According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, as many as 42% of homeless youth in America identify as gay, lesbian or transgender. These youth are at greater risk for sexual and physical violence, mental health concerns, unsafe sexual practices and suicide. It is a national dilemma that requires attention, which is why One Voice—with funding from the Charlotte Lesbian and Gay Fund (CLGF)—is focusing its creative energy this concert season on raising awareness and understanding of the issue.
Telling the stories of homeless LGBT youth
The centerpiece of our efforts will be original music and a mini-documentary that we’ll premier at our spring concert, “Home,” April 11 & 12 in Heaton Hall at Myers Park Baptist Church.
With the help of Time Out Youth and Urban Ministries, One Voice has begun interviewing LGBT youth in Charlotte who are or have been homeless. The video we present at the concert will share these stories and provide a tool other organizations can use to further raise awareness. Similarly, the music One Voice artistic director Gerald Gurss composes will also be made available to the Gay and Lesbian Association of Choruses (GALA) for other groups around the country to utilize.
One of the pieces, “Jonathan’s Song,” tells the story of Charlotte youth Jonathan Green, who was kicked out of his home at 17, left with nothing but his car, a big blue suitcase and pictures of his mother. He eventually found safe haven with the help of Time Out Youth. Jonathan himself will be joining One Voice as a guest soloist on this piece.
“Compelling, provocative, relevant”
Our hope is that both the music and video will raise consciousness about this pervasive issue and also create inspiration and opportunities for LGBT-affirming organizations to initiate partnerships with social service organizations who serve the homeless.
According to Gerald, it will be “one of the chorus’s most compelling, provocative and relevant concerts” since his time with the organization.
In the coming months, we’ll share some of the individual stories we gather from homeless LGBT youth in Charlotte and show our progress on the project. In the meantime, please plan to attend this special event. Tickets are available now!
If you’d like to keep up with the progress of this project between now and the concert, we invite you to sign up for our free e-publication CommunityNotes from One Voice. Sign up now, and we’ll deliver a fresh copy to your inbox bimonthly. (Like magic, only more newsy.)