LGBT Homeless Youth in Los Angeles
Sunday, March 18th – Friday, March 23rd
Leaders: Lelabari Giwa, Rodrigo Munoz, and Karen Krieb
According to the USC Center for Sustainable Cities, the LA region is thought to have the highest concentration of homeless people in the country and is considered the homelessness capital of the US. A 2010 study by the Center for American Progress shows that a disproportionate number of homeless youth (between 20-40%) identify as LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender). This is striking when considering only an estimated 10% of the general population is LGB, and even a lower percentage identify as trans. LGBT youth often face rejection from family and peers, which ultimately leads to rejection of the self and a feeling of disconnect from one's environment. It is clear that rejection of these youth is having devastating impacts on their sense of worth and their potential to be happy, healthy individuals later in life.
We hope to examine the causes of this rejection and how organizations are helping to eradicate those causes, gain insight into what exactly it means to be homeless and the challenges homeless youth in particular face, and learn about efforts to heal the wounds caused by societal rejection and ultimately get these youth off the streets. A few organizations we will work with include the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center, the Trevor Project, and the Los Angeles Youth Network. With each organization we partner with, we aim to engage in discussion with experts, but also with the youth they serve. In the spirit of civic engagement, this trip will have a heavy focus on service to supplement the educational components, allowing participants to interact with youth displaced because of their LGBT identification.