Eddie Redmayne, who was nominated for an Oscar for his portrayal of a transgender woman in The Danish Girl, visited the Los Angeles LGBT Center this weekend.
Before donning a tux to attend the 88th Annual Academy Awards, Redmayne met with 70 homeless youth for breakfast, and "was shocked at what he learned," regarding LGBT homelessness, according to a statement from the center.
The British actor felt moved to provide support to the center, so he starred in a short video asking for donations, referencing the startling statistics regarding LGBT youth homelessness in Los Angeles.
"Here in L.A., a staggering 40 percent of the young people experiencing homelessness are lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender," Redmayne says in the video. He provides context about why many young LGBT youth experience homelessness:
"Many of them were abandoned by their families or forced to leave their homes simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The problem is especially acute for transgender youth who are far more likely to suffer violence and abuse on the streets and who have a much more difficult time of finding employment."
The LGBT Center is the only place in Los Angeles that has beds reserved specifically for LGBT youth, but those beds are often full, according to a news release from the Center. When the center is not able to help youth in need, they may spend time living on the streets. The center's CEO, Lorri L. Jean, shared the story of one youth who relies on the center's services in the statement:
"Kenny, a boy whose parents told him 'you’re better off killing yourself' after he refused 'treatment' to be 'cured' of being gay, is actually one of the lucky ones.
"Kenny found out about the Center’s services online and bought a bus ticket here, hoping we could help. Fortunately, we were able to get him one of our 48 beds right away, without him having to spend a single night on the streets.
"We also helped Kenny get his first job and are tutoring him to pass the GED exam. But 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. The consequences are dire."
Watch Eddie Redmayne's public service announcement for the L.A. LGBT Center below: