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Resources for LGBTQ+ Youth

Posted at 8:51 PM, Aug 27, 2018
and last updated 2019-02-21 14:29:55-05

One group of school-aged students are more at risk for obstacles.

The LGBTQ+ youth are among the highest homeless population across the u-s.

Many unsure of where to go - or who to turn to. 

19 years ago Isaac Rocha went from worrying about graduation and his summer plans - to worry about where he was going to sleep.

"My father couldn't deal with the fact that his son was gay," Rocha said. "He got very physical so I packed a bag and just ran to my car and drove."

In desperation, he turned to the Green family who offered him a place to stay.

"We've always been a family that has taken in people when they're in need, so when he came we were hurt for him and his experience," Brookley Green Clopton said.

"At that time, organizations like the Salvation Army wouldn't take openly LGBT youth," Rocha said. "Tulsa Youth Services was one of the few organizations that helped me out."

About a third of young people that experience homelessness identifies themselves as LGBTQ+. Tulsa Youth Services offers them protection and a safe place to go. 

Rocha says he now donates his used clothes to the nonprofit, to help them feel more at home. 

"They struggle with fitting in," LGBTQ+ Coordinator Michael Raye said. "There's a lot of bias against them. Sometimes families don't support them and because of that it's really important to have that support within schools."

Raye works with LGBTQ+ youth at the center and says they are currently working to put more gay-straight alliances within Tulsa County Schools - to offer a safe space for them to meet and discuss issues. 

"We also have counseling services because that's going to be another important aspect to providing full care for a youth that's experiencing rejection from their family," Raye said. 

"Especially as Christians, we know that it's most important that you take care of everyone no matter what their need is," Clopton said.

And while Rocha says he's thankful for the family he now has and the experiences he's gone through - he says there's still work to do. 

"There's still a lot of opportunities for us to get better and I trust and know that it will get better," Rocha said.

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