An Examination of LGBTQIA+ College Students and Their Past Experiences with Homelessness

Michaela Dakota Castor, University of Texas at El Paso


In the United States, there are more than 20 million people who identify as LGBTQIA+ which equates to roughly 8% of the population (Powell 2021). Although LGBT youth only make up 5% to 10% of the youth population, 28% will experience housing insecurity (The Trevor Project 2022). For many members of the LGBTQIA+ community, “coming out” is a sentimental and often scary experience. LGBTQIA+ youth, in particular, are afraid of being rejected and kicked out of their homes because of their sexuality and gender expression. 1 in 4 LGBTQIA+ individuals will be homeless and 68% will face some sort of familial abuse due to their sexuality (Lesly University). Therefore, the LGBTQIA+ community faces higher rates of anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, and self-harming compared to their heterosexual cis-gendered counterparts (Conron et al. 2022). City and educational resources can play vital roles in the comfort and safety of their LGBTQIA+ community members. Through interviews, seven of the ten participants faced homelessness due to their families rejecting their sexuality. Participants also shared stories of mental and physical distress and abuse from family members. Most participants needed food, housing and personal care items when experiencing homelessness. This thesis seeks to understand the lived experiences and resources utilized or needed during the time LGBTQIA+ persons spent homeless. Using semi-structured interviews, my research hopes to shed light on the ways institutional and educational sectors can help LGBT individuals who are experiencing homelessness.

Subject Area

Sociology|LGBTQ studies|Mental health|Criminology

Recommended Citation

Castor, Michaela Dakota, "An Examination of LGBTQIA+ College Students and Their Past Experiences with Homelessness" (2023). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI30820099.