16 students from the University of Nottingham Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender (UoN LGBT) Network spent Thursday night sleeping outside the Portland Building on University Park campus to collect funds for homeless LGBT youth.
Money raised from the event will be awarded to the Albert Kennedy Trust, a charitable organisation that seeks to provide accepting, supportive and caring homes to all LGBT young people.
“It could be any one of us”.
There are many examples of LGBT young people being forced out of their homes. Andrew, from Manchester, found his home life “quite complex” because of his sexual orientation, so he decided to leave.
Barak also was forced to leave his family home because his religious parents could not accept his sexuality. Zeph, meanwhile, was kicked out by his mother on his sixteenth birthday because his sexuality was “embarrassing for her”.
“It could be any one of us”, claimed Lucy Wake, LGBT Network Campaign Officer. “We do this to appreciate how hard living on the street is and to raise awareness of the plight of what some LGBT pass through”.
“The LGBT homelessness problem to the result of a lack of tolerance and understanding”.
Approximately 7% of homeless people identify as LGBT, according to Homeless Link’s 2011 Survey of Needs and Provision (SNAP). The statistics also suggest that 79% of homelessness services work with people who identify as LGBT.
However, it is still difficult to determine the real proportion of LGBT who are homeless because of the fear of being discriminated against after coming out.
“We do this to appreciate how hard living on the street is and to raise awareness of the plight of what some LGBT pass through”.
Bez, a student from the UoN LGBT Network, told Impact that activities like these are “very important because they are really visible”.
She attributed the LGBT homelessness problem to a “lack of tolerance and understanding”, adding that it was “especially affecting young people who are financially dependent on their parents”.
Rebecca, another young activist, aged 17, encouraged people to continue with the donations and support Albert Kennedy Trust to help homelessness LGBT youth to have at least access to “emergency accommodation”.
In 2013, the ‘LGBT sleepout’ raised £400. This year, the total raised stands at over £650 [at the time of publication].
Daniel Meza Mosqueira