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Homelessness  [message #68368] Mon, 10 March 2014 23:13 Go to next message
Pedro   United Kingdom

Toe is in the water

Registered: March 2014
Messages: 67



There are quite a numbers of stories 'out there' where a character is made homeless by being thrown out of the parents home, often as a reaction to an admission of gay orientation. Clearly this is a useful premise on which to hang a story, but I wonder how common it is in real life especially given the changes in social attitudes over the last ten- twenty years. I suspect the causes of homelessness are more varied and multilayered, for example substance/ alcohol abuse , poverty, unemployment, criminal activity to name a few. Has anyone on the forum any experience in this field? Is rejection (still?)a significant factor in practice? Is there any indication of variation in frequency reported by different nationalities of respondents? And of the efficacy of response of the relevant authorities?




Pedro
Re: Homelessness  [message #68369 is a reply to message #68368] Tue, 11 March 2014 03:25 Go to previous messageGo to next message
The Gay Deceiver is currently offline  The Gay Deceiver   United States

Really getting into it
Location: Canada
Registered: December 2003
Messages: 869




Interesting.  A thoughtful and purposeful question.

There are a number folks here who could contribute to a discussion this topic which would further your quest.

I am perhaps one of them; but, I would like to hear from a couple of the others before I frame a response.

My two sons were both throw-away children, each for different reason.  Both had been living rough for months before asking me for help.

Warren C. E. Austin
The Gay Deceiver
Toronto, Canada


Re: Homelessness  [message #68370 is a reply to message #68369] Tue, 11 March 2014 07:23 Go to previous messageGo to next message
dgt224 is currently offline  dgt224   United States

Toe is in the water
Location: USA
Registered: May 2011
Messages: 81



I can't provide any statistics, but one data point from a few years ago: In chatting with my parents, maybe eight or ten years ago, mention was made of a family in their church where the father had kicked the son out of the house for being gay. This was a Lutheran church in northern Illinois (ELCA), so not the rabidly anti-gay environment of the majority of churches where I live now (Georgia). So, no idea how frequent that sort of thing is, but pretty sure it still happens.
Re: Homelessness  [message #68371 is a reply to message #68368] Tue, 11 March 2014 09:39 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Kitzyma is currently offline  Kitzyma   United Kingdom

Likes it here

Registered: March 2012
Messages: 215




Kids being rejected or made homeless because of sexuality will depend very much on location, not just between countries but also within a country. e.g. In Scandinavia, England, US West coast it might be a lot less common than in very religious countries or regions. To complicate things further, in a very intolerant location getting kicked out for being gay might be very rare because a kid in such a place (Uganda?) would probably take great care not to let anyone, and especially not parents, find out.

The frequency that something happens in stories has no relation to the frequency with which it happens in real life. In gay teen stories, and especially on certain sites, such plot devices are common and often cliched. In real life it's much less common for kids to move to a new school and/or move to a new town and find a gay neighbour boy than it is in real life. It's possible to avoid cliche when using such plotlines, but it takes a level of skill and invention that is quite rare.

Of course, there are many other story themes (e.g. variations of Romeo & Juliet) that are much less common in real life than in the world of stories. Let's face it, vampires are rather less common in real life than they are in stories! :)  It's quite possible that a good writer can use relatively uncommon storylines to give interest and drama to situations and problems that many of us commonly experience. So I'm not criticising the use of such unusual plot lines as long as they avoid descending into cliche.

As you indicate, in real life the causes of rejection and homelessness will rarely be as simple as the single issue of sexuality. It may just be the straw that breaks the camels back of an otherwise bad parent-child relationship. After all, if there is an otherwise good parent-child relationship it's likely that the kid will have a good idea if his parents will react negatively to his sexuality and will take steps to make sure they don't find out while he still depends on them for a home.

Sometimes bad parents might think of their child as a burden and use his sexuality as an excuse to throw him out when in fact they don't really care much about his sexuality. If he wasn't gay they might consider his drinking alcohol or substance abuse, or even just insubordination as an excuse. Also, homelessness may not be caused by rejection. Maybe the boy has run away because he just doesn't get on with his parents or doesn't want them to find out that he's gay. Maybe he thinks he will be rejected and runs away first  (i.e. jumps before he's pushed). Perhaps the child has some degree of mental illness. Perhaps he ran away to London because he wanted to meet gay people and his little home village has no gay venues.

If a child is rejected and thrown out because of his sexuality, whether or not that leads to homelessness will depend on location and what sort of society he lives in. If he goes to live with other family or friends, does he count as homeless? Even within one country there can be a sort of post code (or zip code) lottery as regards social services as there is with medical services. In a modern and supposedly civilised country like the UK there is no moral excuse for society to have children and teens of any sexuality who are homeless. Yet we do have them.

You mention 'respondents' but don't mention respondents to what. Do you mean people who respond to surveys about homelessness and sexuality? Do you mean teen homeless in a particular country or region? Many countries have probably never had such a survey an even those that had might not have asked if the homelessness was due to rejection or if that rejection was related to sexuality. And responses to surveys depend on those who choose to respond and those who respond truthfully.

However, if you want to find what limited and unreliable data exists, you could try an internet search engine. I just did a Yahoo search for 'homelessness and sexuality' and got 5 pages of results.

Here are just two examples:-

"Approximately 7% of clients in an average project for homeless people identify as being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) according to Homeless Link's 2011 Survey of Needs and Provision (SNAP)"  <homeless.org.uk/lgbt>

"Estimates on the prevalence of GLBT persons amongst the wider homeless youth population have shown considerable variation. In the United States, national studies suggest that as many as 50% of all homeless youth may be gay or lesbian, with estimates in the UK running as high as 30% in urban centres, whereas current broader estimates of population-wide figures of homosexuality in the UK are roughly between 5- 7%. The data on sexual identity and homelessness likely underestimates the situation, reflecting underreporting by individuals and a lack of monitoring by researchers and service providers." <www.crisis.org.uk/>

Of course, even when there is data it needs to be interpreted. e.g. How many of that 7% in the UK were teens? How many were homeless because their parents had rejected them? Of those, how many were rejected because of their sexuality? Does the similarity between the figure of 7% for LGBT homeless in the UK and the supposed 5-10% of LGBT people in the general population indicate that LGBT people have no more chance of being homeless than straight people? Also, if you want to ask if it's more or less common now than previously you'll need to find data from different decades in the same country and region.

In summary, then, you should bear in mind that the frequency with which a plot device is used in stories has little if any relationship to the frequency of such events in real life. The real frequency will depend on country and region. e.g. The UK may not be a 'typical' country and London may not be typical of the UK. Some of your apparently simple questions will have complex answers and there may be no way of getting any accurate data to answer some questions.
Re: Homelessness  [message #68379 is a reply to message #68371] Wed, 12 March 2014 23:26 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Pedro   United Kingdom

Toe is in the water

Registered: March 2014
Messages: 67



Hi Guys
Thanks for your comments so far.

Just to clarify my reference to 'respondents'. My apologies, the text of my post was originally written for presenting in a different format asking if there was previous discussion of the topic on this site, hence ' respondents' would be those who had contributed to that discussion. I must learn to be a better editor!

I am well aware that this is the kind of question that is easy to ask but that has complex causes and effects and therefore much harder to answer. I think I asked the question as much to get a measure of forum users own opinions and experience as any 'bald statistics' that might be out there. I have no personal experience in this field, and ,for example, was interested to note Warren's comment that his sons (actively?) asked him for help.

Regards





Pedro
Re: Homelessness  [message #68380 is a reply to message #68379] Thu, 13 March 2014 00:12 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Kitzyma is currently offline  Kitzyma   United Kingdom

Likes it here

Registered: March 2012
Messages: 215



"Pedro wrote on Wed, 12 March 2014 23:26"
I think I asked the question as much to get a measure of forum users own opinions and experience as any 'bald statistics' that might be out there. I have no personal experience in this field



--

Individual experiences and opinions are interesting and may give a little insight, but are they as valuable as 'bald statistics' and hard data, providing the data are reasonably reliable and that one is aware of potential weaknesses? There were many people who had good opinions of Stalin and had good experiences with him. There are 'bald statistics' that show how many deaths he was directly responsible for. If you were alive at the time and had to deal with Stalin, which would be more useful - the anecdotal tales of how nice he could be or the data about all the people he'd had killed?

There may be people who've been raped by gay men and no doubt their individual stories are worthy of hearing, but those stories don't indicate whether gay men are more or less likely to commit rape. If one wishes to see the size and scope of a problem and try to find solutions then 'bald statistics' are more useful than anecdotes about individual experiences.

[Updated on: Thu, 13 March 2014 00:13]

Re: Homelessness  [message #68382 is a reply to message #68380] Thu, 13 March 2014 06:09 Go to previous message
Pedro   United Kingdom

Toe is in the water

Registered: March 2014
Messages: 67



Touché -point taken
Regards




Pedro
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