Five LGBTI people have revealed the difficulty they faced when they were homeless.
At the Homelessness panel at National Student Pride, many people told their harrowing stories today (10 February).
It comes as it was revealed one in four young homeless people are LGBT.
Around 8,000 people slept rough in 2016 across the UK.
Homeless after being attacked in your own home
Matthew, who now works for LGBT charity Galop, said he dealt with a client that knew the moment they had to leave.
‘He had been beaten up by his neighbors in his own home. A bottle was smashed over his face,’ he said.
‘But he didn’t go the police. He didn’t want to engage with them. A week after that, he rang up and said he didn’t have a place to go.
‘When I told him that a shelter can be a very difficult place to be LGBT, I didn’t hear from him for two months.’
Matthew said he tried to go to the homeless unit but was stopped because he was HIV positive.
‘I went from one abusive situation to another’
‘I went from one abusive situation to another,’ he said.
Bridie, who lives in Newcastle, was forced to leave his home by his stepdad. He dealt with domestic abuse and family illness.
‘I’d spend weeks on end at a friend’s house,’ he said.
‘It’s not a good way to live. Nobody should feel like they have to lie to their parents.’
He added: ‘I now live in an Albert Kennedy Trust property.’
Anira, a trans woman, came from Denmark to London. But due to not being able to keep a job, she couch-surfed for months.
‘People would take pictures and film me,’ she said.
‘I was just outside, trying to spend my time out and about. It was rude.’
‘It was unacceptable to be trans [in my family]’
A trans guy from a Pakistani-Iranian family, who was not named at the panel, lost his father when he was young.
From a very young age, he knew he was not a girl. One time, he cut his plaits off to the shock of his mother.
At 15, his mother died. And while his mother wasn’t accepting of his gender identity, the aunt that took him in was worse.
‘It was unacceptable to be trans,’ he said.
‘We had a lot of arguments and fights… I felt invalidated.’
Carla, a outreach worker, said she had dealt with domestic abuse that led her to staying with friends for six months.
For some people there’s one damaging situation,’ she said. saying she felt like she was ‘broken down by different experiences’.
‘Our community is made up of the hidden homeless.’
‘Our community is made up of the hidden homeless.
‘People have this idea if you’re homeless you’re in a doorway. Most people who are couch-surfing don’t think of themselves as homeless.
‘There are people who live in those clubs and bars and go home to different people every night.
‘Those people are still homeless.
‘There’s just more risk being visibly out in the street.’
If you are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless and you live in the UK, seek help with the Albert Kennedy Trust.
Gay Star News is a media partner of National Student Pride.
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