Omar was 16-years-old when he first attempted suicide. He was bullied at school and abused at home because of his identity. He felt hopeless. His mother was accepting of him, but his stepfather was homophobic and abusive.
One night, Omar's stepfather came home drunk and slammed him against a wall, kicking and punching him, while calling him names. Throughout the abuse, Omar wished he was never born. He prayed for this incident to be the end of his life.
Broken by the hate and abuse, Omar ran away from home. He made his way to the village where he found other homeless youth; like him, many were LGBTQ. He recalls feeling accepted and at peace for the first time in his life. He particularly remembers not having to live in fear of his stepfather or of having to go back to school to be bullied by his peers.
On the streets, Omar met a man who took him in. There he was exploited sexually and abused emotionally. Omar quickly learned about the harsh realities of the streets. To cope, Omar became heavily addicted to drugs and alcohol.
LGBTQ youth are 120% more likely to experience homelessness than non-LGBTQ youth. Once homeless, LGBTQ youth are also more likely to experience substance abuse and suicidal ideation.
One day Omar had a series of severe panic attacks. He became manic and was determined to end his life. Fortunately, a friend on the streets told him about the Ali Forney Center.
Omar came in for a visit where he broke down. The years of abuse and the recent months surviving the streets had worn on him. He was immediately placed in our Emergency Housing Program and connected to an onsite doctor, and a mental health therapist.
Omar has been in our care for almost a year. The traumas of family rejection, bullying, exploitation, and street survival aren't easy to heal. The holidays, in particular, have been very difficult for him.
Omar wants to be a school teacher and have a family of his own. He says he wants to show a child the love he was never given.
Omar has relapsed several times in our care. Thanks to your generosity, we are here for him, together, no matter what to show him that he is worthy of being cared for, and he is worthy of love.