Potential Obstacles

For LGBTQ2+ Communities

Heightened risk of homelessness and street involvement:

  • Research on gay adolescent males found that 50% report negative reactions from their parents when they disclosed their sexual identity. 26% of them had to leave home as a result (cited in Sullivan et. al, 2001).
  • 33% of gay men and 34% of lesbian women have reported physical violence at the hands of a family member because of their sexual orientation (cited in Sullivan et. al, 2001: 11).
  • The National Network of Runaway and Youth Services in the United States has estimated that 20 – 40% of youths who become homeless each year are lesbian, gay, or bisexual (cited in Sullivan et. al, 2001). In Ottawa, Ontario it has been estimated that 25 – 40% of homeless youth are LGBTQ (Connolly, 2005).
  • Like members of the lesbian, gay, and bisexual communities, transgender youth also are at greater risk of homelessness when they disclose their preferred gender identity. They often leave their homes and communities because of intolerance that they experience.
    • As a result, transgender youth may be forced to sustain themselves on the streets, unable to access gendered services (such as men’s or women’s shelters) which do not recognize the needs of transgender people. For this reason, among others, transgender youth, like many street-involved LGB youth, will engage in “sex work” as a means of survival.


Banks, Christopher. (2003). The Cost of Homophobia: Literature Review on the Human Impact of Homophobia in Canada. [Saskatoon, SK: Gay and Lesbian Health Services.]

Harris Interactive and GLSEN (2005). From Teasing to Torment: School Climate in America, A Survey of Students and Teachers. [New York: GLSEN.]

Mallon, G.P. (1994). Counselling Strategies for Gay and Lesbian Youth in Helping Gay and Lesbian Youth: New Policies, New Programs, New Practice. Decrescenzo, T. (Ed). Haworth Press. 75 – 91.

Patton, C. (2005). Anti-Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Violence in 2004: A Report of the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. [National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs. New York, NY.]

Sullivan, C., Sommer, S., and Moff, J. (2001). Youth in the Margins: A Report on the Unmet Needs of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Adolescents in Foster Care. [New York: Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund.]

Connoley, R. (2005) Statistics of GLB Homelessness. The Safe Schools Coalition [Online]
Available: http://www.safeschoolscoalition.org/RG-homeless.html

Taylor, Catherine et al. (2011). Every Class in Every School: Final Report on the First National Climate Survey on Homophobia, Biphobia, and Transphobia in Canadian Schools [Online]
Available: http://egale.ca/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/EgaleFinalReport-web.pdf