LGBTQ youth can get help in struggle for acceptance

Posted at 7:12 PM, Mar 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-02 00:01:28-05

CINCINNATI -- Although many LGBTQ youth in the Tri-State struggle to find acceptance, new programs are springing up to help them.  

Studies show young people who identify as LGBTQ may face rejection from their peers or even family and can often find themselves in a snowball effect for trouble.

"Higher rates of suicidality, substance abuse, depression and risky sexual behavior," says Melissa Meyer, director of  Safe and Supported.

And that's where Safe and Supported program comes in.

The numbers show those who identity as LGBTQ make up 7% of the general youth population but 40% of homeless youth.

"It's becoming a lot more personal for a lot of people and they're taking steps to make sure their entire community is supported," says Daniel Stultz, Host Home Manager for Safe and Supported.

For the past six months, the Host Home Program has served LGBTQ youth who have no other place to go.

They're matched with someone willing to open their home and hearts for up to a year. During this time the host serves as a caretaker, a mentor and more.

RELATED: LGBT have ally with CIncinnati police. 

Stultz tells this story about one youth’s positive experience with  host.

"Their host said to them, ‘I'm just really proud of you for going to work every day and pursing your goals,’ and the young person had an emotional response and said, ‘I never had anybody say they're proud of me.’”

For people like Skylar, a local resident who identifies as LGBT, workshops can begin to open the discussion for even greater acceptance

"As a parent, I'm still really scared sometimes for my kid,” Skylar said. “It's important for me even more so now to help parents work through those feelings."

ABC is chronicling the personal and political struggles of the LBGTQ community in a four-night miniseries, “When We Rise."  It continues Wedneday night at 9 ET.

READ more about the ABC miniseries "When We Rise."