Today, Cyndi Lauper launched the Forty To None Project to address the inordinately high rate of homelessness among LGBT youth. Studies estimate that there are more than 1.6 million homeless kids between the ages of 12 and 17, and as many as 40 percent of that group identify as LGBT. This is largely due to the family rejection or abuse they experience when they come out as gay, bi, or trans. Lauper hopes to educate the public to help reduce the rejection and ensure these young people’s futures:
Homelessness knows nothing of age or race or gender. It can happen to anybody. But when statistics show that as many as 40% of the nation’s homeless youth are gay or transgender, compared to 3–5% of the overall youth population, we have to acknowledge that we’re facing a crisis. The disparity suggests that gay and transgender youth stand a much higher chance of becoming homeless because of abuse, neglect and familial rejection due to sexual orientation or gender identity that drive them to the streets.The kids on the Christopher Street Pier that day, and the other gay and transgender youth living on the streets who make up the 40% have done nothing wrong, other than being born the way they were supposed to be. And because of who they are, these kids have been forced to leave their homes, subjected to abuse or worse.[…]
In our first five years, Forty to None will work to drive down the number of gay and transgender youth on the streets through a campaign that includes: education and awareness to raise the visibility of these young people and the direct service providers who work with them; advocacy at the state and federal levels; strengthening the network of services, advocates, community leaders and others working on the issue; training service providers to be more inclusive and understanding of the issues specifically affecting these kids; and empowering homeless gay and transgender youth themselves with valuable resources and information.
Watch a PSA for the new campaign:
Check out this infographic on LGBT Youth homelessness.