual Exploitation, and that’s just reported. These numbers are staggering and it’s important to keep in mind the way communities support the LGBTQIA youth plays a role.
LGBTQIA youth struggle with acceptance from themselves, their peers and their family. As their hormones begin to shift, their sexual orientation becomes clear and the struggle begins. The Trevor Project took a survey called the 2021 National Survey of LGBTQ Youth Mental Health. They found that 19.0% of LGBTQ youth ages 13–18 had attempted suicide in the past year.
Teach LGBTQIA Youth to Reach Out
These are only two contributing factors to their struggle. While it’s clear that support for LGBTQIA youth is needed, many of these kids do not reach out for help. They feel alone and isolated having been bullied and ostracized. The National Human Trafficking Hotline reports very few calls from victims themselves and more contact from people concerned about the victim.
That’s why we, along with other organizations like the Trevor Project, want these kids to know, help is there and they just need to reach out! Becoming part of the LGBTQIA youth communities can show them this is only a piece of their bigger picture and to hold on, there is a community waiting with open arms.
We have compiled a shortlist of incredible resources supporting LGBTQIA youth.
1. YWCA-MC is an ally to the LGBTQIA community and provides shelter and support services for Human Trafficking and Domestic Violence victims.
Crisis line: 1-831-372-6300 or +1-831-757-1001
2. The Trevor Project is focused specifically on LGBTQIA youth to help them navigate their challenges from suicide prevention to homelessness. They support LGBTQIA youth in a confidential manner with trained therapists. They provide the most comprehensive support we have seen and encourage LGBTQ+ youth to join that community for support.
Crisis Line: 1-866-488-7386
3. U.S. National Human Trafficking Hotline 1-888-373-7888
4.The GSA Network trans and queer youth uniting for racial and gender justice. They strive to unite LGBTQ + Youth and function as a support group and provide safety and confidentiality to students who are struggling with their identity as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, or questioning, as well as those who are experiencing harassment at school because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.
5. GLBT National Youth Talkline 800.246.PRIDE a safe community for LGBTQ+ youth with many opportunities to engage and get support.
Waive the pride flag high to show these kids we care about them and their future.
YWCA-MC is a non-profit that relies on donations. Please consider donating to YWCA-MC so we can continue to provide services to the most vulnerable in our community.
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