I choose to devote my time to TPS because one person can make a huge difference here. Sometimes that means bringing dinner for the group, sometimes it means helping to paint a wall, or tutoring, or making a donation, or bringing in winter clothes, or toiletries, sometimes it's a food drive and sometimes it's a holiday meal.
You're probably familiar with the plight of LGBTQ youth homeless in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco, but this problem exists in small to mid-sized cities and towns across the country. LGBTQ youth and young adults are sleeping on the streets in every city in America. Every single city. Even in Little Rock, a city you may have never heard of.
While middle-class white gays and lesbians picketed the White House wearing suits and skirts, trans women of color threw their heels at police officers and taunted the cops by forming kick-lines and singing raunchy songs. While assimilation-oriented gays pleaded with the queer community for peace in Greenwich Village, enraged queers used parking meters as battering rams to break down the door of the Stonewall Inn and reclaim their safe space from the mob and the police.
The elephant in the room is our conspicuous reluctance as a society to develop adequate service systems for homeless youth and children. Is the thought of the young people on the street so unsettling and counter to our values that we simply choose to look the other way? Is the reality of trafficking and exploitation so hard to face?
On Tuesday, the eve of Forty To None Day (a day of national awareness of the epidemic of homeless youth) I got the opportunity to meet with Grammy, Emmy, and Tony Award-Winning artist (and my teen shero) Cyndi Lauper when I presented a $160,000.00 check to True Colors Fund, a youth charity Lauper co-founded.
My life is proof that we can change the future of thousands of youth forced into homelessness by simply valuing their lives, making investments into their futures, and recognizing that they are worth more than a few bucks and some leftover lunch. I am worth something -- and so is every other homeless youth.