Weeding out LGBTQ youth homelessness in America

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The Rainbow Center’s “Out to Lunch” discussion shone a light on the significant, yet seldom discussed, issue of homelessness the LGBTQ community faces. (File photo/The Daily Campus)

The Rainbow Center’s “Out to Lunch” discussion shone a light on the significant, yet seldom discussed, issue of homelessness the LGBTQ community faces. (File photo/The Daily Campus)

On Thursday, March 7, the Rainbow Center’s “Out to Lunch” discussion shone a light on the significant, yet seldom discussed, issue of homelessness the LGBTQ community faces. This week’s discussion, hosted by the Rainbow Center and guest lecturer Twiggy Pucci-Garcon, was centered around the disproportionate effect homelessness has on LGBTQ youth and how to best tackle this problem at its roots. 

 Twiggy Pucci-Garcon is the program director of True Colors United, which aims to develop solutions to solve LGBTQ youth homelessness, including establishing connections that allow those affected to have their voices heard. This program also provides training and education that creates more inclusive and accepting environments for LGBTQ people. 

 The issue of homelessness within the LGBTQ community is not difficult to see. Of the approximately 1.6 million homeless youth in America, 40 percent are LGBTQ, while only about seven percent of the total American youth population identifies as LGBTQ. The leading causes of homelessness among the community is family conflict centered around their identities, leading to them either being forced out of their house or running away from an unaccepting family. 

 Pucci-Garcon clearly described the chain of oppression that leads to problems like this one that hinder LGBTQ youth, as well as what action needs to be taken to address each level. The True Colors United focuses mainly on attacking the institutional problem rather than the other levels.  

 “There are so many [programs] at the organizational and interpersonal levels,” she said, referencing the aid available that deals directly with the part community affected by homelessness.  

 There are places to go for shelter and immediate help, but very few that emphasize the long term goals of eliminating the need for such resources at all. Pucci-Garcon believes that the training programs and youth collaboration, such as the True Colors Fellowship and National Youth Forum on Homelessness, will open doors for LGBTQ youth to find jobs that will realistically allow them to support themselves. They are given the opportunity to incite real change on state and national levels, and are able to have a hand in legislation that directly impacts them and others in similar situations. 

 “I thought it was interesting to hear about the work that they are doing, and it is good to hear about an issue that is not often brought to light,” Kaylee Grace, a second-semester physics major, said. Raising awareness of the setbacks that cause major disadvantages to LGBTQ youth is a critical part of righting the situation.  

“I really enjoyed learning about the work that True Colors United is doing and the impact that they are making for LGBTQ youth, and the effect others can have just by understanding the issue,” Nathan Schachter, an  eighth-semester communications major, said.  

True Colors United has closely examined a problem plaguing the LGBTQ community and decided to take it on from a different angle. This creative approach has allowed them to be a connecting force between the community as a whole and places where their voices can be heard. They have also bridged the gap between LGBTQ people in need of jobs and careers and their potential employers. The organization has been able to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, and in doing so, has offered a new level of change and hope for the future of LGBTQ youth. 


Meghan Shaw is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached cia email at meghan.n.shaw@uconn.edu.

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