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Utah sees rise in LGBT teens becoming homeless

SALT LAKE (ABC 4 News) - Many Utah teens are on the streets after their families didn’t accept them for being gay.
Many Utah teens are on the streets after their families didn’t accept them for being gay.

“If they come out, if they're kicked of the home that's still not a reason,” Zach Bale with Volunteers of America in Utah said. “First and foremost youth need a roof over their head.”

Utah’s Homeless Youth Resource Center takes said they take in many gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender teens.

Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign is trying to raise awareness about the discrimination LGBT teens face. The Human Rights Campaign is one of America’s largest civil rights organizations fighting for LGBT rights and equality.

“They shouldn't have to worry if they're safe in school or in their own home or if they have a place to sleep at night simply because of how they were born,” Griffin said.

A survey of gay and lesbian teens across the nation turned up negative numbers for Utah.

When asked if they’re verbally harassed, 69% said yes in Utah compared to 53% nationwide.

When asked if they’re physically assaulted, 27% said yes in Utah compared to 17% nationwide.

About 65% of Utah teens said their state government is not LGBT accepting and 74% said churches in their community aren’t either.

“These are sobering numbers,” Griffin said. “It should serve as a wake up call and a real call to action.”
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