Forum on homelessness among Black gay youth

Inclusive religious leaders are hosting a forum to address homelessness among minority gay youth in New York City. The event will take place on July 27 at the Metropolitan Health Center, located at 1901 1st Ave. in Manhattan at 6:30 pm.

The Citywide Coalition of Clergy and Allies of LGBTQI Youth will host, “The Wall of Silence in our Black Community: The Plight of Homeless Gay Youth.” Organizers took a year to plan the first time event, which they hope to discuss homelessness in the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) communities of color. The goal is to bring people of different religious faiths to talk about the crises of homelessness among youth of color, said an organizer.

“It’s the first time I know of such forum. We don’t know what the audience will be. We’re doing our best to attract as many as we can,” said Dr. Wilhelmina Perry, member of LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent. “We hope the presence of the clergy will attract people of faith.”

The event will have a panel discussion with various LGBT organizations present, and panelists will discuss the root causes of homelessness, and how religion plays a part. Panelists hope to achieve this by presenting statistics and by presenting their diversity to fellow parishioners. Perry hopes to put an end to the stigma of homosexuality in the church.

“We want to bring people together to look at what the bible teaches and what it does not,” said Dr. Perry. “We come from various denominations — Quaker, Buddhist, Pentecostal, Baptists — we came together to reach people through a variety of goals, and one of those goals is education.”

In New York City, there is an estimated 4000-6000 homeless youth, and close to half of them are LGBT, with young Blacks and Latinos accounting for most, according to Perry.

“What we hope is a real acknowledgement of the problem in the community, what comes out of it, and talk about solutions and responsibility,” said Dr. Perry.

Reach reporter Alexandra Simon at (718) 260–8310 or e-mail her at asimo[email protected]

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