Jama Shelton, MSW '04, LMSW, Ph.D. is a nationally recognized leader on the issue of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth homelessness with more than 14 years of experience working with LGBT youth, the last 10 of which were focused specifically on the issue of homelessness. Jama’s dissertation research highlighted the experiences of transgender young people experiencing homelessness. After receiving an MSW in 2004, Jama began a 9-year stint at the Ali Forney Center, an organization that provides housing and supportive services for LGBT youth experiencing homelessness.
Currently, Dr. Shelton is the True Colors Fund’s Forty to None Project Director, the only national organization focused solely on the issue of LGBT youth homelessness. In this role, Jama is engaged in systemic change efforts directly informed by years of direct practice experience. Having worked in the areas of direct clinical practice with LGBT youth experiencing homelessness, as well as program development, program evaluation, research, technical assistance and training, Dr. Shelton brings a comprehensive understanding of the issues facing both homeless LGBT youth and also the service providers with whom they work. Through public education, advocacy, research, and capacity building, the Forty to None Project seeks to reduce the disproportionate representation of LGBT youth in the population of youth experiencing homelessness.
Of particular importance in Dr. Shelton’s work is the role of cisnormativity in the production and maintenance of transphobia. Dr. Shelton is also an adjunct professor at the NYU Silver School of Social Work and the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College.