The Other Side of the Rainbow: Homeless GLBTQ Youth

Follow us throughout the fall for posts which highlight library resources and information that supports the Tiny: Streetwise Revisited exhibit at the Central Library and its community programming.

This is my second year on the Rainbow Book List Committee whose charge is:

“To select from the year’s publications, books that reflect gay/lesbian/bisexual/trans-gendered/queer-questioning (glbtq) experience for young people from birth to age 18 and to annotate selected titles.”

Ultimately that means for the past two years I have dedicated myself to reading and evaluating fiction and nonfiction titles for and about GLBTQ youth. A little while ago, I was asked to suggest fiction titles that included GLBTQ youth who are homeless. As I was asked this, I immediately thought about the fact that there are 1.6 million youth experiencing homelessness in America, 40% of those youth identify as LGBT when LGBT identified youth only make up about 7% of the total population of youth. The numbers are staggering – “more than 1 in 4 teens are thrown out of their homes” when they come out. If fiction were to reflect reality, it would mean that of all the books published about homeless youth, forty percent of those titles would include LGBT protagonists, and 1 in 4 fiction titles about LGBT youth would include these teens being asked to leave their home for revealing that they identify as LGBT.


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