WHO ARE WE?
Dorian Gray Galleries and The Dorian Gray Youth Foundation are a joint 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was developed to help provide funding and resources to homeless LGBTQ+ youth (ages 12 - 24) in Northeast Ohio, while increasing awareness of how and why this is an under served community. We act as a service connector and financial assistance provider to ensure that individuals in need are provided with either the funding or access to services or items needed.
Our mission is integral to us because at one point in both of the Founder's lives, they struggled with homelessness and the vulnerability that came along with finding LGBTQ+-specific resources. After navigating their own paths out of homelessness, they developed their careers but carried the lessons they learned. With the current state of the world, they wanted to lessen the struggles for future generations. Join Dorian Gray Youth Foundation in its mission to bridge the gap between hope and home!
If you would like more information on our mission or how funds from Dorian Gray Galleries is used, visit The Dorian Gray Youth Foundation!
WHY DO WE EXIST?
Currently, LGBTQ+ youth have a 120% higher risk of reporting homelessness compared to youth who identify as heterosexual and cisgender. It is estimated that LGBTQ+ youth make up to 40% of the unaccompanied homeless youth population (while only 5.6% of the total US population identify as LGBTQ+). This exponentially increases the risk of suicide, drug abuse, and risky sexual encounters. Oftentimes, LGBTQ+ youth become homeless from being forced out of their nuclear homes, leaving them with no access to a support system.
Frequently, homeless shelters or community centers do not focus directly on sexual orientation or gender identity when providing resources or shelter. This can lead to dangerous situations for homeless LGBTQ+ individuals who are often stigmatized in these areas or placed into shelters that do not designate their gender identity. Additionally, not all resources available are LGBTQ+-affirming, making it difficult for these at-risk youth to have access to safe and unbiased services/resources.
Most often, the community at large is unaware that these gaps exist. In addition to providing assistance, the Dorian Gray Youth Foundation seeks to bring awareness to the general public that the LGBTQ+ homeless community is underserved in the resources provided while encompassing a disproportionate percentage of those in need. Awareness is important to help those outside the community better understand our struggles and to help educate service providers (homeless shelters, community centers, religious institutions, etc) on where the gaps exist so that they can work to close them.
HOW IS DORIAN GRAY GALLERIES DIFFERENT THAN DORIAN GRAY YOUTH FOUNDATION?
The Dorian Gray Youth Foundation and Dorian Gray Galleries work together as one cohesive unit to support the mission of the Dorian Gray Youth Foundation. Dorian Gray Galleries acts as a funding source as all artwork is donated from individuals and sold under Dorian Gray Galleries. All proceeds from the sale of art (paintings, pottery, jewelry, antiques, etc) under Dorian Gray Galleries is kept within the Dorian Gray Youth Foundation. It is one our funding sources in addition to direct donations and fundraising events.
WHY THE NAME 'DORIAN GRAY'?
If you are unfamiliar with the story of Dorian Gray, it is a novel from Oscar Wilde about a young man who lives life without abandon as only his portrait is affected by his life choices. People often see the character of Dorian Gray as villainous due to his immorality. However, Dorian Gray was one of the first openly queer characters and was written in a time when such topics were still taboo. The book was written as Oscar Wilde was coming to terms with his own sexuality and refused to sensor the book at the request of publishers and public views. The book went on to be one of the most famous books in history. To us, Dorian Gray represents being unashamed and proud in the face of a society that so often misunderstands our importance.