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Usually alone, often uncared for, haunted by poverty, unsure of the present and frightened by the future; these are the real life problems currently facing so many New York City children in the foster care system. National studies indicate that up to 50% of children in foster care programs will eventually face homelessness, incarceration in the penal system and hospitalization for physical and mental health problems. These challenges take on an even more significant role in the lives of boys and girls coping with gender identity and sexual orientation issues. Traditionally ignored and marginalized, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth often times face adulthood in a state of acute isolation during adolescence, the most vulnerable time in their lives. Yet this despair, aptly described as the shadow of “the love that dares not speak its name,” now gives way to a new light of hope and promise.

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