Throughout the year, different community members take center stage each month. We highlight or bring awareness to the array of cultures, backgrounds, ethnicities, and all things that make us unique. Bringing awareness to what makes us unique and special may increase our sensitivity, kindness, and respect. Furthermore, we hope that this article sheds light on our LGBTQ+ neighbors to provide a medium to initiate candid conversations across our overall community. Despite an increase in allies, LGBTQ+ community members still have a long way to achieve equity.
With LGBTQ+ you making up 40% of todays’ youth homelessness population, teen homelessness is one of the most significant issues persistent with our LGBTQ+ neighbors. The massive housing instability is also worsened as it relates to black and brown LGBTQ+ youth. The homelessness crisis then leaves these individuals predisposed to physical harm, severe discrimination, and even trafficking. Despite an increase in awareness that produces allies for our neighbors, members of the LGBTQ+ community, unfortunately, still face conflicts and acceptance due to beliefs influenced by faith, culture, background, and societal norms. Additionally, predisposed biases cause some family members to struggle to accept that a loved one identifies as an LGBTQ+ community member. These struggles, barriers, and obstacles often prevent families and children from receiving basic needs, such as housing, therefore contributing to homelessness amongst this community.
Often we believe we are powerless in creating long-term changes within our communities. However, we can all play a part in eradicating the stigmas and stereotypes that increase homelessness rates within the LGBTQ+, with small, simple, yet mighty acts. To stop the crisis at its core, it is important to advocate for policy adjustment as it relates to resources for existing homeless LGBTQ+. Providing access to housing and other necessary resources for displaced youth will also alleviate issues once they have ensued. Finally, education will always play a vital role in proper awareness to break barriers that prevent us from living and working together.
First and foremost, it is important to identify personal factors that play a role in causing a divide between any two persons. It may often be difficult to admit, but we each have predispositions have challenge how we see, feel and interact with one another. These predispositions cause us to judge or buy into stereotypes, with little to no understanding of a person or their individual needs. Once we learn to honestly self-identify these predispositions, perhaps, we may begin to elevate our education by thoroughly listening to those within vulnerable communities that are hurting, such as our LGBTQ+ neighbors. At large, our society believes in advocating for gender education; however, our founder says that if we simply take a moment to see and listen to a person, then we can treat them with the respect they deserve. When we begin to treat a person with respect, grace, and love. She says we must start to listen to hear and not listen to speak or object or personal views about someone else’s journey. By listening to hear, we gain an understanding of not just how we can become better neighbors and allies, but more importantly, why we are needed to stand together.
This month we introduced some key areas impacting our LGBTQ+ neighbors as we begin to head down the end stretch of June (awareness) month.
Let’s amplify the voices of the LGBTQ+ persons in our communities to help their stories reach the masses. We hope this may have sparked you to realize that you can be a change maker where you are.
Are you ready, change maker, to create social change?!