If you've been seeing the hashtag
#40tononeday on your Twitter feed today, that's because the True Colors Fund — an organization that combats LGBTQ youth homelessness — has designated April 26 as a day to spread awareness of this issue. Around 40% of young homeless people in the U.S. are LGBTQ, even though people with these identities only constitute around 7% of American youth. And as the hashtag suggests, that "40" should be "none."
Hearing that 40% of homeless people are LGBTQ is upsetting enough, but the statistics become even more shocking when you look at how many LGBTQ people are homeless. At least 320,000-400,000 gay and transgender youth are homeless every year, according to the Center for American Progress. And the 2016 National Center for Transgender Equality survey found that 30% of transgender and non-binary Americans have been homeless at some point. LGBT homeless youth are almost twice as likely as straight homeless youth to have been sexually assaulted, according to the Center for American Progress.
A large part of the reason so many LGBTQ people end up homeless is that their families kick them out, according to True Colors Fund. Tragically, this happens to over a quarter of LGBTQ teens when they come out, and over half face disapproval from family members. LGBTQ people are also disproportionately likely to live in poverty, which can lead to homelessness. The National Center for Transgender Equality survey found that trans people were twice as likely to live below the poverty line as the rest of the American population.
To spread awareness about this issue, you can download an “unselfie” sign with facts and slogans about LGBTQ youth homelessness from True Colors Fund and post a photo of yourself holding it to social media. You can also help combat LGBTQ homelessness by donating to an organization like the True Colors Found, the Human Rights Campaign, or the Trevor Project.