Eddie Redmayne, who earned an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of a real-life trans woman in “The Danish Girl,” got a bit of a shock when he toured the Los Angeles LGBT Center, according to CEO Lorri L. Jean.
“I think what surprised Eddie the most is that … 40% of the youth experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles are LGBT,” said Jean. “Think about how disproportionate that is to the percentage of LGBT people in the country.”
“We’re the only organization in town with beds and services, provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” she adds, “specifically for LGBT youth.”
Jean tells the story of Kenny, a boy told by his parents, “you’re better off killing yourself” when he refused treatment to “cure” him of being gay.
Kenny found the Center online, bought a bus ticket, and was able to get a bed and a job, with the center’s assistance.
But, says Jean, “too many aren’t as fortunate as Kenny, because our resources are completely strapped and our beds are full. We have waiting lists for our beds and are forced to turn away youth every night.”
That’s why, Jean explains, so many young people wind up living on the streets, using sex to get money for food, and often turn to drugs to cope.
“We try to reach them before it comes to that, but we can’t do it alone. I’m so grateful to Eddie for taping this heartfelt message.”
For more about the center’s services, see www.lalgbtcenter.org.