Oh My Shelves welcomes Heidi Cullinan to the blog. We are excited to be apart of the Enjoy The Dance Blog Tour. Check out the post to find out LGBT Youth Homelessness and the resources you can find to help. Don’t forget to follow the tour to enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway!!!
Short Summary: Set against the backdrop of the marriage equality and immigration struggles of 2012, kindergarten teacher Spenser Harris and dance instructor Tomás Jimenez fall in love while helping a troubled youth, but the public spotlight their effort draws threatens their relationship, their careers, and their families.
LGBT youth homelessness has been a cause I’ve addressed in my books before, and I’ve urged readers to consider donating to causes before in blog tours and other social media campaigns, but in Enjoy the Dance I’ve made the issue an integral part of the story in what I home is a way to put a more human face on the issue.
We hear the word “homeless” and think of old men in stocking caps with scruffy beards and women wearing too many sweaters with hair sticking up, pushing shopping carts full of assorted belongings on movie sets. The reality is much more complicated and all around you. It’s a lot younger. And a lot of that population is queer.
This is a three part fact series about LGBT youth homelessness. You can read more at Gay Book Reviews and Bayou Book Junkie, and of course check out the rest of the Blog Tour for other facts and behind the scenes information.
If you want to be part of the solution to stopping LGBT youth homelessness, here is a list of resources to get you started. If you know of more resources, email me, and I’ll add them to my list.
LGBT HOMELESS YOUTH FACTS, PART 3
The most frequently cited factor contributing to LGBT homelessness was family rejection based on sexual orientation and gender identity, with the second most common reason of being forced out by their parents after coming out, according to the Williams Institute, UCLA School of Law, et al. At school LGBT students often face harassment, both physical and verbal, which leads to high dropout rates.
- Gay and transgender students are two-times less likely to finish high school or pursue a college education compared to the national average.
- 86 percent: The portion of gay and lesbian students who reported being verbally harassed at school due to their sexual orientation in 2007.
- 44 percent: The portion of gay and lesbian students who reported being physically harassed at school because of their sexual orientation in 2007.
- 22 percent: The portion of gay and transgender students who reported having been physically attacked in school in 2007, with 60% saying they did not report the incidents because they believed no one would care.
- 31 percent: The portion of gay and transgender students who report incidents of harassment and violence at school to staff, only to receive no response. LGBT youth are also disproportionally homeless due to overt discrimination when seeking alternative housing – widespread discrimination in federally funded institutions frequently contributes to the growing rates of homelessness among LGBT youth. Once homeless, these youth experience greater physical and sexual exploitation than their heterosexual counterparts.
Enjoy The Dance: by Heidi Cullinan
Series: Dancing #2
Release Date:October 11, 2016
Pages: 80,000 words • Format:Novel
Published By: Heidi Cullinan
Amazon • ARe • Barnes & Noble • Smashwords
Dance with your heart, and love will follow.
Kindergarten teacher Spenser Harris has carved a quiet, stable future out of his tumultuous past, but his world turns upside down the night a homeless teen appears on his doorstep—a boy whose story mirrors the one Spenser has worked so hard to overcome. The decision to shelter Duon is easy. What’s tricky is juggling the network of caregivers in Duon’s life, especially Tomás Jimenez.
Tomás wouldn’t have hesitated to take Duon in, but his plate is already full working three jobs to support his family. Though Spenser’s carefully constructed walls are clearly designed to keep the world at bay, Tomás pushes past Spenser’s defenses, determined to ensure the man is worthy of his charge. As the two of them grow closer, Tomás dares to dream of a life beyond his responsibilities, and Spenser begins to believe he might finally find a home of his own after all.
But Spenser and Tomás’s world is poised to crash around their ears. Duon’s grandmother isn’t sure she wants him to be raised by a gay man and challenges Spenser’s custody. Tomás’s undocumented parents could be deported at any time, and all the while the state of Minnesota votes on a constitutional amendment against marriage equality and the US Supreme Court debates whether or not Spenser and Tomás get a happily ever after. All they can do is hold tight to their love, hope for a better future…and remind each other to enjoy the dance.
Enjoy the Dance Prize Pack
Enjoy the Dance paperback, Dance with Me paperback, No House To Call My Home paperback, MIKA The Origin of Love CD, a box of Lady Grey tea, a bottle of Tajìn seasoning.
About Heidi Cullinan
Heidi Cullinan has always enjoyed a good love story, provided it has a happy ending. Proud to be from the first Midwestern state with full marriage equality, Heidi is a vocal advocate for LGBT rights. She writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading, playing with her cats, and watching television with her family. Find out more about Heidi@heidicullinan.com