NJ Conference spotlights struggles of N.J.'s homeless LGBT youth
Before Janelle turned 15, she was suspended from school, thrown out of her house by her parents, ran away from her foster home, and got arrested for shoplifting. The trajectory of this child’s troubled life is becoming more familiar to social workers like Jacquelyn Warr-Williams of Camden County who treated Janelle — a transgender child. "This may seem like an extreme case, but it is common," Warr-Williams said. "Kids are coming out earlier." Across the nation, at least 20 percent of homeless youth and 15 percent of those in juvenile detention centers are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. One in three children were thrown out of their homes after coming out to their parents. "So many of these kids are throwaway kids...thrown out of their homes and rejected by their families," said Robyn Gigl, who chairs the New Jersey State Bar Association’s Gay Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Rights Section, which co-sponsored the first conference on the issue Thursday in New Brunswick.