“Very Often, LGBT Teens Have No Concept that Their Life Can Be Good”

LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness raise awareness about their struggles. Image from Instinct Magazine.
LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness raise awareness about their struggles. Image from Instinct Magazine.
As many as 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ, and oftentimes they end up trapped in a cycle of abuse, poverty, and street life that lasts well into adulthood. Guest blogger Sarah Bartlett illuminates some of the struggles with poverty and homelessness that many members of the LGBTQ community experience.

Culture Watch: “My So-Called Life” and, like, the homeless teens Christmas episode

Looking to supplement your usual go-to holiday movies with something different this year? Catherine Hinrichsen from Seattle University’s Project on Family Homelessness takes us back to the mid 90's and her favorite Christmas episode of any show ever: the "So-Called Angels” episode of “My So-Called Life.” This powerful episode takes us on a journey contrasting a middle-class family’s Christmas splendor with the harsh life of teens living in homelessness. And as Catherine discovers, the fictional story actually mirrors the real life story of a key actor, making the message even more poignant. 

Stand Against Racism: What Now?

In our final Stand Against Racism post, Nanyonjo, our YWCA Seattle I King I Snohomish Americorps volunteer, reflects on her own healing process as a survivor of sexual violence. She found support in her community of friends and two organizations that gave her the tools to understand the importance of personal and community accountability. In Nanyonjo's words, "It is a continuous process to be an ally to a survivor, not an end goal. In order for the process of justice to begin, we must examine the way our own communities further rape culture, victim blaming, and the silencing of survivors." Unfortunately not all survivors of violence receive the same support which too often leads to instability and homelessness. Nan calls us to examine how systems of privilege and oppression shape our everyday lives and work towards a world without domestic and sexual violence.

Stand Against Racism: LGBTQ Community Faces Institutionalized Discrimination

With its expansion and renewal earlier this year, the Violence Against Women Act made an important step in ensuring that its protections and services fully include and extend to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. But changes in the law won't instantly end discrimination against LGBTQ community members and create access to services they need. As YWCA Walla Walla Communications Coordinator Sara Rasmussen points out in this third installment of our Stand Against Racism blog series, we need to continue to shift the cultures of law enforcement, service providers and shelters, amongst staff as well as those they serve, in order to protect and better meet the needs of the LGBTQ community.

Participating & Proud: The Summary

When YWCA staff approached me asking if Firesteel could help raise awareness of their participation in the 38th Annual Pride Parade in Seattle, I said, "Sure! How can we connect this to housing and homelessness?" One Family Advocate, Nora, stepped forward and offered to write not one, but 5 blog posts related to housing challenges facing the LGBTQ community and the importance of YWCA participation in the Pride Parade. Thank you Nora! Because of her thoughtful writing and time, we have the following blog posts, compiled here for easy reference. 

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