Lecture to discuss plight of homeless LGBTQA+ youth

Michaela Ramm

A lecture on the issue of homeless LGBTQA+ youth in the U.S. will take place Monday in the Great Hall of the Memorial Union at 8 p.m.

The lecture will be given by Ryan Berg, a native of West Des Moines and the author of No House to Call My Home: Love, Family, & Other Transgressions.

Berg will talk about his experience in New York City as a counselor for teenagers in the foster system, especially those who identify as LGBTQ. The lecture will also cover topics of those teenagers who age out of the foster care system and are left without a home. 

There will also be a panel following the lecture, which, according to the lectures program’s website, “will speak to the needs and problems in Iowa with special emphasis on the search for LGBTQ-affirming family foster and adoptive homes.”

Participants of the panel discussion will include Donna Red Wing of One Iowa, Penny McGee of Iowa Kids Net and Julia Webb of Youth & Shelter Services.

According to the lectures program, “Berg begins this account of LGBTQ teens in the NYC foster care system with statistics that are at once shocking and painfully familiar: Children placed in foster care are more likely than veterans of war to develop post-traumatic stress disorder.”

LGBTQ teens make up 40 percent of homeless youth and are especially vulnerable, according to the lectures program. 70 percent of LGBTQ youth in group homes reported violence based on LGBTQ status.