Features Susan Sarandon, Rebecca Romijn, Pete Wentz, Among Others
The Give a Damn Campaign, a project of Cyndi Lauper's True Colors Fund, has released its latest video during National Runaway Prevention Month to raise awareness about homeless LGBT youth.
Susan Sarandon, Alan Cumming, Rebecca Romijn, Pete Wentz, Eden Riegel and Cyndi Lauper speak up about the need to bring an end to this epidemic.
Each year, between 500,000 and 1.6 million youth in the U.S. are homeless or runaways. LGBT youth make up an estimated 3-5 percent of the general U.S. population. Yet they make up more than 20 percent—and possibly up to 40 percent—of all homeless youth in the country.
Family conflict is the most common cause of all youth homelessness. For LGBT youth, the conflict tends to be over their sexual orientation or gender identity. Half of all teens get a negative reaction from their parents when they come out to them resulting in many of them running away. More than 25 percent are thrown out of their homes by their parents.
“As a parent, I can’t understand those who would kick out their own kid simply because they are gay or transgender,” says Cyndi Lauper. “Your child is a part of you, throwing them out on the street is like ripping out a part of your own soul. No child should ever be homeless, especially when they have a family that can give them the love and acceptance that they need. It’s time all of us parents join together and let our kids know that their home is always a safe place for them no matter what.”
Once living on the streets, LGBT youth have to learn to survive amidst a higher rate of victimization and suicide that awaits them. They also have to deal with greater difficulties in finding resources that are willing or able to help them due to their sexual orientation or gender identity, sometimes facing further rejection from the very people and institutions that are supposed to assist them.
To learn more about the initiative, please visit Wegiveadamn.org.