Thursday, July 19, 2007

Object permanence and homeless LGBT youth

Let's pretend for a moment this is a bucket and I'm just going to throw two of the million things I'm thinking about into it. The two things aren't really related so...

First, I've been thinking about Object permanence. Object permanence is the term used to describe the awareness that objects continue to exist even when they are no longer visible. This happens typically at 8-9 months of age. The object may be part of a game like peek-a-boo. But often with babies the ultimate "object" is usually the parent. Will the parent come back? Are they there for you even when they aren't there? With adults it's usually a friend or crush or girlfriend/boyfriend. It's all about trust. If you developed a sense of object permanence when you were little, you are more able to trust in your relationships. Or so goes the theory.

Secondly, I am thinking about how I've been a bit myopic lately. Last night pre-falling asleep I started thinking about how I want to do something that's not "all about me." School will help with this since it's learning to counsel and help other people. But, then this morning while waking up I heard on NPR a story about homeless youth sleeping on friends couches.

I've served food to homeless youth on the street. So then I thought maybe I should volunteer on a call in line like the national runaway switchboard. But, then I thought I only have 7 more weeks until school starts again and I am not even sure I can handle working full time and my part-time school. Anyway this is what I've been pondering. Time, there's never enough of it is there? Hmmm. I suppose the connection between these two lines of thoughts is that homeless youth could use someone to practice object permanence with. :)
  • The taskforce says: Of the estimated 1.6 million homeless American youth, between 20 and 40 percent identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT).

    Why do LGBT youth become homeless? In one study, 26 percent of gay teens who came out to their parents/guardians were told they must leave home; LGBT youth also leave home due to physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Homeless LGBT youth are more likely to: use drugs, participate in sex work, and attempt suicide. Also, LGBT youth report they are threatened, belittled and abused at shelters by staff as well as other residents.

  • More links: The National Youth Advocacy Coalition and the GLBT National Help Center help homeless LGBT teens get counseling, health care, and other services. And the National Runaway Switchboard (1-800-RUNAWAY) is a good resource for all homeless and runaway teens, or for teens who are thinking of leaving home.

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