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LGBTQ2S Youth Homelessness

LGBTQ2S youth remain largely overrepresented in the homeless youth population, with estimates as high as up to 40 per cent of homeless youth identifying as LGBTQ2S.

Here is how one young trans person interviewed by Abramovich (2015) described what it is like to be trans and homeless in Toronto: 

"Try living in a world where it's hard enough to love yourself, but even harder to be accepted, going into a place where you think you can be safe, going into a place where you assume you can get help but every door you try to open is locked or sealed shut, you're trying to walk back to where you started but that door is also locked.

You try very hard to break down that door.

Once you get through you realize you cannot be you."

Until we end LGBTQ2S youth homelessness and ensure safe, welcoming, and inclusive environments in all support programs, the fight to create authentic spaces for LGBTQ2S homeless youth will be far from over.

The City of Toronto, Shelter, Support and Housing Administration officially launched updated shelter standards for the first time in 12 years, as a result of years of advocacy efforts. LGBTQ2S cultural competency training was made mandatory for shelter staff for the first time. The 519 and Dr. Alex Abramovich worked in partnership to develop the curriculum, to help staff and organizations become better allies of LGBTQ2S youth. However, in order to do this, we also need to create welcoming and affirming spaces (social, physical and cultural) for LGBTQ2S youth. 

The 519 will continue to advocate for LGBTQ2S youth and to build vibrant and equitable communities for all.

Workshops will help participants to

  • Identify and discuss the problems faced locally by LGBTQ2S youth experiencing homelessness, specific barriers to support and gaps in services, and the ways in which homophobia and transphobia occur and are sustained in the shelter system.
  • Gain a concrete understanding of context and background information regarding LGBTQ2S youth homelessness in Canada.
  • Identify and discuss common words to express sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression in Canada.
  • Identify and discuss examples of LGBTQ2S discrimination and harassment.
  • Demonstrate and share an empathetic understanding of the experiences of the LGBTQ2S community, colleagues and clients.
  • Propose ways to make shelters and housing programs safe, inclusive, and affirming of LGBTQ2S homeless and street-involved youth.

Laura Gibbon
Manager, Education and Training
416-355-6772 |

LGBTQ2S Youth Homelessness in Canada Infographic Links

Download Complete set of Infographics

LGBTQ2S Youth Homelessness in Canada

Youth Homelessness Research Findings

Trans and Non-Binary Youth Accessing Shelters

LGBTQ2S Safe, Inclusive and Affirming Shelter Spaces

LGBTQ2S Barriers to Employment and Training

Top 10 Reasons Homeless Youth Struggle to Find Employment

Homophobic, Biphobic and Transphobic Slurs

LGBTQ2S Youth Suicide

Types of Housing Models/Programs

Family Conflict and Family Reconnection

Improving Intake Processes for LGBTQ2S Youth

Additional support materials

Download LGBTQ2S Toolkit (National Learning Community)

Download Creating Authentic Spaces: A gender identity and gender expression toolkit

Our Fostering an Inclusive Shelter Environment for LGBTQ2S Youth curriculum and infographics were developed in collaboration with Dr. Alex Abramovich and A Way Home, a national coalition dedicated to preventing, reducing and ending youth homelessness in Canada. Development of this new resource has been generously supported by TD Bank and The City of Toronto.