LOC, 22

When I was growing up, my mother was the only one who understood me. I felt she knew I was gay. She shielded me from my father, from his judgement and criticism.

When she died I felt that my world came crashing down. I was thirteen. Everyone who was in my life when my mother was alive turned their back on me. My father treated me very different from my brothers and sister. He took them shopping for clothes, but not me. For three years I had to wear the same clothes.

My father found out I was gay when I was 17. He said he didn't love me, that he should have made my mother abort me. A week or so later we got into a big fight. He made me leave.

After that I called my grandmother. I asked her if I could stay with her for a week or two while I figured out my next move. She said "No", because her husband didn't like gay people. I tried to go to other family but nobody took me in.

I stayed in the subway for three months. I could barely sleep, because if the police saw me sleeping they would kick me off the train, or threaten to lock me up.

During that time I went to my cousin's house to take showers and sneak food from her refrigerator. One day I was feeling like I was already dead. I was in the shower, crying. When I got out I looked in her medicine cabinet. I took 60 pills. I woke up in the hospital. When I got myself discharged it was back to sleeping on the subway.

I'm happier now. I've been with my boyfriend for seven months. I feel like I have someone who gives me love, compassion, who supports me. I don't feel so alone.

I'm doing a food service internship at the Ali Forney Center. I love it. I spent a lot of time with my mother in the kitchen and it brings back so many happy memories.