This holiday season, the Ali Forney Center will release a weekly slideshow as part of its Homeless for the Holidays series, featuring homeless LGBT youth sharing their struggles to survive without shelter.
In the premiere installment, Rigo discusses getting kicked out of his house, and how with nowhere to go, he enlisted in the Marines. After he returned from service, however, he still had no home to return to and even contemplated suicide.
Rigo is just one of 1,600 homeless LGBT youth in New York City, though the city only provides 250 youth shelter beds.
“Please try to empathize with what it is like to be young, abandoned, and alone on the streets of our city,” wrote Ali Forney Executive Director Carl Siciliano. “What they have to say is painful and disturbing to hear. But they need us to listen. The only call to action I am asking for in response is to share their stories as much as you possibly can.”