The 40 of the 40 list provides a platform for the 40% of youth experiencing homelessness who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning (LGBTQ). Youth are the experts of their own truths, and we aim to honor their voices and their stories. Our goal is to inspire hope and help reduce the stigma often associated with housing instability and homelessness.
The young people on the 40 of the 40 list were nominated by homeless youth service providers, social workers, educators, and other folks from across the country. The list highlights 40 LGBTQ youth who have experiences with homelessness and provides them opportunities to be engaged in our work nationally and within their home communities. Youth featured on the 40 of the 40 have become spokespeople for their communities by representing them in local and national forums and contributing to publications from leading national organizations.
"I'm proud to create, share laughs and knowledge with people. I'm proud of who I am an awkward introvert with extrovert ability."
"I strongly believe that representation is important when we talk about different issues that LGBTQ youth may experience."
"I want to show folks that homelessness, or abuse is not all there is to life and that there are those of us who have lived trauma but developed our truths from the lessons we have learned because of them."
"[Being a 40 of the 40 Honoree] means putting action behind the redundant statement, 'we need to do something...'"
Little Rock, AR
"[I want to] inspire young gay, lesbian, and bisexuals to live right, come to community comfortably."
"We, as a community, a nation, and a world need to take care of each other indiscriminately and unconditionally."
Las Vegas, NV
"My biggest dream is to live in a world where this work is not necessary, where the most marginalized people can live without fear of violence. My biggest dream is that one day, we can all rest our bones."
Salt Lake City, UT
"I strive to help others understand experiences and the effects that policy has on our people."
"I would like to be a leader in the community to help it grow and to help my peers recognize the importance of individuality and to help foster acceptance from the larger community."
"I want to share my story and experiences with being homeless and trying to survive on my own. I would like to encourage others who are/have been through the same situation as me and to let them know that it gets better even if you came from nothing, if you put in the work you can build your own future."
New Orleans, LA
"My biggest dream is for all that walk on this Earth to live their life happily. To be themselves and not have to worry about any judgement or hate."
San Francisco, CA
"Many people will look at homeless folks as if they're less than human, and don't deserve space or resources. This stems from classist notions we are taught to hate and fear poor people. So to combat this, unlearning internalized bigotry towards poor people is a start."
"Our special community is not a curse, it's a blessing."
San Fernando Valley, CA
"I believe that awareness is a key factor in ending LGBTQ youth homelessness. People need to see the amount of LGBTQ homeless youth there are and why they are homeless. I believe not enough people realize just how much the youth have to endure."
San Francisco, CA
"Being a 40 of the 40 honoree, means holding space for other queer, non-binary, Latinx and showing them that we are capable of overcoming obstacles and deserve to be at the table. It would mean honoring all those that have experienced trauma, stress and shame while being LGBTQ and homeless. It would mean honoring all of us."
"I find hope in everything, because hope is motivation to keep moving forward, and moving forward means survival."
Jaleel Kameron Carter
"When I wake up in the morning I honestly think how my situation could be or has been worse. That one thought gives me something to smile about."
"I want my voice to be heard. I want to help bring change. As a person of color who is queer and trans and who was homeless, I want to show others like me that they're not alone, they matter, and I know life may seem hard right now but you're gonna be okay."
"Being a 40 of the 40 honoree allows me to seize and assemble the pieces of events that happened at me, and construct a narrative that belongs to me. Feeling ownership of myself within my experiences is cathartic and so vital on its own."
"I hope to continue to advocate for youth homelessness just on a more national level."
"This opportunity will only push me further on my path in doing my part in changing the world."
New York, NY
"Being a 40 of the 40 honoree means acknowledgement, visibility and achievement for me. Coming from multiple experiences of youth homelessness, poverty and disenfranchisement I recognize that being honored is an exception and not the rule."
"I want to help show that homeless queer youth, hell queer youth in general, are fighters."
"Graduating high school was one of the most difficult tasks I ever had due to being homeless and not having the supples I needed. I'm proud that I graduated and was able to go to college."
"I would hope to be empowered to advocate for LGBTQ youth and the adversities we face as it relates to housing, mental health, HIV/AIDS, etc."
Marcel Rayshaun Goudeaux-Stanley
"Visibility through being an honoree could help other young people who might have a similar background as I do. Seeing someone who looks like you and hearing their story could be encouraging and motivational."
Michael Monşujh Bolwaire
"We are all gifted in our own way, we are blessed in our own remarkable way. And once we embrace what is gifted inside of us we will flourish and blaze beyond the heavens like a ignited phoenix."
St. Paul, MN
"We deserve to feel safe, we deserve to have a place that we feel comfortable enough to access resources, it is our right to be equally resourced and represented."
San Francisco, CA
"[Being a 40 of the 40 honoree] means accepting my whole self, and standing proud, and advocating for Latinx, queer, immigrants and any other intersectionalities that apply to me."
"My biggest dream is for young, queer people of color to recognize their raw power and use it to decimate margins."
West Park, FL
"I'm proud of not giving up on myself I'm always looking back where I came from and looking forward to where I'm headed."
"Being a 40 of the 40 honoree for me marks a period in my life where I have overcome so many trials and tribulations, and reminds me that I have so much more to accomplish!"
"We need to reform the rapid rehousing and permanent supportive housing systems to better address the unique problems and concerns of homeless youth."
Los Angeles, CA
"As a 2017 40 of the 40 Honoree, I aspire to empower the leadership development of young people, shift disparities impacting LGBTQ+ young people, specifically Transgender and Non-Binary young people of color through transformative and restorative advocacy, and foster the wellness and longevity of the next generation of young people within our intersectional and intergenerational movements in our collective thrive towards liberation."
New York, NY
"Being formerly homeless and an immigrant limited to any public benefit for sustainability, I have harshly grasped that reality and that struggle. However, I didn't let these series of unfortunate events define and measure my capabilities."
"In my community, being a openly gay black man is not celebrated, instead it is ridiculed and stigmatized. Being a part of such a prestigious organization gives me the confidence to take pride in myself, my experiences, and my community."
"Being a 40 of the 40 honoree is more than just an award or national recognition. Being an honoree means that I now have a platform to make a difference within the LGBTQ+ community. I can use my voice and my experience to help implement change and lower the numbers of LGBTQ+ youth in the homeless population."
"I'm just proud to finally be somewhere that I can come and lay my head at night."
Los Angeles, CA
"I want to be one of the people to make major impact on this world. I may not claim this world as my own, but other people do, and we ALL have to live in it one way or another."
New Orleans, LA
"I feel like a new perspective that really focuses on the roots of these issues: poverty, homophobia, transphobia, oppression, discrimination could be addressed if we were not so distracted by an illusory dream of being seen the same way our heterosexual counterparts are in modern politics."