Group hosts conference for homeless gay, lesbian teens

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SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah Pride Center is hosting its inaugural Family Acceptance Conference. The purpose is to promote understanding in families with gay children and to help these young people who are homeless.

Directors of The Utah Pride Center have worked with homeless young people for more than a decade. With this three-day conference, they say they hope to reunite families.

Hundreds of Utah teenagers are homeless. Some have aged out of foster care; others have parents who ask them to leave home because the young people are gay, lesbian or questioning their sexuality.

The conference meetings and speakers will address the risks this group faces from safety, to diseases, to depression. The Pride Center says 42 percent of homeless youth identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

"In addition to mental health being a negative outcome of these unaccepting environments, we really want to make sure these youth have places to live that are safe and a roof over their head," said Marina Gomberg, director of development and marketing at the Utah Pride Center.

The Family Acceptance Conference runs through Sunday at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Salt Lake.


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Carole Mikita


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