Author: Carolyn Jones
PHOTO BY ALISON YIN FOR EDSOURCE
Homeless LGBT students say they often feel isolated and alone, and have a hard time finding a supportive network of peers.
Throughout high school and college, Alicia slept in cars, tents, friends’ couches, benches, on the bus, on the train and in group homes. Almost anywhere but a shelter.
“My experience with shelters is that you’d go when it was raining. You’d go to San Francisco, wait in line and sleep on the floor, if you slept at all,” the serious, soft-spoken Oakland woman, who’s now 22, said last week. “It’s scary enough to be a young person there. But if you’re queer you just feel a lot more vulnerable. You definitely avoid them.”
Alicia is still homeless but lives at a youth shelter in Oakland. She asked that her real name not be used to protect her identity.