June is Pride Month!
During Pride month, SchoolHouse Connection urges our network to educate themselves and others about the intersection of youth homelessness and sexual orientation and gender identity. It is essential to take action to create safety and support for these students. We have prepared a special edition of our newsletter with specific strategies, updates, and resources. But first, here’s a message of PRIDE from SchoolHouse Connection.
Prevalence of Homelessness for LGBQ+ Youth
The latest CDC Youth Risk Behavior Survey data illustrates the devastating realities of our LGBQ+ youth experiencing homelessness. The prevalence of homelessness was approximately TWO TIMES higher for students who identify as LGBQ+ compared to heterosexual students, with 4.7% among lesbian or gay students, 4.2% among bisexual students, 4.0% among questioning students, and 2.6% among students who describe their sexual identity in some other way. While the 2021 national YRBS did not include a question assessing gender identity, the 2023 YRBS will include this question. An analysis of states and sites that asked a question about gender identity on the 2019 YRBS revealed that transgender students are OVER NINE TIMES more likely to experience homelessness than their peers.
Confronting Anti-LGBTQI+ Harassment in Schools
The U.S. Department of Education’s resource “Confronting Anti-LGBTQI+ Harassment in Schools” is a great foundation to ensure all teachers, school staff, students, and families are aware of what constitutes harassment. Whether you are a parent, student, educator, administrator, or passionate advocate for our LGBTQ+ children and youth experiencing homelessness, be sure to read, post, and distribute this two-pager with your peers!
Resources to Support Advocating for LGBTQ+ Students Experiencing Homelessness
We know that advocating for our LGBTQ+ students experiencing homelessness requires a toolkit of support. Here are ideas and resources for school district homeless liaisons, educators, school staff, and service providers when supporting our LGBTQ+ youth.
- GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network)
- Rainbow Library sends LGBTQ+ affirming texts to K12 schools for free
- Genders and Sexualities Alliances (GSAs) provide safe spaces within schools for all young people, particularly LGBTQ+ students.
- 10 Ways School Staff Can Support LGBTQ Youth Experiencing Homelessness (GLSEN)
- Educators, Inclusive Curriculum Can Help Your LGBTQ Homeless Youth (GLSEN)
- Working With Homeless LGBTQ Youth (Lambda Legal)
- Partner with local housing and LGBTQ+ community-based organizations to ensure that students have a safe network to support them.
- Respect the privacy of LGBTQ+ students experiencing homelessness. The decision of when or if to come out is theirs alone.
Teen Vogue: LGBTQ Students Face Barriers to Getting Student Loans Without Parents’ Participation” by Teen Vogue
No longer feeling safe with his parents threatening him because he was gay, Salvador left home for good in February of his senior year in high school. He started the year college-bound, but now faced barriers to pursuing financial aid without parental contact, begging the question: How can queer students who are disowned or kicked out of their homes when they come out pursue financial aid assistance on their own?
SHC Executive Director Barbara Duffield spoke with Teen Vogue about the current policies surrounding this reality for many students, helping college-bound students know their options, and educating financial aid administrators on the steps they can take to support youth experiencing homelessness.
Why LGBTQ+ PRIDE matters: A Chat with SHC Scholar Bug
We sat down with SHC Scholar Bug to talk about what pride means to them and how finding strength in their queer identity has helped them persevere through difficult experiences with homelessness.
“If people would just, you know, take a second to hear us out, the, the vast majority of the LGBTQ community just wants to feel safe where they live without having to hide parts of themselves. It, it really is just that simple. Especially for trans and non-binary people who don’t adhere to just male or female gender expression.”