We know that for a variety of reasons up to 40% of youth experiencing homelessness are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. In the latest survey we completed here in the District of Columbia, that number was 43%. Here are a few of the many celebrities that have stepped up to work for (and with) LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness. I hope they inspire you to support LGBTQ youth where you live.
Josh Hutcherson has been a long time supporter of LGBT Youth, having co-founded the Straight but Not Narrow Campaign. More recently, his work with PowerOn is also making a differene in the lives of low-income LGBT youth including homeless LGBT Youth.
Josh helped launch PowerOn, which refurbishes donated tech like smart phones, tablets, and laptops and puts those tools in the hands of LGBT youth who need it to connect with the community. Some devices are donated directly to young people and others are housed in LGBT Community Centers where they can be readily accessed. From a crucial connection to peers, to looking up health information and even completing school work, tech devices are more important than ever, and Josh and PowerOn are helping to get those tools to the LGBT youth who need them.
Wanda Sykes has been a supporter of the Ruth Ellis Center since the first time she visited while on tour in 2010. The center provides short-term and long-term residential safe space and support services for runaway, homeless, and at-risk lesbian, gay, bi-attractional, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth in Detroit.
The center is named after Ruth Ellis, a lesbian and advocate for the LGBT Community, who is remembered as someone always willing to lend opening her detroit home to the LGBT community and helping many young people along the way.
Sykes returned to the Ruth Ellis Center in 2012 as host of their annual fundraising gala, where she personally suprised the center with a $15,000 donation.Sykes continues to support the Ruth Ellis Center to this day.
It would be hard to find a celebrity that has one more for LGBT Youth experiencing homelessness than Cyndi Lauper. Following the success of her 2008 True Colors Tour, which raised money for several LGBT charities, Cyndi Lauper founded the True Colors Fund along with her manager Lisa Barbaris, and agent Jonny Podell.
Today, the True Colors Fund works to end homelessness among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth, creating a world in which young people can be their true selves. Lauper also partnered with West End to create True Colors Residence, New York’s first and only permanent, supportive housing for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth with a history of homelessness.
Miley Cyrus learned about the issues facing LGBT youth experiencing homelessness when she visited youth at the LA LGBT Center in January, 2015.
“I was quite impressed by Miley and by her genuine passion to help homeless youth,” said Center CEO Lorri L. Jean, “as well as her concern for the growing HIV infection rate among gay and bisexual young people. It’s a huge concern here in Los Angeles where 87% of those living with HIV are gay or bisexual males and a staggering 40% of homeless youth are LGBT. I’m grateful for the attention she’s bringing to the issue and look forward to working with her.”
Miley is the founder of the Happy Hippy Foundation that works on LGBT youth homelessness and a variety of issues impacting LGBT Youth
I bet after this election you thought you’d never watch Celebrity Apprentice ever again, right? I mean, who would want to give Donald Trump more time on television. You’ll be happy to know that Celebrity Apprentice is returning to NBC without Donald Trump. And chances are you’ll be rooting for my favorite contestant, Carson Kressley.
Carson serves on the Board of Directors of the True Colors Fund, joining forces with Cyndi Lauper to support LGBT Youth experiencing homeless. And he’ll be playing for True Colors Fund which is a wonderful way to not only raise money but raise national awareness of this important organization.
Isis King, best known for her time on for her time on the 11th and 17th seasons of America’s Next Top Model, does one of the most powerful things any of us can do to effect social change. She speaks from the heart and tells her story.
Isis experiences homelessness as a young person when she came to New York City to pursue gender-affirming medical care. It was a move her family opposed, and sadly, they choose to stop supporting her.
Isis found a new home at the Ali Forney Center a home for LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness.
Max Emerson is best known for his torso and his youtube videos (pretty much in that order). You may also remember him from this Adore Delano Video. Max’s latest project is the upcoming movie Hooked. The feature-length film will tell the story of a young gay man experiencing homelessness. Max plans to donate half the profits from the film to support LGBT youth experiencing homelessness. Last year he teamed up with my good friend Tom Goss to create this music video to support the project.