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Celebrities Advance Social Justice for Homeless LGBTQ Youth

Judie Stilman February 20, 2021

There’s nothing like the power of celebrity to advance social justice for youth experiencing homelessness. Entertainers, athletes, actors, and musicians can shine a light on hidden problems and point the way toward change.

Grammy winning singer/songwriter, Cyndi Lauper co-founded True Colors United, with the mission to end youth homelessness while focusing on the LGBTQ community. Gregory Lewis, True Colors United Co-founder and Executive Director, talks with Leena Patidar, CEO, Coin Up App on a recent FB Live. Find out how Cyndi and friends came together to raise awareness and resources, and to find solutions for our most vulnerable young people.

Youth homelessness; who’s most at risk?

In America, 4.2 million kids, teens and young adults experience homelessness each year. Youth homelessness doesn’t only mean living on the streets. In fact, that is not what the majority of these young people are experiencing. For example, Youth homelessness includes couch surfing, doubling up, and living in unsafe buildings. It’s a prolific epidemic in the US and around the globe. 

It is important to realize of the 4.2 million young people experiencing homelessness, 40% of them identify as LBGTQ+. Family conflict, and rejection of a young person’s sexual orientation and gender identity is only one cause. Certainly, other reasons are racism, poverty, the child welfare and juvenile systems, lack of quality education, and inadequate local support.

Additionally, systemic racism against people of color is a major factor. LGBTQ youth are 120% more likely to experience homelessness. Black youth are 86% more likely to fall into that category. Latinx youth are 33% more likely to experience homelessness. Most importantly, LGBTQ youth of color are at much greater risk than the general population.

Cyndi Lauper and friends take on LGBTQ homelessness!

True Colors United started on a tour bus in 2008. Cyndi Lauper, Lisa Barbaris (Cyndi’s manager) and Gregory Lewis launched a tour called The True Colors Tour. During which the goal was to raise money for LGBTQ causes, particularly focusing on hate crimes and the power to vote. Every night, Cyndi got on stage and talked for 5 minutes about the importance of creating an inclusive society. Over the course of two summers they were able to raise a quarter of a million dollars. Then they wondered what they could accomplish if this was expanded to a year round effort. The one issue that matters most to Cyndi and Lisa, as mothers and to Gregory, as a gay man, is the void in addressing LGBTQ homelessness.

Your spare change can make a difference!

Coin Up App is proud to provide an easy way to donate your spare change to True Colors United. With donations from people like you in the US and across the world, True Colors United is able to help make a difference. Over the last 12 years, hundreds of celebrities have gotten behind the True Colors United. Everybody from Pink, Elton John, Salt-N-Pepa, 50 Cent, and more, have stepped up and advocated for True Colors United. They believe that no young person should be homeless in this country for any reason, including their sexual orientation or gender identity. 

More ways to help end youth homelessness.

Certainly celebrity is an extraordinary tool bringing attention to this issue. But, there are real ways for you to get involved too! You can help by making a donation through Coin Up. You can write a letter to your representatives in Congress. Let them know that you support increased funding and protections for LGBTQ youth experiencing homelessness. Remember, you can look for opportunities in your community to support programs such as shelters, housing programs, and drop-in centers.

After all, we all have the power to change minds and uplift those who need a hand, and it starts with one small act of kindness. One person’s vision can lead to a ripple of love.

Watch the full FB Live video.

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