Essential Pittsburgh
5:40 pm
Thu December 12, 2013

Exploring the Wider Impact of LGBT Homelessness in Pittsburgh

Of homeless youth in Pittsburgh, 40 percent identify as LGBT.
Of homeless youth in Pittsburgh, 40 percent identify as LGBT.
Credit scribbletaylor / flickr

Homelessness among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people is more prevalent than any other statistical group in America.

Forty percent of homeless youth in America identify as LGBT. The same statistic applies to the city of Pittsburgh.

Lyndsey Sickler, chair of the Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Pittsburgh, and Nayck B. Feliz, associate director of Project SILK, work firsthand with young LGBT Pittsburghers who experience homelessness.

Feliz said this high homeless population has negative societal ramifications for the Pittsburgh region. 

“When you have a whole segment of society that is stigmatized and kept down, it affects the rest of society, and I don’t think people really understand how that affects everyone else involved," Feliz said. "People who could have contributed to society in a lot of different ways aren’t contributing because they don’t have a place to sleep or don’t know where their next meal is coming from.”

After being outed at 16, Pittsburgh native Terrance Austin was kicked out of his house by his family. His story tracks his experiences becoming comfortable with himself, joining the National Guard and re-establishing a relationship with his mother.