It’s a sad fact that LGBTQ youth are more likely to find themselves on the streets than their heterosexual counterparts.
akt report that LGBTQ youth comprise up to 24% of the homeless population, with the main reason being familial rejection for simply being who they are and trying to live as their authentic selves.
What’s more, homeless LGBTQ youth who find themselves on the streets are significantly more likely to experience targeted violence, sexual exploitation and mental health problems.
Queer kids – or any young person – should not have to suffer homelessness, violence or abuse. Ever. That’s why partnerships like this one between Pret A Manger and akt are so vital to combating the persecution queer youth face.
This year, The Pret Foundation will dedicate 10p from each sale of their limited edition Love Bar to akt.
“Pret has been a long-time supporter of akt, and does incredible work supporting both us and other homelessness organisations,” said Carrie Reiners, Director of Fundraising at akt.
“Their time, generous donations and support over the years have been pivotal in enabling us to provide safe homes and better futures for LGBTQ+ young people.
“Pret kindly donated Love Bars to our Youth Conference in 2018, so we know first-hand that our young people love them, and so we were thrilled to be their Pride partner for this product this year.”
Carrie added: “We’d like to thank Pret for their ongoing support of akt and our work, the wider homelessness sector and for continuing to be a fabulous ally to the LGBT community.”
Formerly known as the Albert Kennedy Trust, akt are the UK’s LGBTQ youth homelessness charity.
Established in Manchester in 1989, the organisation aims to provide safe homes and better futures for young queer people.
In the past 30 years, akt has supported over 50,000 LGBTQ people and provided over 250,000 nights off the street.
Claire, a young queer person who has been supported by the charity, said “the opportunities they have to offer are endless and the encouragement and support akt are able to give to their clients is immense.”
“The patience and the caring nature of the people at akt saved me. They make me feel like an actual person,” commented another young LGBTQ person, Franki, while Lexi said “akt are the reason I am here today”.
The mission of the Pret Foundation is to end homelessness, previously supporting akt with their Rainbow Starter Pack initiative whilst also providing financial donations and welcoming young people to their Rising Stars employment programme.
akt has also launched two short videos that highlight all the incredible work they’ve done over the past 30 years, which includes incredible stories from queer youth whose lives were saved by the charity.
“I self-identified as trans at the age of 21/22, and I come from a Muslim background,” said Faz in the video. “It was very hard to say I’m trans to my family so I spent a lot of time trying to fight my identity.”
It wasn’t until he found solace with akt that he felt like he could live his life authentically (watch below).
If you want to support akt and their incredible work in fighting homelessness for queer youth, purchase a Love Bar this summer. Like we said, no one should have to suffer on the streets and face abuse for being who they are.