Julian, 17

 

At 17 years old, Julian had spent most of his life living in abandoned buildings, homeless shelters, and his family's car. 

His mother's boyfriend would hit and abuse Julian, calling him gay and telling him to be a man. Julian did his best to avoid him. 

Although she never protected him and his upbringing was very difficult, Julian loved his mother unconditionally. 

As Julian got older the harassment persisted. Julian started spending nights out on the streets until he eventually stopped coming home to avoid being abused. 

LGBTQ youth are 8 times more likely to experience homelessness than non-LGBTQ youth. Many are rejected by their families and kicked out of their homes due to their identity; some, like Julian, are forced to run away from home to avoid abuse and homophobia. 

Julian found a community for himself on the streets. And, like many street homeless youth who are forced out of their homes he began to use drugs and alcohol to cope with his situation. Julian learned about AFC through one of our outreach workers and came into our 24 Hour Drop In Center for care. 

His first impression of our Drop In Center was that he felt safe and free to be who he is. -- He's right, AFC offers young people a safe environment where they can express their orientation, gender and true selves without judgement or fear of rejection. 

Julian is beginning to build his life back together. He's enrolled in our education program to finish High School and wants to study fashion. Even though he hasn't spoken to or seen her, he hopes that his mother will be proud of him when he graduates. But no matter what, we are helping him learn to find pride in himself.