My dad was the one who kicked me out, but my mum didn’t try to stop him. I’d been at a Christmas party, and someone had seen me kissing another girl. They told my dad, I guess they thought he already knew I was a lesbian. Anyway, he didn’t, I wanted to wait till I was 18 before I came out as I didn’t know how he’d react. He’d made some pretty homophobic comments in the past.

He was so angry. I just remember it escalating so fast. He called me disgusting, and got abusive, and told me I had to get out. So I did.

It was freezing outside, and I didn’t have time to pack my things. I spent four nights on the streets before I found an abandoned building, and ended up staying there for a week. I think I was in a bit of shock. I didn’t know how to process what had happened.

It was a stranger who told me about AKT and where to find them. I had an assessment that afternoon, and that night I was warm in an queer-friendly hostel. It wasn’t my bed, but I’d never felt safer.

Thing is, it wasn’t just about helping me to find somewhere safe to sleep. AKT really looked after me, and helped me with things like applying for Job Seekers’ allowance. They also came with me when I went to get my passport and birth certificate from my family.

I stayed three weeks in that hostel before a room opened up at Purple Door, which is AKT’s safe home. That’s where I met my new family, really.

I’m working now and applying to uni, and for once I don’t have to hide anything about myself. I’m proud of who I am and who I’m going to be.

AKT’s Out of the Cold campaign will mean more LGBTQ+ young people never have to make the choice between a safe home and being who they are.

Your support means everything to a young person who’s found themselves with no where to go. Thank you.