Homeless holidays

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Written by Tyler Anderson, Opinion Editor

The time for family, friends and peppermint mochas is upon us. Most students will be greeted by decorations and warm meals when they arrive home. But as a gay man, I know that not everyone will be quite so  fortunate this year.

Those who identify as LGBT account for nearly 40 percent of homeless youth according to a study by the Williams Institute. Of those surveyed, 46 percent “ran away because of family rejection of sexual orientation or gender identity;” 43 percent said it was also due to being “forced out by parents because of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Our LGBT youth are still among the most vulnerable in our nation. Awareness is spreading thanks to organizations such as the Queer Youth Network and The Trevor Project, but there’s still plenty of work to do.

Reagan-era politics set our history back decades. Former President Barack Obama’s administration heralded a change in the government’s treatment of LGBT individuals and the policies which would affect us. But this progress is being lost.

Many will criticize me for making homelessness a “political issue.” What they fail to realize is that the LGBT existence has always been deeply embedded in politics.

Lawmakers decide funding, discrimination measures and who can live without fear. Those with a rigid belief system may have a hard-line stance on whose existence is acceptable or not. It has always been this way, and though I hope we might evolve beyond it, we’ll never see this come to fruition in our lifetime.

Our current administration threatens progress. President Donald Trump tried to appeal to the LGBT community while campaigning for his first term. During an event, he was quoted saying “thank you to the LGBT community! I will fight for you while Hillary brings in more people that will threaten your freedoms and beliefs.” 

So far, we’ve had an attempted ban of transgender citizens in the armed forces. The Department of Justice filed a legal brief detailing why sexual orientation should not be a status protected from discrimination. And his administration rescinded guidance aimed at protecting trans youth from discrimination in schools. The struggle did not end, or begin, with the fight for marriage equality.

The Stonewall riots were led by Martha P. Johnson, an African American transgender activist, who was through with being treated as something less human. The Reagan administration ignored the AIDS Crisis simply because it was a “gay’s disease;” thousands of American citizens died as a result (you can imagine how I feel about the recent fashion trend surrounding “Reagan/Bush ‘84’” shirts).

Ultimately, if everyone really, truly cared about the children, they would be fighting with us, not against us.