Amsterdam News Sheds Light On New York's LGBT Homeless Youth

The Amsterdam News, New York City’s oldest and largest Black newspaper, recently ran an op-ed focusing on the conditions faced by LGBT homeless youth in New York City. In “Opening Our Homes and Hearts to Our Homeless Youth,” Dr. Wilhelmina Perry, convener of the LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent, which supports pro-LGBT leaders and congregations in New York City, recalled how an encounter with a gay homeless young man made her professional work with youth deeply personal.

“It was not only the stories of these youth that touched me,” Dr. Perry wrote. “The statistics of how many lived on the streets shattered my own sense of well-being.”

Citing research from various studies, Dr. Perry pointed out that roughly 3,800 homeless young people are on the streets in New York on any given night. The Department of Youth and Community Services' study on youth in crisis shelters found that 58 percent of the youth identified as Black and 24 percent identified as Hispanic. More than 40 percent of the estimated 3,800 to 4,000 are believed to be and/or identify themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or questioning.

“These youth belong to all of us,” Dr. Perry added. “They are our responsibility.”

GLAAD worked closely with Dr. Wilhelmina Perry and LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent to raise awareness around the number of young people left homeless, many due to rejection from their families.

Join LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent and other inspiring leaders at the Clergy Breakfast and Briefing on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 9-11 a.m., 57 Bethune St. This interfaith gathering of clergy will introduce you to the real lives and real stories of homeless youth and their advocates. They will equip you and your community to learn more and to take action.