The September/October issue of Sojourners Magazine features an advertisement that stands out from the usual assortment of ads for religiously affiliated universities and poverty-alleviating organizations. This ad, sponsored by GLAAD and the Ali Forney Center, addresses the issue of homelessness among LGBT youth. The ad was placed in the wake of criticism over Sojourners’ rejection of another advertisement, this one submitted by Believe Out Loud, supporting congregational welcome. In addition to running the ad submitted by GLAAD and the Ali Forney Center, Sojourners committed to running a series of blog posts about youth homelessness, including its impact on the LGBT community. The most recent piece, posted on September 6, features an interview with Carl Siciliano, the founder and president of the Ali Forney Center.
During his conversation with Evan Trowbridge, Siciliano highlights the differences between homeless LGBT and straight youth, as well as the differences he has seen in working with both adults and young people. He says that young people who are homeless seem to have less of a sense of hopelessness than adults, but homeless LGBT youth in particular are far more vulnerable. They are more likely to have been subject to abuse both at home, which may have led to them becoming homeless, and on the streets, and nearly two-thirds of homeless LGBT youth have considered or attempted suicide. Many of the young people Siciliano has encountered were kicked out of their homes because their parents’ religion had led them to believe that being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender was a sin or even an abomination. Siciliano, however, argues that, for the few negative mentions of “homosexuality” in the Christian Bible, “there [are] a thousand-fold more about love, about the image of God as a loving parent who would never turn his back on his children, who would always forgive, who would always accept” his children as they were.
GLAAD applauds Sojourners for continuing to address the serious issue of youth homelessness and its impact on LGBT youth. We look forward to seeing the upcoming blog posts on the Sojourners website addressing youth homelessness. And as always, we commend Carl Siciliano for the wonderful and important work he does on behalf of homeless LGBT youth.