A Night With A Cold
on gay runaways and homless gay teens
By: Max Jamie
"Cold and hunger take over now. I'm craving for a warm bed and some food. Regret? I don't think so. I'd rather live in the cold alleys
than that hell hole others call home." Such thoughts rush in the young minds of gay teens that’re on the run. Living on the streets or even at a shelter home because they are being harassed, harmed and hurt by their families and society.
Recent studies (done by The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in the US) show that 20-40% of homeless teens are gay. It also showed that 27% of gay teens moved away from home because they were harassed by parents, siblings and school mates. 50% of gay teens had run away from home at least once or tried to annually.
Such statistics show that the homelessness of gay teens is not an issue to be taken lightly. Even at shelters, gay teens are being rejected and even more harassed physically and emotionally. At some shelters gays are forced to wear a different color so they'll be identified, some shelters even threaten straight teens to share a room with a gay one if they 'misbehave'. The extreme is that some of the staff members either beat gays or allow other kids to beat them up, and do nothing about it.
For those reasons -and maybe there’s more- many gay runaways avoid going to shelters and spend their lives on the streets, either turning into criminals like stealing or shoplifting, or even sell their bodies for sex, and take prostitution as a path to support themselves or spend the night at a warm bed. Most of them are an object to molestation or even murder.
In the Middle East, we have a few organization (either small or big)
that help the LGBT community. One of the most famous ones is Helem, which is based in Lebanon, which provides shelter to gays from all nationalities or ages. It also provides counseling and gives gays a sense of safety. There are also a few underground societies that hosts gay runaways and that helps them find a home and a job.
Speaking from a personal corner, I ran away from home once after my coming out. I was told to leave the country. I remember the night I spent out on the street just walking aimlessly. I had no money; I couldn't call a friend in the middle of the night to crash at their place. Instead I had to go back home and tolerate what faced me from my parents. I can only pray that this will all be over soon. That they'll stop harassing and hurting me…us, for we have done nothing wrong.
My.Kali.mag's Special Extra:
One of the stories that got us moved was the video of documentation called “Blood Brothers” which views Mathew Boger’s early hard life. See his video about how being gay got him homeless by his teenage years, brutally attacked in a Hollywood alley, how he survived, how he found his identity, and how he started to make a difference. “The lesson in hate begins a journey to tolerance that ends decades later with an amazing twist of fate.” Watch his video now: http://current.com/items/86544881_blood_brothers