Dr. Jillian T. Weiss

Covenant House Humiliates Homeless Youth, Again

Filed By Dr. Jillian T. Weiss | June 16, 2010 10:30 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: Covenant House, Cristan Williams, Houston, Jolanda Jones, Rhonda Robinson, Texas, transgender youth

Several years ago, Covenant House in New York was in the news because of its rejection of transgender homeless youth.kickedoutfrontcover.jpg

As noted in the Village Voice article, workers at Covenant House genuinely want to help homeless youth, but often bring their own biases with them to the Catholic organization.

Covenant House is up to it again, this time in Houston, putting trans youth in dangerous, humiliating situations, or turning them back to the streets.

As Sassafras Lowrey, editor of the excellent anthology of LGBT youth stories "Kicked Out" (pictured above), says:

The streets steal stories. Crush the bodies of boys and girls with molars of jagged concrete; tear at tender hearts with incisors of glass shards. I tried to remember who we wanted to be. Where we came from before our names shriveled under the labels of 'at risk," "street involved," "runaways," "throwaways," "trash." The streets ingest lives. Bodies decompose in the acidic reality of survival. We were swallowed by systems incapable of digesting us. I collected the stories of my friends, repeating their histories like a chant when they moved-on or disappeared....

The sad thing is that there are many resources to help shelters and shelter workers learn how to help homeless trans youth.

Local trans advocates and local politicians in Houston held a less than satisfactory meeting with the director of the Covenant House Houston youth shelter.

The story, the transcripts, and contact info to voice your opinion to those in power after the jump.

The Houston Covenant House Meeting - "We Treat All With Dignity"

The following was composed and sent by Cristan Williams, Executive Director Transgender Foundation of America (TFA) on 14 June 2010:

On Friday, June 11, 2010, a meeting was held at Covenant House to discuss their long-standing practice of refusing to house transgender youth.

Those in attendance were Cristan Williams; Darin Quintero, Vice-President for Board of Directors of TFA, Jolanda Jones, City of Houston Councilwoman and her aide, Josephine; Houston Covenant House Director/CEO Rhonda Robinson and Josephine Tittsworth with the National Association of Social Workers -Texas GLBT Equity Committee.

The Director of Covenant House Houston, Rhonda Robinson stated that her position was that Covenant Houston does not refuse services to any child and that all children - even transgender children - are treated with dignity.

She went on to state that their unwritten policy is that transgender children are placed according to their anatomical sex and not their gender identity.

She went on to admit that Covenant House has no policy whatsoever concerning protecting GLBT youth and that equal treatment is, in fact, discretionary for staff.

Council Member Jones took the Covenant House director to task and stated in no uncertain terms that transgender kids need to be housed in the gender they present, that they need to be referred to as the gender they present and that no child should ever be refused services due to their transgender status. Council Member Jones also stated that she knew transgender children were being turned away because the Harris County Juvenile Probation contacted her office after Covenant House told them that they do not house transgender kids.

Covenant House's Claims of Non-Discrimination Fall Flat

While the Director of Covenant House believes that discriminatory actions by staff do not occur, TFA has received numerous reports in which transgender clients encountered discrimination.

On April 23, 2010, TFA received the following:

I received 'shelter' at Covenant House for almost 1 week.

I was told when I arrived that I could only be there if I stayed with the girls, because I was legally female. I agreed because I had no other option, it was there or the street.

They roomed me with a female who said she felt uncomfortable being in the same room as me... the shelter's response was to pull me out of the room and insist that I sleep on the floor of the girls wing in front of the night staff.

I was constantly harassed by others in the shelter as well as the staff themselves. I was discovered to be physically intersexed by another shelter recipient who walked into the individual shower section I was in with the intent to start a fight.

When I was later told that even though I agreed to be there as a female that I could not use the female restrooms or showers, I was instructed to use a single person bathroom and shower on the first floor of the building. I was happy about that because I was obviously not comfortable using the multi-person restrooms and showers anyway.

When the girl who discovered I was intersexed told the staff, they made me get a "physical" at the little medical place attached next door. When it was confirmed I was indeed intersexed, I was told I had to leave the shelter because they had no place for me.

I was kicked out 2 days before my 16th birthday. It saddens me that shelters, especially ones aimed at youth, are allowed to be run this way.

On February 27, 2007, Cristan Williams received the following request for assistance from an HIV case manager:

I'm hoping you may be of help with this. A young transgender, 18 yrs old, is having a hard time finding someplace to stay. She mentioned trying Covenant House and not being well received, or even allowed to participate in their program due to transgender status. She mentioned encountering the same reception at shelters (Open Door Mission, Star of Hope).

In response, Cristan Williams called Covenant House. Directly after speaking with a Covenant House representative, she preserved the conversation:

Cristan: (explains the situation)

Hay: Yes we do take transgenders, but he would have to program as a male.

Cristan: Ah, so you would have a certain set of gender stereotypes this youth would have to adhere to in order to access services.

Hay: Well... um. Yah, I guess you could put it that way.

Cristan: So, if this youth looks like, sounds like and walks like a female and has breasts you would make her sleep with men?

Hay: Well, yes. He would need to be housed with men.

Cristan: How would you go about ensuring her safety then?

Hay: Well, the same way we go about providing safety for all the kids.

Cristan: I see. So would you force her to use the restroom with men, shower with men and... how would you protect her against rape?

Hay: Hum... well. It is a matter of policy. All of the Covenant Houses are like this.

Cristan: Interesting. I know that the Covenant House in California accepts transgenders and houses them with the correct gender. In other words, a male-to-female transgender youth is housed with the females.

Hay: Well, it isn't supposed to be that way... but each place makes... they might have their own programs that are a little bit different from other locations.

Cristan: Hum. In any event, so if I refer this person to you, you all will force them to live as a male? It has been my experience that doing that to trans youth is extremely psychologically damaging. How would you address that?

Hay: Well, I don't... My boss and I have had discussions about this. This is our policy. I mean, can't you imagine... If we house him with the women... What if he... you know, one night decides that he.... You know.

Cristan: Wow. I can't recall ever hearing a case like that anywhere. Ever.

Hay: Well, we have to prevent that...

Cristan: I understand, but at the same time it seems that your policy seems to be based more on fear than on rational facts. We are talking about someone who has been chemically castrated - their penis does not work.

Hay: Uh, well. We are a Catholic organization... you have to understand. We are against abortion, we...

Cristan: So, if I am understanding you correctly, you are saying that your policy - a policy that results in child homelessness and/or psychological trauma - is based upon your organizations interpretation of the Bible.

Hay: Well, I wouldn't put it that way.

Cristan: I mean, the principles your policy is based on are Biblically inspired, right?

Hay: Well, yes. The thing is, this policy comes from New York.

Cristan: I see.

Hay: Things are changing, but it will take a few years.

Cristan: Okay. Well, can you refer me to another agency that will help this child?

Hay: Hum. I don't know of any. Have you tried [names off a few providers who also refuse services to transgender people].

Cristan: Well, I appreciate your time. Actually... Would you be willing to advocate for this child. They need help maybe...

Hay: Well, again... these things take time. Really, this policy is set by New York.

Cristan: I see. Okay. Well, thank you for your time.

Hay: Well, okay.

Cristan: What was your name again? Could you spell it or me?

Hay: Victor Hay... H-A-Y.

Cristan: Okay... Thank you. Bye.

After The Meeting, Covenant House Continues To Humiliate Trans Youth

On June 14, 2010 at 3:30 PM, three days after the meeting with Covenant House, a Transgender Center representative contacted the Covenant House intake and spoke with an intake specialist named Angela:

Acting as a "secret shopper," the TG Center representative called Covenant House Houston and stated that they were a case manager and had an 18 year old transgender youth who needed housing.

Angela stated, "He can come in but because there's no room in the men's dorm, he'll have to sleep on the floor in the intake area."

The TG Center representative asked, "I wanted to be clear, my client is a female-to-male transgender." Angela became flustered and stated that she thought that the client was a male-to-female transgender youth. She then went on to state, "They'll have a physical and be housed by what's down there."

The TG Center representative asked, "By what name will you refer to when working with this client? I ask because the name everyone knows this female-to-male transgender youth is a boy name. Would you be willing to call this FTM client by the name they are known by, or will you refer to them by their birth name?" At this point, Angela relayed the question to another Covenant House staff and replied, "No. We only go by what's on their identification."

The Meeting Outcomes

City of Houston Councilwoman Jolanda Jones informed all of those present at the meeting that the Houston Covenant House is receiving federal funding through the City of Houston and stated that she will take this issue up with the national headquarters for the Covenant House located in New York.

Covenant House was unable to identify any written policies on how to work with transgender children in intake, assessment, placement, and other services. Currently, all treatment is all based on subjective interpretations of what is believed at the time by the staff. The Director of the Covenant House stated the she sincerely wants to do what's best for transgender children.

The Covenant House Director agreed to work with the transgender community to create policies to present to their Board of Directors in September. The Transgender Foundation of America and the NASW-TX GLBT Equity Committee have taken on the task of helping draft policies to be included into the Covenant House policies. The next meeting is scheduled for July 6 at 11:00 AM at the Houston Covenant House in order to discuss possible policy implementation.

Request for Community Feedback

We are asking that those of you who are concerned about this issue take a moment and contact the following:

Click here to contact Council Member Jolanda Jones

Please let her know that the community appreciates that she showed up to this meeting and that she fought hard for the rights of transgender youth.

Click here to contact Covenant House Houston Director Ronda Robinson

Please let her know that, while the community is displeased with the track record of Covenant House, we are very pleased about her willingness to work with the community to institute explicit policy concerning GLBT youth.

Click here to contact Council Member Wanda Adams

While she was not able to be at the meeting, her aide was present for the last 5 minutes of the meeting. Wanda is responsible for negotiating the meeting between community members and Covenant House. Please thank her for her involvement!

Click here to contact Covenant House National

Please make inquiries about policies concerning the transgender population. Please voice your support for the end of discriminatory practices.

More about the Transgender Foundation of America: TFA seeks to improve the quality of life for transgender people. TFA is a 501[c]3 nonprofit. Helpline: 713-520-8586

If you wish to discuss this in more depth, you may contact TFA Executive Director Cristan Williams and National Association of Social Workers -Texas GLBT Equity Committee Liaison Josephine Tittsworth

Resources on Trans Youth Homelessness

I was unable to find references to any articles discussing Covenant House New York's current treatment of trans youth, but it's my impression that the 2007 New York City non-discrimination policy covering trans people in homeless shelters has made a positive difference. That might be something for Houston to consider as a remedy for this problem.

There are many other resources out there for shelters that want to help homeless youth, including transgender youth.

For example, The National Task Force and the National Coalition for the Homeless wrote an excellent booklet for homeless shelters on the topic of "Transitioning Our Shelters."

More resources and studies and information on trans homelessnessare available from the National Center for Transgender Equality.

h/t Phyllis Randolph Frye

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Chitown Kev | June 16, 2010 10:56 AM

IIRC, didn't Mayor Annise Parker just sign a non-discrimination ordinance as well (although I am unsure as to whether that ordinance would cover homeless shelters)?

I would think that if Covenant House in Houston receives monies from the City of Houston, that this might fall under that ordinance as well (although there may be a religious exemption in place).

At the very least pressure is being applied in the right places. These transcripts are appalling, and now that they've been brought to light I hope some nominal policy changes are implemented at the shelter.

Wow... that is some impressive goal-post-moving erasure right there.

William Arhus | June 16, 2010 3:09 PM

"We are talking about someone who has been chemically castrated - their penis does not work."

As a gay man - and most certainly not an "LGBT" - I admit to being no expert in the exotic world of transgenderism, but my understanding is that the above statement made about MTFs is false. A MTF, even one on hormones, would have a functional penis and a sex drive. Any transgender porn video would prove that. It seems that transgender activists regularly lie in order to gain political advantage.

In any event, I think that the effort to confront Covenant House with a lot of hostile and accusatory "questions" was childish. It seems to me that Covenant House handled these attacks pretty well. And of course, they need to be concerned about the liability of housing a biological male with females, regardless of how the biological male identifies. It is not enough for the trans provocateur above to say that she has never heard of any problems. She won't be paying CH's liability insurance premiums nor will she be covering their lawsuit costs if something did happen.

William, it depends onthe length of time and dosage of hormones.

A MTF, even one on hormones, would have a functional penis and a sex drive. Any transgender porn video would prove that.

Because of course, porn movies are accurate documentaries, and all people of a given group have the same sex drive and functional ability as porn stars.

It seems that transgender activists regularly lie in order to gain political advantage.

You have one activist making a statement that is not true in 100% of cases, and suddenly now transgender activists are liars by fiat. I'd say you're not only not an expert in the "exotic" world of trans people, but you're also not much of an expert in the world of critical thinking.

And suddenly, trying to make sure homeless trans and intersex youth have a safe place to stay, is political advantage.

Good point. And also that the small conceptual threat to the safety of cis girls outweighs the far more likely threat that a trans girl would face in the boys section.

And yet, would Willaim agree with the shelter if one of the kids was found out to be gay, that the straight kids would need protection from them?

William, I’m not Gay, but I’ve seen Gay porn.
I don’t make judgments on anything Gay because I saw Gay porn.
Don’t stereotype anyone using porn as a basis.

Wait, so you mean that seeing some guy in a gay porn movie shoot literally a quart of cum into a funnel stuck in some other guy's ass doesn't mean that that's how all gay men have sex?!

You mean that despite the fact that I saw a porn featuring "cock-craving lesbians", that doesn't mean that all lesbians are just waiting to fulfill the threesome fantasies of all the skeezy straight dudes out there?!

I mean, if I can't count on commercialized porn as an infallible guide to how the people in it have sex off camera, what can I count on?

All sarcasm aside, what I really find myself wondering is if William's faux concern over trans women having erections means that his name is really Barney Frank...

William, LGBT has the acronym for gay and some trans people are gay too. Would it be OK to turn away a trans person but not a gay person? That's the reason why we unite together as a community. I recommend that you find out more info before making conclusions and assumptions on trans people.

It's true that a MTF trans person with a penis could still have an erection (not in all cases though) but this is not the point. Basing your conclusions on transgender sexuality by observing mainstream tr*nny porn is not a good choice as the source is usually misogynistic and oppressive. Add to the fact that a lot of the actors and actresses there are not or has never been on cross-gender hormone replacement therapy.

The irrational fear of MTF trans people raping cis girls is because people think that rape is only attainable with a penis. Are you aware that women can and do rape other women? The issue here is that a homeless shelter should protect all residents from rape not just cis people. The shelter is exposing trans girls to rape by cis boys.

I understand that there are a variety of ways to address the issue at hand. But prioritizing an organization's liabilities over the well-being of a homeless person under discriminatory clauses is dehumanizing to say the least.

The main issue at Covenant House is that they are actively ignoring trans identities and refusing to acknowledge their existence. Basically it goes like this: "If you are not a boy with a penis or a girl with a vagina, you don't belong here. If you are intersex you don't belong here".
I don't know if these policies are influenced because of the Catholic affiliation but the fact remains that there are funds coming from the government to these shelters.

William Arhus | June 17, 2010 2:21 AM

Sure some trans people are gay. Did you know that there are some executives at BP who are gay? Does that makes us the LGBBP community? Did you know that some Catholics are gay? Does that makes us the LGBC community? Those make no more sense than LGBT.

Whether trans porn is misogynistic or oppressive or good or bad is irrelevant to the point I was making. There are real trans people in these films, many of whom seem to have had substantial hormone treatments, and yet their sexual organs are fully functional. So the trans activist's snide lecture about how MTF's organs "do not work" was false. I appreciate Dr. Weiss's point that functionality might depend on the longevity and dosage of the hormones, but the trans activist above was making a blanket statement.

I agree that no one should be turned away from CF, but CF says that it doesn't turn away trans people. They take them in but house them according to their biological gender. That may not be ideal for the trans resident, but staying in a shelter is itself far from ideal. It isn't the way I would do it, but I am not privy to their risk management meetings or their communications with their liability carrier.

William, in a former life my specialization in law was property and casualty insurance coverage. Insurance carriers do not ordinarily meet with insureds, nor tell them what business practices they can or cannot engage in. Most likely, Covenant House is covered under a much larger insurance umbrella carried by the Catholic Church. While carriers have underwriting rules that affect coverage rates, those usually relate to activities that involve large scale risks, such as fire code violations, or precautions against major theft. I've never heard of an insurance carrier changing rates, or creating coverage exceptions based on the specifics of dormitory-style accommodations.

In fact, the conditions at large shelters like Covenant House in NYC are often quite dangerous due to lack of supervision, and assault and sexual assault are more common than one might think. It might be a good idea if insurance carriers would threaten Covenant House with increased insurance rates unless they made their shelters safer.

What the activist in question said was:

"We are talking about someone [singular] who has been chemically castrated - their [plural pronoun used as singular because the Covenant employee refused to use appropriate gendered pronouns] penis [singular] does not work."

This is not a blanket statement. You just want it to be for your rhetorical point. What you ignored is that it proved that Covenant house didn't really care about the danger of a functional penis.

A MTF, even one on hormones, would have a functional penis and a sex drive. Any transgender porn video would prove that. It seems that transgender activists regularly lie in order to gain political advantage.

Having actually talked with people involved as actors in trans porn:

1) Just as with other types porn, actors often use Viagra and similar drugs to be able to maintain an erection.

2) Often times, those who produce trans porn will cycle their hormones with Testosterone to remain virile.

Neither of these is likely to be the case in a situation like the one in the article.

Testosterone plays an important role in the libido of both men and women. If T is being brought down to female levels, it will significantly decrease, if not eradicate, the male sexual drive.

While a male-to-female transsexual (on HRT) may retain the ability to maintain some degree of an erection, many do not. Without testosterone to build muscle, the strength advantage quickly disappears.

Take a look sometime at the transsexuals who transition earlier in life - many of them are indistinguishable from their peers. They have access to bathrooms, gyms, swimming pools, changing rooms. Have you ever heard of a trans-initiated sexual attack? It would be all over the news - finally, all the fear-mongering would be "validated" (statistical insignificance notwithstanding).

Which is more likely to result in a sexual attack?

Putting someone in with those she identifies with, who has a female sexual drive and urges (women _can_ be lesbian), or -
Putting someone with curves, breasts, and weakened muscles and aggression in intimate quarters with individuals with male strength, aggression, and sexual drive.


Honestly, the first thing on their mind is going to be how to survive and fit in, not how they can get in someone's pants. Day in, day out - trans people go about their lives, just like everyone else, with much lower percentages of sexual violence than the general population.

dawn macpharlain | June 18, 2010 1:06 PM

Spironolactone is the drug most male to female trangenders us for chemical castration. It is not a hormone, Estrodiol is usually used for the estrogen side. Instead it is a testosterone blocker that does indeed negate functionality of the penis. I am not transgendered, just informed.

Michelle Backes | June 20, 2010 11:56 PM

Yes there is a lot of porn out there showing that. This is simply because not all TG's take hormones. Some opt for surgery but not hormones. This is often (but like anything else, not always) done to enact a fantasy that Men who buy the product desire, in order to sell their product. Porn is a Business after-all. This is REAL life.

Penny Sautereau-Fife | June 21, 2010 1:22 AM

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Betty Taylor | January 9, 2011 10:23 AM

obviously you DONT know what you are talking about. i was on hormones for 15 months and my sex drive all but wanished.it didnt come back untill i was off of them.transgenders in porn arent on hormones when they shoot.get educated please!i so sick of the anti-trans bias that i so frequently find in the gay community.what hipprocracy!

polargirl360 | June 16, 2010 4:41 PM

Cisgender women sexually assault other cisgender women at a rate far higher proportionately than trans-women sexually assault cis-women. The amount of trans-women sexually assaulting cis-women in bathrooms is at absolute zero. The same cannot be said about cis-women sexually assaulting cis-women in the women's bathroom.

You are reference to she-male porn stars as an example of “transgender” women is why most transsexed women resent the forced association with the gay (and lesbian community’s for transsexed men) community’s transvestites that make these movies. Oh and by the way, your community’s transvestites working in the sex industry rarely take hormones since it DOES diminish sex drive. They opt for breast implants and other cosmetic surgeries instead.

Lesbians and gay men should be banned from the shelter as well since truly straight people do not have willing sexual contact with other people of the same sex. This would eliminate CH’s liability risk if they banned all GLB people from their shelters!

Sadly, here in Connecticut the few Trans youth we have in child welfare services are not even housed in state. They ship them out to Massachusetts.

Luckily for our GLBT youth here in Connecticut, we have Kamora and Robin to look over them. Typically there are about 120 GLB youth in our state’s child welfare system. Those two do a yeoman job getting the vulnerable GLB youth that are in the system placed in accepting foster homes.

polargirl360 | June 16, 2010 7:31 PM

Kamora and Robin do a yeomen job getting vulnerable GLB into foster homes.

They don't even attempt to find any for trans youth. They just ship them out of state!

Nice women there. Fucking bigots!

Why do you say that glb-T youth are lucky when in your preceding paragraph you said they get shipped out of state? You don't realize how dishonest and stupid you look when you contradict yourself!

I was discovered to be physically intersexed by another shelter recipient who walked into the individual shower section I was in with the intent to start a fight.
It's not just a Trans issue. You don't even have to transition. Just be born looking different.

You learn to take showers alone.

Jeezus wept, I know what it's like, from the time I looked male. Mostly. Not in the shower though. Hanging back in Gym class so you're in the shower as the last is leaving... been there, done that, got the farnarckling T-shirt. As if showering with a bunch of guys wasn't bad enough in itself.

When the girl who discovered I was intersexed told the staff, they made me get a "physical" at the little medical place attached next door. When it was confirmed I was indeed intersexed, I was told I had to leave the shelter because they had no place for me.

I was kicked out 2 days before my 16th birthday.

Yeah. Exactly.

Now explain to me about this "incrementalism" again? You know, I think if people realised that IS kids were being treated this way, because of a (PC:Natural Variation;UnPC:Birth Defect) they might just get pretty darned angry at it, and support rights that Gays could take advantage of too? Maybe if this was publicised a bit more, that this happens EVERY FARNARCKLING DAY?

The Catholic Church has recently become very, very anti-Intersexed, in the last 18 months.

The reasoning behind it appears to be as follows:

There are many, many gay priests. Most are celibate, but celibate or not, there are many who are attracted to the same sex. Now, in order not to feel unbearably guilty about that, and as they're sexually frustrated, they can't help but think about it a lot, it's important that they be given some form of excuse. That there's nothing wrong per se with same-sex attraction, it's only same-sex behaviour that's wrong.

But how to casuistically find or manufacture a reason why it's not the attraction that's wrong, just the behaviour? That it is, in the words of the magisterium, "intrinsically disordered"? Tricky, that. But it's vital to do so, lest a large proportion of the priesthood - possibly even a majority - feel tortured by feelings they can't control. They can control their actions (well, most can) but not their attractions.

What's needed is something plausible - and of course Natural Law, which you can state without proof supports whatever claim you care to make, as long as it's not completely and obviously ridiculous.

Hence the notion that there is an indivisible and immutable boundary between Male and Female, that Nature supports this, and that to violate or blur this boundary is a threat to all Creation. That this is not an out-dated Metaphysics, but something very real and relevant today. Such a blurring, so contrary to nature, is a Threat to Mankind, and the Human Ecology. And same-sex sexual behaviour (but not attraction) blurs this line, so must be anathematised. There, simple, problem solved. And it all ties in nicely with the Theology of the Body too, a dogma very popular with the more conservative elements of the Church who wish to roll back Vatican II.

Except... there are side-effects. Unintended consequences. Those people who are born with bodies neither stereotypically male not stereotypically female, regardless of sexual behaviour, also blur this line. Blur? Some of us shatter it!

So we are a threat to Creation too. A threat to all Mankind. Because of what we were born as. Constantine the Great, venerated as a saint in the Eastern Rite, put intersexed infants in caskets and threw them into the river as a kind of ecological recycling program, for this very reason.

That means our existence must be denied, or at least suppressed. We're inconvenient facts, that must be kept out of the eye of the Faithful, lest they ask unanswerable questions.

Persecuting Gays is unjust - unless for a really good reason, such as preventing the "intrinsic disorder" of same-sex marriage. But persecuting us is a different matter, that's just by definition. One could even call it a matter of self-defence.

polargirl360 | June 16, 2010 11:13 PM

Please provide links to examples of the Catholic Church's anti-intersex stance in the last 18 months, especially policy changes if any. I am very interested in reading about it!



These have links in them.

The watershed appears to be the Pope's two speeches to the Curia and the Diplomatic Corps.

The ones where he stated that anyone that blurs the divide between the sexes is a "threat to the human ecology" ie Vermin, and where legislation to give such people human rights is an "attack".

The text of those two speeches is on the Vatican website.

I just do not understand why anyone supports or attends the Catholic church anymore. It has repeatedly shown throughout history that it is a highly bigoted, closed minded organization that claims to have sole access to God's love which it doles out to only those who follow their rules, without support in the Bible in most cases. I am ashamed to say I was raise Catholic, but I have no interest what so ever in attending a Catholic church, nor do I have any regard for their hierarchy. I do attend a church but it is one which does not condemn me out of hand.

Bill Perdue Bill Perdue | June 17, 2010 4:26 AM

LGBT youth are our future and in a very real sense, our children. The greatest shame of our movement is that we don't do enough to protect our young.

Large numbers of young LGBT folks are kicked out and end up in the streets, subject to rape, police violence and forced prostitution. Many abuse drugs and alcohol cope and far too many don't make it at all, ending up on a coroners slab before their lives really began.

Unquestionably we don't have the resources of governments but we should never fail to demand that they provide funds to GLBT groups to pay for decent housing, education that includes job training and full college/university scholarships, medical care, nutrition and a safe place to finish growing up.

Our legal groups, the ACLU and other advocacy groups need to prioritize the defense of LGBT children by providing services to emancipate them and get them out of abusive homes, out of christian 'therapy' camps, off the streets and into caring GLBT-run shelters.

The youth and children who need this care most are overwhelmingly working class of all ethnicities.

Religious charities are at base a PR effort to justify 'donations' and tithing. They should be examined rigorously to prevent abuse and rape especially if they're the only resource in a given area.

I don't see any reason why these places are allowed to stay open if they refuse service to some of their fellow human beings. Their failings outweigh their good.

I echo that and will go onto say given the abuses of the Catholic Church in general I find it hard to understand how anyone still claims to be Catholic. Before everyone gets all up in arms, I will say I was baptized as an infant in the Catholic Church and still have some members of my family that claim to be Catholic. Between the Catholic and some other churches have done their best to alienate anyone who is LGBTQ without Biblical authority to do so in my opinion. They either ignore the Bible ( as the Catholics seem to in many areas ) or they only selectively accept the Bible assigning what weight to a given verse they deem to be in their best interest. As far as their so called mission or service to the poor or needy, if they deny providing such to anyone who is LGBTQ they might as well not even bother to provide it to anyone. And that is a Biblical teaching. Many of us know it as the Golden Rule.

Thanks for your reply William. I understand your point. Just because someone is "X" doesn't mean this person is supposed to be associated with the "ABCX" community (unless ze wants to of course); As a matter of fact, some people that have transitioned genders do not even identify as trans. It's just a matter of self identification. I didn't imply that you identify with an affiliation to the LGBT community, I just simply stated that the reason why we associate together is to seek sexual and gender freedom and the protection of our human rights. So to sum things up: Yes, if queer people at BP wanted to organize and associate they could in practice form a LGBTQI-BP community if they wanted to.

William, Cristan's argument is not false. While her statement might not be all inclusive or entirely accurate for the whole trans community I am mostly certain that she knows more about the young intersex client than what you think of this homeless young girl's sexuality by watching tr*nny porn on your computer. Besides if you wanted to make a point you could've at least used intersex porn as a source and maybe provide some links so we could all learn about how intersex phalli become erect and their potential raping abilities.

The current Houston Covenant House's policy is to house residents based on the appearance of external genitalia not "biological gender" as you point it out. I suggest you read about the differences between gender and sex. We have to ensure that the rights of all people (gay, straight, cis, trans, intersex, queer, etc) are protected! The problem lies in ignorance, irrational fear and prejudice.

I am one of those involved in the negotiations with the Houston Covenant House. It is clear to us that the Covenant House systemically is discriminating against the homeless transgender children. Asking them to revert to their birth identified sex is possibly the same situation they experienced with their family of origin. Too many transgender children are denied by families and given to the state by voluntarily revoking their parental rights and responsibilities. Although the state takes control of these children, many times these children find the streets safer. Research supports this claim. We are attempting to get the Covenant House to document policies in regard of homeless transgender children. Currently there is no written policies.