For homeless youth and their advocates, the fight for resources can be fierce. New York City has about 4,000 homeless youths — many of whom are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender — yet its government funds just 259 shelter beds. Waiting lists for these beds, particularly at centers that cater to young LGBT homeless people, are growing.
But on Monday, the Ali Forney Center, an organization that provides housing for gay homeless youths in New York, announced some good news for those seeking a shelter bed. The New York City Council and the Manhattan borough president designated $3.3 million to help renovate a city-owned building and transform it into a new 18-bed shelter.
The space will be named after former “Golden Girls” star Bea Arthur. Before her death in 2009, Arthur served as an icon for many gay people and left the Ali Forney Center $300,000 in her will. That year was the height of the recession, when the facility had been in danger of eliminating beds because it had fallen behind on rent, the center’s executive director Carl Siciliano recalled on Monday. And Arthur’s gift to the center prevented that.
Since many young gay people are forced to leave home after coming out to their parents, what Arthur’s support symbolizes is almost as important as the money, Siciliano said. “It’s wonderful for our young people, who have been so rejected, to know that someone as important as Bea Arthur supports them.”
Know Your Rights: LGBTQ Rights in New York’s Schools (by nycluclips)
This video was made by the youth of the Teen Activist Project (TAP) at the New York Civil Liberties Union in collaboration with Extraneous Noise, a video production company. TAP set out to create this video in an attempt to combat bullying and empower New York’s LGBTQ students to know their rights.
Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning (LGBTQ) youth often face harassment and discrimination simply for being who they are. Just the thought of entering the school doors can be a nightmare for many students.
But the law requires school administrators and teachers to:
Protect LGBTQ students from bullying and harassment.
Treat LGBTQ students fairly and equally.
Respect LGBTQ students’ free speech and free expression rights.
Respect LGBTQ students’ privacy rights.
Unfortunately, many school officials don’t know enough about how the law requires them to protect LGBTQ students. That’s why it’s so important for youth to educate themselves about their legal rights and what they can do if their school isn’t treating them or other students fairly.
TAP into your rights. Empower yourself and your friends. Pass it on!
If you have questions about your rights in New York’s schools, contact the NYCLU, www.nyclu.org.