LGBTQ Youth and Urban Peak
At Urban Peak, we provide facilities and services on a nondiscriminatory basis and are committed to fostering a safe and welcoming environment for every person that walks through our doors.
We recognize that there are additional barriers that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth must face. According to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, between 20% and 40% of the estimated 1.6 million homeless youth in America identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.
There are many contributing factors to LGBTQ youth homelessness.Reseach on LGBTQ homeless youth shows that 26% of gay male youth were forced to leave home because of conflicts with family members over sexual orientation and 31% of men and 29% of women reported experiencing harassment or physical violence from family members on the basis of their sexual orientation. Furthermore, 28% of lesbian, gay and bisexual youth drop out of school because of verbal or physical harassment by other student and 93% hear other youth at school or in their neighborhood use slurs like fag, homo, dyke, queer or gay at least once in a while, with 51% hearing them every day.
LGBTQ youth also face big challenges in school versus their heterosexual counterparts. 42% ( v. 21%) have been bullied or threatened or injured with a weapon at school (22% v. 5%), 15% (v. 4%) have skipped school because they felt unsafe, and 32% (v. 7%) report a suicide attempt of other students.
In addition, LGBTQ youth are physically or sexually victimized on average by seven more people and leave home an average of 12 times as compared to seven times for non-LGBTQ youth.
Urban Peak provides a safe community and services specifically for LGBTQ youth on the streets. We create LGBTQ-friendly spaces within our facilities. We have a specialized LGBTQ Case Manager on staff. We have a policy for an inclusive transgender dorm and shelter. And all of our staff receives LGBTQ Competency Training so that they can understand and manage situations that may arise for youth facing these challenges.
We also have several service provider partners in the community who work with us daily to help these youth, including Rainbow Alley, Branching Seedz of Resistance, It Takes a Village, and many student organizations. We work with natinoal entities like PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), GSA (Gay Straight Alliance), GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education network), and the Make it Better Project.
On March 31, our staff and youth will present a panel discussion at the Colorado Queer Youth Summit 2012 on the Auraria Campus (www.coqueeryouthsummit.com).
Urban Peak youth enjoying the Queer Youth Prom in 2011.