Gen Y may have a rep for staying at home longer, but can this still be said for GLBTIQ youth?
We prefer not to talk about homelessness. The homeless are grubby old men yelling at cracks in the pavement, pushing trolleys full of empty shopping bags — aren’t they?
Sometimes these stereotypes couldn’t be further from the truth.
I was 13 when Mum found my diary. That she ‘stumbled across it’ under my bed — bookmarked at the page I’d described my schoolyard crush in remarkable detail — remains a point of contention to this day.
It doesn’t matter. What mattered was this allowed me to come out. Numerous heartfelt discussions followed. I think Mum saw my queerdom as a blessing in disguise. More like a best friend, she’d also mingled with the old Les Girls crowd.
But not everyone’s so lucky.
We might be coming out younger, but families still shun their own blood. ‘Familial homophobia’ often lurks in the more oblique chasms of the family dynamic. It’s that air of distance, the unspoken discontent. It’s insidious. And it sucks.
Kicked out or alienated, many embark on the ‘flight to ghetto’, somewhere they believe they’ll fit in. I also eloped from suburbia, mesmerised by the city. But it doesn’t always work out. Some end up homeless.
“Research shows family conflict, drug and alcohol issues, mental health and disengagement are experienced at higher levels than for heterosexual peers,” Twenty 10’s David Moutou told SSO. “We see effects magnified, especially in family conflict.”
Home is where the heart is. And while homelessness doesn’t seem as ubiquitous in our community as we get older, we learn to sort our shit out. We’re survivors, after all.
If you see someone in need, tell them about Twenty 10. Of course donations and volunteers are always welcome. Or if you’re doing it tough yourself, know that life can be all you want and more. And remember; those who mind don’t matter, while those who matter will never mind.
There’s no shame in being you. Homophobia, on the other hand — now that’s a choice!
info: Visit www.twenty10.org.au, call 1800 65 2010, or join T10’s Facebook or Twitter page.