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AKT supports young LGBT 16-25 year olds who are made homeless or living in a hostile environment.

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Zeph’s Story (Aged 20)

My family were always being hostile to me about my gender identity and my sexuality. I was always being told it was wrong. I felt ostracised by my family- they would all stop talking when I entered the room and finally I was kicked out by my Mum on my 16th birthday- she just started going crazy and throwing things at me, saying I made her sick and that I was an embarrassment. I hadn’t done anything wrong but she told me to shut up and shouted at me to get out.

So I left last summer and went to the Local Authority, who sent me to a homeless youth centre- they sent me to the job centre to get a crisis loan. But it was too overwhelming so I told the worker I had gone back to my family, though really I was staying on friend’s sofas and only sometimes stayed at home. But things were still bad at home - they wouldn’t let me attend my brother’s christening and didn’t speak to me.

I had heard about AKT at a college LGBT group and then a friend used their service and said I should contact them. So I called them and was offered an appointment with Michael, who gave me advice and information and filled in hostel and housing application forms for me. But when I went to see a flat, I realised I wasn’t ready to live on my own and it was miles away- I was worried about not seeing anyone and being really lonely and sad. I told Michael how I felt and he said there were some AKT carers who lived near my college and a week later I met Richard and Andrew. We met up a couple of times to get to know each other and then they invited me over to spend Xmas with them. This was such a relief as I was dreading spending it with my family.

Things have been really great since then- I moved in with them in early 2012. With Michael, they helped explain to college why my attendance had been so bad and with their support and a stable home, I completed a Foundation Course In Fashion and got a place at university to study fashion, which was always a dream.

The most important thing I got from my placement was being around people who are LGBT and who lead successful happy lives together- they confirmed I was not crazy or wrong; they are lovely, supportive carers who I can talk to. I also have an AKT mentor- it’s brilliant having someone else to talk to and she helps me out too, giving me a different angle on things as a woman and she helps me to figure things out. She was the first person I felt I could talk to about my gender and sexuality, and being in placement gave me the time and somewhere safe to think about it.

AKT are amazing, I didn’t think I would get a call back, but they have given me everything I have asked for and more- I have learnt how to cook and other life skills. I went to the ALBERTS, the zoo trip and the sailing residential with them and they organised a self-defence class for me because of all the transphobia I experience. They have helped me recover and to get onto my dream course.

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