Youth on the Street in Light of the Supreme Court Ruling

The Supreme Court recognized dignity in all when it announced that LGBT couples have the right to marry. Let us hope that governments everywhere will someday address the issues of poverty in the same spirit. A disproportionate number of young people who end up on the streets identify as LGBT.

Commentary by Carol Denney

On Friday, June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court announced that LGBT couples have the right to marry in all 50 states. Households all over the nation celebrated, stiffened, or wondered what it means to their community and to history.

In the Bay Area, the Pride celebrations honor an historical moment as the nation’s acceptance of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgender (LGBT) community members deepens and strengthens at what was once considered an impossible pace.

Across the nation in small communities without an organized LGBT presence, LGBT as well as questioning individuals in hostile workplaces and family settings enjoy a small but powerful moment of support which might help save their lives.

The prejudice against LGBT individuals in deeply conservative states can be life-threatening.

It is no accident that approximately 40 percent of the homeless youth served by agencies identify as LGBT, according to a national report in 2012 by the Williams Institute, a think tank at the UCLA School of Law.

And this number may be considered an undercount because of the continued existence in some regions of severe stigma attached to being gay, or even responding as such to a survey.

Some young people, when they find and embrace their sexuality, find themselves rejected by their families, religious connections, workplaces, and communities. A disproportionate number end up on the streets.

Many young people end up on the street when they are rejected or driven away due to their sexual orientation.

Many young people end up without a home when they are rejected or driven away due to their sexual orientation. A disproportionate number of LGBT youth end up on the streets.


Nearly 70 percent of young people say that physical and sexual abuse as a child, neglect, and other violent crimes happening in their homes played a role in having become homeless, according to Safe Horizon. It is worth keeping this fact in mind when one hears the hostility toward poor, homeless, and nomadic travelers sometimes fashionable in political and business circles. As hostile and dangerous as the streets can be, they can look like a more sensible alternative, even to a child, than a life of abuse.

The Supreme Court’s majority recognized dignity in all human beings and the deep connections between us all on June 26. Let us hope that governing bodies everywhere will someday address issues of poverty in the same spirit.

Resurrection of the Poor People’s Campaign

Rev. Barber told the activists gathered in the nation’s capital that by demonstrating in solidarity with poor people, they had become a link in the long history of people who fought for justice.

Hate Crime Laws Needed to Protect the Homeless

As homelessness becomes more visible, people living on the streets are targeted for bullying, assaults, harassment and even murders.

Life Is A Precious Gift: Mother Teresa’s House in Washington

We will never know how many huge pots of soup Jacob lifted with the sisters into trucks, to take to the homeless in the park. We will never know how many diseased bodies he fed, held and bathed, and the number of tears he dried in the early morning hours.

Mother Teresa’s Gift of Love in San Francisco

She took home with her the men who had only a few days left to live and were suffering the most, and tenderly cared for them around the clock. I am certain some of the people I was meeting were angels, whose job was to make certain no soul died alone and unloved.

My Back Pages: A Song for Miss Kay

She softly sings the soul anthem “Stand By Me.” It is a song for Miss Kay, a song for all of us. Her life, with its music and joy, followed by a downward slide into homelessness and death, tells us something deeper than words about the human condition.

My Back Pages: Kerry’s Kids, An Undying Dream

Oakland pediatrician Dr. Karen Kruger said, “Kerry’s death was so sudden and seemingly purposeless and shocking that I think there was a need for people that loved her to carry on her memory in a way that she would look down on from her cloud and be happy about.”