Kicked out After Coming out: True You TN Provides Solutions for LGBTQ Youth
Article on “Focus Middle Tennessee”
by Erica Rains | photo courtesy Tristan Lowe
published October 7, 2019
Kids are becoming more comfortable with who they are and coming out at younger ages, which is a wonderful step forward. Unfortunately, not all of these teens are being accepted and, in an alarming number of cases, are actually being kicked out. True You Tennessee, a new outreach program in its beginning stages, will provide resources, care packages and a safe, nurturing home environment where youth can heal themselves…while being themselves.
Stephanie Lowe, founder of this new nonprofit, says that the organization will also help reduce the number of suicides in the LGBTQ community and help youth as they age out of the system to transition into adulthood. LGBTQ youth make up as much as 10% of that population segment but account for 40% of the homeless youth community. “The numbers are insanely disproportionate,” says Lowe.
“Once a teen lands on the streets, statistically, we have 72 hours before they are willing to participate in “survival sex” to meet basic needs such as food or housing. In fact, 20% of all homeless youth interviewed were victims of human trafficking,” she adds.
Lowe says stats aren’t much better in foster homes. Seventy-eight percent report further abuse in those foster homes that are supposed to be their safe havens. “Foster parents get roughly $30 a day per child they take. If they are taking kids for the wrong reason, i.e. money, there is nothing to prevent them from abusing those kids.”