Ty, a young adult who identifies as nonbinary and transgender, lost their mom at a young age. While home life was uncertain with their dad, who couldn’t fully accept that Ty wouldn’t be keeping their birth name, Ty found Pacific Clinics’ Hope Drop-In Center – a program that offers a place of belonging to youth ages 16-25 in San Jose, Irwindale and Oxnard. The Hope Drop-In Center provides youth access to warm food, hot showers, laundry services, as well as help with homework and preparing for job interviews, and a safe and accepting environment.
“To say the [San Jose-based] Hope Drop-In Center has helped me out would be an understatement,” says Ty. “The Hope Drop-In Center was there for me when I was going through major life changes, when celebrating milestones and anniversaries, when I didn’t have money for the laundry and even when I was going through some of my worst bouts of depression. They were always there for me when family couldn’t be.”
According to a recent survey published by The Trevor Project about LGBT+ youth, 73% reported experiencing symptoms of anxiety, 58% reported experiencing symptoms of depression, and 45% seriously considered suicide in the past year. However, attending a LGBT-affirming school, feeling a high level of social support from their family, having access to mental health care, and living in or having a community that is accepting of LGBT+ people has shown to dramatically reduce these too-high numbers.
“For youth who don’t fit the heteronormative, gender conforming profile, every day is a struggle. Satisfying society’s expectations of how one is supposed to behave and look can be a great source of stress, anxiety and disappointment, leading to self-harming behaviors and substance use,” says Hope Drop-In Center Program Manager Jorge Mota. “People with different mental health challenges are regularly judged, disenfranchised and excluded from access to fundamental rights such as access to a job, education, and sometimes even denied the most basic of needs such as friendship, belonging to a community and economic prosperity.”
Despite these communal and individual challenges, Ty petitioned for a legal name change and recently received their new birth certificate.
“It was extremely validating to me,” says Ty. “In the little family we have here, we’ve always been very supportive of one another. When I did get my birth certificate, they called it my birthday. I don’t get that support at home.”
Learn more about Ty and our San Jose-based Hope Drop-In Center: