Coming out to their families is one of the most difficult things gay children can do. So where can they go if their family rejects them?
Teresa Nolan, who runs the foster home for LGBTQ Youth, says that more often than not, people in the program are usually kicked out or abused by families not accepting their identities.
Jamie, a 17-year-old gay male who benefits from the group, wasn’t welcomed in his own home. “I used to get beat up all the time.. my father didn’t accept it,” he said.
But now, he feels like he belongs: “I’m just around kids that are just like me. We can relate more with each other.”
Now, Jamie can stay in the center until he’s 21, or until he’s adopted.
But Nolan says that the chances LGBTQ youth actually have of being adopted are very slim. And when it does happen, it’s celebrated “because it just doesn’t happen very often.”
Lena Harris, a social worker at Green Chimneys, allowed for that celebration when she adopted Mel, a young lesbian at the center.
“My mom showed me I could be cared about. She showed me a lot of love and stuff. And we decided she was going to adopt me,” Mel said grinning from ear to ear.
Occupying less than 80 out of 36,000 beds in the NYC foster system, LGBTQ youth find Green Chimneys one of the few safe havens in town.
Sadly, however, the center is losing funding for one of its programs this year because of city budget cuts.
In order to fill the gap, they’re holding the Power of Pride Concert Sunday, June 13, at Pier 66 on West 26th street at noon.
“Even though I’m gay, my biggest desire is having a family. I want my own family,” Jamie said.
If you want to help Jamie, and the other 25 LGBTQ youth at Green Chimneys, you can buy tickets at GreenChimneys.org or at the door.