Hello friends,

This Pride, we celebrate with you the progress we’ve made collectively for the young people we serve to come out safely—out of their shell, out of the closet, and out of the experience of homelessness!

Reflecting on my own experience coming out, I am acutely aware of the access, opportunities, and assurances of safety I’ve been afforded because of my privilege. It is impossible not to acknowledge the deep systemic issues of white patriarchy, racism, homophobia, and transphobia that make it unsafe for evolving young people to live their authentic selves freely and be more likely to experience homelessness.

Feeling seen—and safe—allows young people experiencing homelessness to boldly step into self-advocacy equipped with skills and strategies to navigate various immediate and ensuing barriers.

Like many LGBTQ+ parents, I have hard conversations with my daughter about the harsh realities of a world. On one hand, we are invisible yet stigmatized when we show up and take up space. My awareness of this truth is compounded by the experience of having a Chinese partner and a biracial daughter. I want my daughter and all the youth we serve to walk through the world as their authentic selves without worry of repercussion from others.

At Larkin, celebrating PRIDE means supporting young people in overcoming barriers that limit the realizing of their full potential. I feel fortunate to have been embraced and supported by my chosen family when I came out 30 years ago. Yet, as we grapple with straddling the complicated intersections of identity and acceptance as a country, I am also conscious of the global disparity in LGBTQ+ rights.

We support bold and ambitious young people to achieve beyond the limitations of their immediate circumstances. It is essential to build platforms to help them amplify their needs, points of view, and even their demands to decision-makers who are in a position to make a difference. The progress we are making means we can focus on long-term solutions that will address the root causes of homelessness, such as family fragmentation, childhood trauma, poverty, racial inequity, and LGBTQ+ discrimination.

We know that youth who identify as a combination of LGBTQ+, Black, and multiracial experience some of the highest rates of homelessness. Only through prevention initiatives will we be able to end youth homelessness for those most heavily impacted. This month, as we celebrate PRIDE, and our newest national holiday, Juneteenth, let’s continue fighting and advocating for our collective freedoms as a community so we can all feel seen and safe. Thank you for being part of this work and celebrating with us!

In community,