Martin grew up in the south. He was one of six boys and was brought up in a humble and loving home. His father was a minister, the family spent a lot of time at church, they prayed before meals, and often read the bible together. His happiest memory growing up was waking on on Christmas morning and helping his mother cook breakfast for the family.
When Martin was 14, he started to realize he liked boys. His father always condemned LGBTQ people. He knew he would not be accepted. He tried to talk to his mother about it but she told him he needed to pray and not to tell his father.
Martin prayed that god would fix him.
Martin's relationship with his family started to deteriorate. His mother started to treat him differently, not letting him spend time alone with his brothers. His father started talking more and more about gay people, saying they would go to hell, that they were living in sin. Martin was becoming a target. He started becoming withdrawn and depressed.
One morning Martin's father stormed into his room asking him if he was gay. All Martin could do was cry. That night, Martin prayed to not wake up. It was the first time he ever felt he wanted his life to be over. Sadly, Martin started to think about ways to end his life.
Martin stopped praying to be healed and started praying to be dead.
When deprived of support and acceptance, young people are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, and, tragically, suicidal thoughts. In fact, LGBTQ youths who are rejected by their families are eight times more likely to consider or attempt suicide.
Fortunately, Martin decided to look for help online which is where he found the Ali Forney Center. He messaged with one of our outreach workers who was ready to offer him a bed in our Emergency Housing Program.
When Martin arrived at our Drop-In Center he cried. He found himself in a place with other young people, like himself. And, while he realized he was now homeless, Martin felt relieved to not be ashamed of who he is.
Martin misses his family and still prays for help, but now he's praying that his family will accept him.