These Kids Are Invisible
-By Dan Allen
It’s a gorgeous mid-September Tuesday evening in New York City and the setting sun warmly glows over the streets of Midtown. Chelsea, New York’s gayest enclave, shifts into party mode just a few blocks south. To the northeast, the world is starting to queue up for Broadway hits. Meanwhile, commuters rush to the comforts of home.
But for thousands of gay youth in Gotham, there will be no partying, no theater, no playing tonight.
And once again, no home.
Estimates say that a staggering 20,000 young people are homeless every night in the city, - anywhere from a quarter to a third of those are LGBTQ kids. A lucky fraction of that number has found its way to Sylvia’s Place, tucked here on the city’s far west side, so near and so far from so much wealth.
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UPDATE: Dan Savage in a New York Times Op-Ed about the Arkansas Initiative to prevent gay parents.
Even before the law passed, the state estimated that it had only about a quarter of the foster parents it needed. Beginning on Jan. 1, a grandmother in Arkansas cohabitating with her opposite-sex partner because marrying might reduce their pension benefits is barred from taking in her own grandchild; a gay man living with his male partner cannot adopt his deceased sister’s children.
Social conservatives are threatening to roll out Arkansas-style adoption bans in other states. And the timing couldn’t be worse: in tough economic times, the numbers of abused and neglected children in need of foster care rises. But good times or bad, no movement that would turn away qualified parents and condemn children to a broken foster care system should be considered “pro-family.”
Most ominous, once “pro-family” groups start arguing that gay couples are unfit to raise children we might adopt, how long before they argue that we’re unfit to raise those we’ve already adopted? If lesbian couples are unfit to care for foster children, are they fit to care for their own biological children?