NIGEL, 21

I grew up in Puerto Rico. I had two different step fathers, both were intolerant of my homosexuality. I was extremely flamboyant. When my stepfather found me wearing flamboyant stuff he would tell me being gay was wrong, and all this religious stuff. One night he grabbed me by the neck and choked me. My mother pulled him off of me.
 
I moved to New York. One night I found myself in a position where I had nowhere to stay. I had to sleep in the subway. A lot of people make fun of me for reading self-help books, but they helped me center myself that night. If not for that I would have been crying. I would have wanted to kill myself.
 
I've been working. But the panic attacks are a vicious circle. It's so stressful being homeless; it makes you very anxious. It's from not getting enough sleep. I get anxious not to have a panic attack, and that makes me have a panic attack.
 
If people don't want to help young people like me, things just get worse. Then we have to get involved in prostitution and drugs and stuff, just to get through. You can't just forget about us; if you do things only get worse.