Thursday, November 23, 2017

Homeless Queer Youth Are Lured Into Abusive & Exploitative Relationships - A Personal Essay

Written by Christian Hill

For the LGBT community, marriage equality is a huge win and further establishes that we are worthy of the same rights as everyone else. However, in my own reality, marriage has not been on the top of my list of priorities.

Working at Camden Area Health Education Center with LGBT youth, primarily YMSM (young men who have sex with men) of color, I witness them struggle to cope with abusive partners daily. The thing I hear over and over is: “I want to leave him, but I have nowhere else to go.” It is disheartening to know that these young people have to endure life-threatening situations just to have a place to sleep at night.

I myself have fallen victim to interpersonal violence and, until this moment, have never really spoken about it. At the age of 18 I found myself living with a guy I had only known for about six months, cutting classes, eventually dropping out of college, and abusing alcohol and marijuana daily.  During the first six months I didn’t notice, but this guy was already luring me with controlling mechanisms, and I naively thought he only wanted the best for me. It began with him telling me how much he wanted to see me and talk to me, so I’d always make myself available, either on the phone or in person at his house. As the relationship progressed, his feelings of “missing me” became manipulations, forcing me to be available at all times or suffer accusations of infidelity and being a “whore.” READ MORE

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