I have been thinking about the word "unconditional" a lot this year. As I delve deep into the issues of homeless LGBTQ youth, I often hear the youth say that what they are most missing are consistent adults in their lives, ones who can provide a safety net -- and unconditional support.
I helped kicked off a tweet storm last week, and frankly no one was more surprised than I that it snowballed as it did. As of this writing, the #DefendTheDuggars social media campaign has delivered almost $25,000 to help the homeless LGBTQ youth population in Arkansas.
If Rustin was afraid or daunted, he never showed it. He kept living his life, standing up for anyone who needed a voice. He loved Black people, but as evidenced by his global activism, he loved all people.
I have been talking with homeless kids from all over the country, asking them to help us understand what it means to be left on the streets, asking them to give witness to what they endure. I ask you to look into their traumatized eyes and listen with me to their heartbreaking testimonies.
My brother and sister were out in the living room. I remember calling them into the bedroom and explaining to them that I was leaving. I had to go. When my sister asked why, I shared, "Remember how Mom always kicks me out of the house and calls me a faggot and stuff?"
The police photographed my nose, my eye, my face and my arms. They documented the bruises. Then I saw my father arrive at the station in steel handcuffs. I will never forget that image, because it was the only time in all the years of abuse that I saw him arrested.
On Wednesday nights a group of trans and gender-nonconforming young adults makes a lengthy trek to the Broadway Youth Center in Lakeview. They gather for Trans Youth and Resource Advocacy (TYRA) meetings, a space for safety and discussion.
Should Congress fail to reach a budget agreement and take action before New Year's Day, $54.7 billion in federal spending will be cut immediately. These arbitrary cuts to vital services would mean decreased access to mental health care, safe schools and shelters for LGBTQ youth.