Certainly one of the most depressing realities that the LGBTQ+ community has to endure is homelessness.
There are many factors that lead to LGBTQ+ homelessness. One prime factor, you may agree, is family rejection on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
The thought of being rejected by one’s own family – regardless of what you may identify as – is shattering. One doesn’t have to experience it first hand to understand just how gut-wrenching it is. But it’s worse if you identify as LGBTQ+. It’s never easy finding a second home because of the heteronormative nature of the world we live in.
Homeless LGBTQ+ persons have a hard time trying to find shelters that accept and respect them. While in search of these, many fall victim to secondary victimisation – suffering ill-treatment on top of ill-treatment! LGBTQ+ homeless persons face elevated risks of sexual abuse, violence and exploitation relative to their heterosexual counterparts. This just goes to show that discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community occurs in virtually all spheres of life.
Even in the echelons of the homeless, LGBTQ+ persons are placed lowest because they are regarded as sub-human and not worthy of respect. They suffer social exclusion through stigma and consequently fall into depression, loneliness and sometimes contemplate (even execute) suicide.
To try and alleviate this predicament, Cape Town-based organisation The Pride Shelter Trust provides temporary accommodation to LGBTQ+ persons facing a crisis. A non-profit organisation targeting the LGBTQ+ community, The Pride Shelter Trust is the only one of its kind on the continent – making it a very vital entity to the marginalised LGBTIQ+ community.
Since its inception, the organisation has accommodated over 700 LGBTQ+ individuals facing a crisis.
If you are going through a crisis or know someone who is, visit the Pride Shelter Trust website here to learn more about their admission criteria. You can also make a donation in support of the Pride Shelter Trust if you are in a position to do so.