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Saturday, November 17, 2007

Gay Teens - 42% of Homeless Teenagers

Between 1.3 and 2.8 million runaway and homeless youth live on the streets of America each year. A disturbing fact about this group is that at least 42% of homeless youth are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), a disproportionately high number when one considers that only 3 to 5% of the U.S. population identifies as LGBT. How is that possible? Unfortunately, most of these teens report a higher incident rate of having had experienced child molestation as well as adults and peers around them who have been abusive and unaccepting.

At school, kids with any hint of gay characteristics (straight or gay) get harassed and bullied by their peers, and even by teachers and other staff members. 50% of kids who speak openly with their parents are met with alienation and negative consequences, such as being punished, ignored, mourned, insulted or physically abused. One homeless girl reported being threatened with a gun by her father to change, and another girl was raped by a family "friend" who wanted to "straighten” her out.

But out on the streets, things are not much better. Many kids report that, when bullied by other kids in teen shelters - staff members just looked away. Unfortunately even some faith-based shelters flee from Christ’s message of mercy and compassion by unabashedly not admitting kids that are gay. It is safe to say that these kids are both rejected and despised. Who does that sound like?

As Christians we have a responsibility to caringly protect and support all young people. It is never considered merciful to turn one's head when a child or teenager is being bullied or harassed by peers. It is never compassionate to force a child or teen to leave their school, youth group, church, or especially their own home, because of their sexual orientation. Regardless of how an individual feels about the issue of homosexuality, every kid... and every person, for that matter... should be treated empathetically with Christ’s compassion.

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More on the Internet:

http://www.zimbio.com/

3 comments:

Raby Savage said...

It's no wonder many of our teenagers in America have lost hope about the future when we (as adults) do not show them compassion through all the changes, pain (emotional, mental, physical), peer pressure, etc. they go through.

As a former nanny, I realize some of the mistakes I made with the 6 kids (in a merged family)I had the privilege of learning from. I was not always compassionate--I think I focused too much on discipline not enough on just listening.

Anonymous said...

R.S., yes, listening and just "being" with those who are broken, lost and lonely is a sign of love that brings them home to conversion. It is counter intuitive. Most of us try to talk, discipline and fix people. God on the other hand is pure "Being." His love is always steadfast just waiting for us. Thanks be to God he is like that and not like us – otherwise all of us would be in deep trouble without His steadfast love.

CECIL B DEMENTED said...

I never thought about this.
It makes so much sense. Poor children.
Adapt to survive by no choice..