Like many of you, I woke up this morning unsure of what the next four years hold for our country. The emotions we are feeling – hurt, scared, shocked, angry, and sad – can be overwhelming, especially after such a long fought and divisive campaign that has marginalized and disenfranchised so many of us in this country, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning, and queer (LGBTQ) youth. But, what I am sure of is that all of us at the True Colors Fund will continue to wake up every day – and when we do, it will be with our unwavering commitment and dedication to ensure that LGBTQ youth at risk of or experiencing homelessness will have the help and support they need. While the outcome of this election may present further challenges to meet this goal, it doesn’t negate the work we do. Instead, it further validates the need to keep moving forward.
We have the opportunity now to focus on building empathy and understanding about the experiences of some of the most marginalized and vulnerable young people in this country. As you know, up to 40 percent of youth experiencing homelessness in America today are LGBTQ, yet only seven percent of the general youth population are LGBTQ. These young people are not solely defined by their sexual orientation or gender identity, they are also predominantly youth of color, living in poverty, undocumented, trafficked, involved in the foster care and juvenile justice systems – and the list goes on and on. Many of them feel disenfranchised and hurt by this election. Not only do we need to ensure that LGBTQ youth get the help they need, we have to make sure that they’re never made to feel ostracized again in our country, especially by those in positions of power.
The True Colors Fund has a responsibility and will continue to collaborate with others to move forward the important work to prevent and end youth homelessness in America. As we have done since our founding, we will push for innovative and proven solutions in Washington D.C., while continuing to seek common ground with those who have the power to help end this epidemic in America. Most importantly, we have to continue to center the voices of LGBTQ young people experiencing homelessness – to not only inform policymakers of the changes that must happen, but also to be part of the conversation for how to move forward.
Our co-founder Cyndi Lauper always says, “If we want an inclusive society, we need to include ourselves.” That means we have to all be a part of ensuring that our country lives up to the ideals upon which it was founded. All of us at the True Colors Fund will continue to include ourselves in creating a world in which young people can be their true selves. And we need you to continue to include yourself in our work to end LGBTQ youth homelessness. We invite you to tap into our shared humanity and help others build empathy for folks who might be different from them, so that we can create a better world for us all.
We have so much work to do. To start, here are some ways to include yourself in this important responsibility we share:
- Our True Inclusion Directory is a list of service providers from across the country who provide inclusive and affirming care for youth experiencing homelessness. It’s a great place to begin for those wanting to get involved in their community.
- Share this post on Twitter to show that you’re still committed to ending LGBTQ youth homelessness.
- Taking care of yourself is invaluable – especially in trying times. Don’t give up. Talk to someone you trust. Meditate. Eat your favorite food. Listen to your favorite music. Do whatever you need to do.
- If you are an LGBTQ young person in need of a safe and judgment-free place to talk, call the Trevor Lifeline now at 866-488-7386.