AUSTIN, Texas — Sunday, Oct. 11, marked National Coming Out Day. The day celebrates LGBTQ people being their true selves. But for some LGBTQ youth, coming out this year during a pandemic may not be an option.
According to The Trevor Project, at least two out of three LGBTQ youth are homeless because their parents don't accept them. This statistic was reported before stay-home orders and shutdowns across the country because of COVID-19.
With these restrictions in place, resources for LGBTQ youth who choose to come out in an unsafe environment may not be as easily accessible.
That's why Kathryn Gonzales, the operations and program director at the nonprofit Out Youth in Austin, recommends closeted teens wait a little longer to come out if they don't currently feel safe at home.
"If you have any doubt as to your safety coming out right now during the pandemic, don't do it. It's just not a safe time to be risking safety and rejection and being kicked out in the middle of a pandemic," Gonzales said. "I would rather them be sad and closeted than out and homeless."
Because of the pandemic, Out Youth has had to move some of its in-person services online, including its drop-in center and counseling programs.
"We've not only been serving the youth that we had already served, new youth across Central Texas, but we've been serving new youth from across the nation and even some from across the world because of the power of the Internet," Gonzales said.
If you or someone you know could benefit from Out Youth's services, visit its website.
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