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article imageStudy says quarter of American gay high school teens are homeless

By Andrew John     Jul 24, 2011 in Lifestyle
Research shows that as many as a quarter of gay high school students in the United States are homeless. The same study shows that up to 15 percent of bisexuals are homeless, too. This compares with 3 percent for straight kids.
It’s likely that gay teens are more likely to be mistreated by their families, says the study by Heather Corliss and others of Children’s Hospital, Boston, MA.
The findings were based on data from Massachusetts because it was the first state to ask in its Youth Risk Behavior Surveys where young people slept at night.
“Teens with a sexual minority orientation are more likely than heterosexual teens to be unaccompanied and homeless rather than part of a homeless family,” says Corliss on UPI.com.
Data from 2005 to 2007 was analyzed and has been published online in the American Journal of Public Health. There were 6,317 young people in the survey who gave full information about their sexual orientation and whether they were homeless. While fewer than 5 percent identified as gay or bisexual, “they accounted for 19 percent of those who identified themselves as homeless,” says the UPI.com report.
Mistreated, rejected
Corliss says the figures show that gay teens “may be more likely to be mistreated or rejected by their families and more likely to leave home.”
Susan McDowell, executive director of a nonprofit organization in Austin, TX, that helps homeless young people, says she isn’t surprised by the figures.
Her organization, LifeWorks, frequently sees “gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth who are in homeless or very fragile situations. Unfortunately, many youth who come out, don’t come out in supportive environments.
“Maybe their families don’t understand or they don’t have the community systems of support that will support them so they do end up homeless, and they need a great deal of support,” McDowell told KUT News.
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