As Pride Month draws to a close, we want to reflect on some of the conversations we’ve had with people who identify as LGBTQ+. We know from people who contact us for support that, unfortunately, not everyone feels safe and comfortable in their environment.
One of our valued Chat Volunteers, Lisa*, supported a 20-year-old transgender person, Alex.
Alex felt unsafe at home due to their parents not accepting them, not respecting their privacy or boundaries, and even becoming violent at times. They didn’t know where to go or how to get the support they need but did not feel social services would be an option.
While Alex’s friends were supportive, they were unable to offer accommodation. Alex also did not feel safe going to extended family members.
Lisa explored their situation with Alex and reinforced that what was happening at home was wrong and that they did not deserve to be experiencing this. Once their need was identified, Lisa was able to signpost them to the best service for accommodation for young people. Lisa checked if they needed anything else and made sure they were safe before ending the chat.
Alex was very grateful for the support and guidance offered:
“Thank you, the information given has been very helpful thank you very much”
Our Helpline team received a call from 14-year-old, Harper. Harper stated they had run away and explained that they were sure they were a non-binary lesbian.
Harper went on to say that they have known this for a long time and felt that they should tell their family. They explained that they now lived with their grandparents and had been in care for 10 months. Harper then described their family situation. They had been abused by their stepfather and had a subsequent relationship breakdown with their mother.
They stated that their relationship with their mum is better, but they can’t live with their mum now.
Harper explained that their grandparents had told them that they ‘can’t be non-binary and a lesbian, it’s one or the other, and you’re too young to know that type of thing’. They stated that a row ensued, and they felt that they were being patronised and that their grandparents were being potentially homophobic.
One of our Helpline team, George, discussed safety and Harper stated that they were going to a friend’s home. They could probably stay there for a few days as it was the school holidays. We discussed whether their grandparents would report them missing.
Harper stated that they would keep their phone tracker on so that they could be found easily. They needed some space to work things out.
George spoke with Harper for a bit about support and we suggested ‘Mermaids’ as they could also advise their grandparents. Harper stated they would look at the website and would keep in touch with us, as they felt they could talk to us.
George explained we could do a Message Home or 3-way calls if they wanted. George encouraged them to think about what feels right for them and to contact us any time.
At the end of the call, Harper was grateful and felt better:
‘Thanks for listening to me and letting me talk. No one else does that.’
We believe that more must be done to protect vulnerable people belonging to Queer communities. We are proud to offer a safe space to support LGBTQ+ people who are thinking about leaving or are currently away from home.
No matter the circumstances, we will never judge, and anything discussed is anonymous and confidential. No one should feel unsafe or made to feel ashamed because of their sexuality.
If you need support related to issues mentioned here, please contact our Helpline on 116 000 or click the button below to access our Online Chat.I want to access the Online Chat
*names changed to protect the individual’s confidentiality.