For LGBTQ youth who trade sex to survive, turning 22 can be an unwanted milestone

In New York City, and in many other cities across the country, funding for runaway and homeless youth is often limited to those ages 16 to 21. This frequently leaves 22- to 24-year-olds without shelter beds, access to group sessions, job training, and medical care, even though they are still technically eligible for services through youth programs, which typically go up to age 24.

For young people in this group who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer or questioning (LGBTQ), this means they lose access to a crucial source of safety and stability in difficult times. This echoes larger trends of LGBTQ youth having less access to appropriate social services than non-LGBTQ youth.

And while all youth face emotional, psychological, and social challenges during adolescence, LGBTQ youth face a disproportionate amount of additional stressors related to their sexual orientation and gender identity, including discrimination and increased victimization. LGBTQ youth need the very social services that they're not accessing.

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