LGBT youth represent as much as 40% of the homeless youth. Often they run away from home because of family rejection and then face rampant discrimination when seeking alternative housing. LGBT homeless youth suffer higher rates of abuse and victimization, and engage in risky behavior at alarming rates – often for survival.
New York City’s Ali Forney Center provides resources these kids can't safely get in other locations. AFC offers housing to homeless LGBT youth, as well as a drop-in center, which offered food, showers, clothing, medical care, HIV testing and treatment, and mental health and substance abuse services. The drop-in center was dedicated to serving the most vulnerable kids, and provided life-saving services for homeless LGBT youth.
Following Hurricane Sandy, the Ali Forney drop-in center in Chelsea was destroyed by flood waters from the Hudson River. They lost everything, from computers and office equipment to their refrigerator and food. They also lost their physical space.
Many suffered loss as a result of the hurricane. This is not a matter of losing one space, however; this loss impacts a varying number of people who desperately need the services AFC provides. The loss affects homeless youth immediately, but also impacts those who may need its services in the future.
On December 1, 2012, I will be running around the perimeter of Manhattan - approximately 32 miles (just over 50k) - to raise money and awareness for the Ali Forney Center and LGBT homeless youth.
This is a cause close to my heart. I was fortunate enough to experience my first dose of serious rejection because I am trans later in life, when I was independent and financially stable. I have a good support network around me to help me navigate the confusion of being rejected unexpectedly because of my identity. But it still hurts – I do not understand it and I did not at all see it coming. I know that if this happened earlier in my life, I may be someone who used the resources offered by AFC.
It is the responsibility of the community to look out for our youth. On December 1, I will run to help Ali Forney’s drop-in center get back on its feet. In a time when everyone is asking for help, giving can be difficult. For me, seeing a younger version of myself or someone I know unable to access the support and care they need to survive makes this an easy cause to support. Please join me in taking care of homeless LGBT youth by donating if you can (all donations are tax deductible as charitable donation).
Please consider donating:
$50 - one dollar per kilometer I will run that day
$32 - on dollar per mile I will run that day
$12 - one dollar per month in the year
$4.50 - the cost of one fancy coffee
Every dollar makes a difference.
And if you know of any corporations that may match funds, please let me know.