Out of the closet and onto the street

Young, gay and homeless in Vancouver

Literature review

without comments

This literature review examines research on the representation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth within the media and academia, as well as research on the group’s preponderance among young people within homeless populations.

This paper also explores tensions involved in portraying the experiences of people who have struggled with not having a home, as well as literature on what it means to be homeless, part of the youth demographic, and belonging under the LGBTQ umbrella

To gauge the problem of LGBTQ youth homelessness, I selected both qualitative and quantitative studies of street youth in Vancouver, examining how the homelessness of sexual minority young people was calculated in addition to the methodologies used to gain information on their lives.

The sections are as follows:

  • Who are youth?

The youth demographic is classified differently by various groups. One notable shift pertains to how changes in the twentieth century have transformed what it means to be a young person. The section will examine how and why specific age ranges are chosen to define youth.

  • Who are LGBTQ youth?

Some of the challenges of defining and doing research on LGBTQ young people are the plethora of sexual identity labels circulating and how adolescents have become less inclined to label themselves with them. This section analyzes the significance and multitude of identity categories as well as critiques against them.

  • Who are homeless or at-risk or youth?

Reports on homelessness describe the varying degrees of what it means to belong to the group. Studies in British Columbia also suggest sexual minority youth are overrepresented among young people in homeless populations. This section explores the meanings of such definitions as well as the strengths and weaknesses of previous studies.

  • LGBTQ youth and the “victim” myth

One of the largest critiques pertaining to the representation of LGBTQ youth in the media is how their lives are frequently described in terms of their victim status. This section unpacks the victim myth and its downfalls.

  • Representation of the homeless

Reporting on homelessness holds challenges because of media constructions and societal perceptions of people in this group. This section analyzes criticism of representations of people who have experienced homelessness within the news media.

  • Reporting on vulnerable persons

This section examines the ethics of reporting on and identifying LGBTQ youth who have experienced homelessness while minimizing harm to them and being responsible to the public.

Read the full literature review (PDF)

Written by Jenna Owsianik

July 31st, 2011 at 10:37 pm

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