Around the age of twelve, thirteen is when I first discovered that I was LGBT, and was having a lot of questions in my mind, like how life is supposed to be? Or what I supposed to be like? Or figuring anything out, period. And at that age, that’s when I realized, the way I was feeling, my feelings weren’t as accepted as other people’s feelings. Or what they wanted to be or do in life.
I’m a very artistic guy, I love to sing, dance, all that type of stuff. I was a very openly free guy at first, but when, once I realized how much that was valued where I was at, it kind of put me more is a space of seclusion and looking in, just surviving till I could escape. To be free. To become myself.
There’s six of us. I am one of the middle children. I’m the youngest boy of four and have two younger sisters, there were plenty of times growing up where family arguments, debates and my preference of lifestyle would be the main target or main focus, on me being different and to put me down in a sense of where the lifestyle I chose, or to live, was not accepted, period.
During school, around that age, family didn’t want to be around me in school or school really wasn’t the place I could really be free around that age. I have one cousin that was himself LGBT, but, he was very down low about it. I was able to confide in him. But us still as a whole wasn’t’ able to be ourselves, period. We were able to be ourselves around each other and that kind of was my escape from my other family. Around that age, growing up, that’s where I went to talk to if I had any questions. But then they ended up moving away, so I lost that.
There never was a “coming up” conversation, but one of my mother’s… my mother went to one of her boyfriend’s one time and was crying because she thought, but not that she thought, because she knew that I was gay, and so, he came to talk to me and, you know, “man to man”, and he wanted to, you know… He tried to, you know, basically, you know, let me know that no mother really wants their son to be “that way”. They want to see you have children and grow up and have a family and it all sort of breaks down… because that’s how she was raised and that’s what she wanted. It does create a sense of distance, a sense of… I don’t feel sometimes not as worthy enough to come to her and talk or feel like I’m going to get the support that I need, because of that.
My family was pretty well set off at first, they were pretty financially stable but midway through college, my mama lost her businesses. First she wasn’t able to really financially support me, and then two, it’s not really a connection there in the first place, so I really felt forced to really go out there and get it on my own.
It’s a really lost feeling because you start to question everything you’ve done so far and you question your self worth because everybody has somewhere they can run back to at the end of the day, where if all hell breaks loose, I know this is where I can go to rely on this, or this is where I can go if all fails, or this is where I can go eat tonight. My biggest thing for going to school was to make sure that I never have to rely on nobody again. And then, my biggest hurdle, as soon as I graduated, was trying to find somebody to rely on to even have the basic needs of survival. It was a big world changer-upside-down, because I went from a party kid in school not paying, not having to pay no bills to trying to figure out where am I going to lay my head. It was a really lost feeling, and you do a lot of self-evaluating and self-discovering. Figuring out what really matters in life.
I was homeless for about six to eight months total. I went to so many different people, friends. Trying to stay with a friend and see would that work out. Or trying to move in with my boyfriend, trying to see if that worked out. So many situations to where you feel like you can go, when stuff like this happens. It didn’t work out. There were times I thought I was going to have to stay in the shelter, times I had to sleep in somebody’s car, times where I didn’t know where I was going to be, where I just ended up chillin’ with friends and spending the night, for the night, and still not know where I’m going to go the next day.
I was forced to move in with a sister here, and she’s not really a sister sister, but she was raised with us, and she was more accepting of me myself. But, her husband was Muslim. He works six months in and six months out, cause he works at an oil firm, so the times he wasn’t there, she actually did allow me to come and stay with them. But on his way, returning, she let him know so he wouldn’t be surprised that I was there but he wasn’t going for it, especially being that I was LGBT, he didn’t want me around his children. So I had to figure out what I was going to do. That’s when I was referred to Time Out Youth, by a friend, to Shakira. That’s when I learned about this place
Immediately when we sat down, I went over my story. Every need that I literally had was solved the next day. Transportation was, they gave me a bus pass that allowed me to go everywhere I wanted. It was monthly, so I could go get everything I could get done without relying on nobody for gas money, which allowed me to save more money to get somewhere to go. The space that they gave me, I didn’t have to pay any type of rent or any type of bill. So that gave me, any thing that I have coming in, or revenue, can be saved for me to find somewhere to go. They set me up with a home host program, which gave me time to set up my plan of how I wanted to live. It’s a safe place that they give you, where you have your own room, bathroom, they give you transportation , food card, all that stuff. Basic needs so you can have the time to allow your mind to really sit down and get a focus on what you really want to do. Apply for jobs. I ended up getting a full time job at Buffalo Wild Wings and then another part time job at the stadium. I’m currently room-mating with a friend that came back into town. I got my stable housing. I’m actually moving into another bigger house at the end of the month. Transportation, I had enough time to save up for a car as well. The resources that they gave me, really were like the peace of mind, was the biggest thing that I can take from it because it allowed me to really sit and get together how I wanted to transition because I went, literally, from being a boy, on his own, kind of doing what he wants to do, rebelling… to having to get stuff together and become full live. Grown situation type of things.
I was homeless for 6 or 8 months and it only took about a month and a half here to get me to where I’m at now. That is a big difference, and these are complete strangers. I didn’t know her before I got here. And they really treated me like family. I consider Shakira family to me because of how it turned around. That little piece of mind means a lot to me.
If it wasn’t for this small little Time Out Youth who was focused just on that, then I don’t know what I would do. If it wasn’t for me finding this I… to this day, I don’t know where I would be.