By the age of 6 Mariam knew there was something different about her. She was born male but she didn't feel as if she were male. Growing up she was bullied at school for "acting like a girl." At home her mother, father and older brother demanded that she "act like a man." As Mariam got older she recalls feeling very depressed, anxious, and worthless. She recalls feeling that she could deal with the bullying and harassment at school but that she could never deal with how her family treated her.
Mariam contemplated suicide many times but fortunately recognized that she wasn't the problem. Instead of taking her own life Mariam worked on a plan to runaway from home. Mariam learned about the Ali Forney Center on the internet and called our 24/7 Drop In Center where a counselor told her she was welcome in our space, that she was not alone and above all that we cared for her wellbeing - words she had never heard before. Within hours of arriving at our Drop In Center Mariam was placed in our Transgender Housing Program with other girls just like her. Within a few weeks Mariam began accessing counseling in preparation for hormone replacement therapy which is offered on-site at our Drop In Center's Medical Clinic.
Mariam is still plagued by the rejection of her family who will not speak to her but she is engaged in our mental health services that are helping her work through this trauma. She is also enrolled in our Career and Education Readiness Program that worked to get her placed in a school that embraces LGBT youth. Mariam is graduating from High School this June and plans on going to college to study business.