A safe, welcoming home is one of the most valued yet under-appreciated aspects of our daily lives. Yet, having a safe and warm home is not a reality for many. This is especially true of those within LGBTQ community. People identifying as part of the LGBTQ community experience homelessness at rates twice as much as heterosexual and cisgender folk. This is especially true for LGBTQ people of color.
Once experiencing homelessness, those in the LGBTQ community also face additional hardships related to stigmas and discrimination that are presents towards LGBTQ people. LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness report considering suicide at a rate twice the rate and attempt suicide at three times the rate of housing secure LGBTQ youth, even when controlling for related variables. This is especially concerning since LGBTQ youth are at alarming high rates of suicide compared to cisgender and heterosexual youth.
It is vital to understand that due to family rejection, it is often not possible for LGBTQ individuals to find safe and affirming housing with family members. LGBTQ individuals finding shelter elsewhere, such as on the streets or in shelters, often face harassment, stigmatization, and abuse due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. This is particularly true for the transgender community, who are sometimes forced into dangerous housing arrangements that do not align with or respect their gender identity.
Yet, providing housing for LGBTQ individuals goes beyond providing a shelter with four walls and a roof. It is critically important to provide those in the LGBTQ community with stable, safe, and nurturing housing. LGBTQ individuals are already at a disadvantage due to stigmas and discriminiation, and it is important that these stigmas do not extend into housing environments. Housing for LGBTQ youth must be inclusive and sensitive to the unique needs of the LGBTQ community. For example, if housing is assigned by gender, it should be based on gender identity or be all-gendered housing. Housing programs that serve with those within the LGBTQ community should promote age approproate development, offer connections to social services and support, and engage LGBTQ people in a positive and reaffirming social environment.
Providing those within the LGBTQ community with safe and stable housing goes beyond addressing homelessness. The wrap-around care associated with safe housing coupled with the protective factor that stable housing provides improves physical and mental health, decreases the chance of abusing substances, reduces reports of unprotected sexual intercourse, and helps to prevent involvement within the criminal justice system.
Given the vital importance of providing stable and supportive housing for the LGBTQ community, Transpire Help has made a mission to ensure every LGBTQ individual has a safe home, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation. If you need help in obtaining safe housing, we are available to help. Everybody deserves a safe place to go home to.