Damien McAndrews has everything he dreamed about as a child; a dog and a safe place to call home. Two years ago, the teen didn’t know where he would end up. At 16, McAndrews left his parents Edmonton-area home. Armed with a suitcase full of clothes and a laptop, he turned to the streets.
“My parents weren’t, at the time, accepting of me being transgender,” he said. “So I left.”
McAndrews bounced around shelters and was open and honest with the staff about his gender identity. He fears others in the same situation won’t be.
“Thankfully, the staff at my shelter were very accepting. Some of the clients weren’t.”
McAndrews said he met other people too scared to reveal their gender identity or sexuality and feared being targeted outside of the shelter. Earlier this month, the province announced new LGBTQ2S guidelines for shelters and housing programs.
The province pointed to research that showed LGBTQ2S youth experience higher rates of homelessness, primarily because of family rejection due to gender identity or sexual orientation. Read more via Global News