Young, gay, homeless and invisible: a growing population?
This paper describes the experiences of a hitherto invisible and possibly increasing population in England, namely young homeless lesbian, gay and bisexual people. It draws on preliminary findings from research into transitions for young lesbian, gay and bisexual people that took homelessness as one theoretically informed focus. The paper explores two main questions. Firstly, how far and in what ways does sexuality play a role in a housing crisis? Secondly, why have the experiences of young people who may be questioning their sexuality been neglected in service provision and in the mainstream literature on leaving home and homelessness? Qualitative and quantitative evidence is brought together to suggest that a sizeable proportion of young homeless people may be lesbian, gay and bisexual, and that issues of sexuality have had an important bearing on their circumstances. At a time when it may be easier than before for a person to come out at a younger age, the risks associated with constructing identity and lifestyles against the norm should not be underestimated. Accounts of sexuality that ignore wider material circumstances do so at their peril.
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