By now it’s no secret that Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc last month, leaving many without power or heat for long stretches at a time, destroying homes, and in some cases taking lives. Amy wrote a powerful piece on sexual violence in the aftermath of Sandy, which detailed the ways in which women face heightened risk of sexual assault, domestic violence, and loss of health and maternal services, particularly in shelter or relief camp situations.
Now it’s time to throw our support behind an awesome effort to support a group of people who were also disproportionately affected by the hurricane: homeless LGBTQ youth.
My colleague Jacob Tobia, featured in the video below, is raising money for the Ali Forney Center, NYC’s leading shelter for homeless LGBT youth, which incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage due to Hurricane Sandy.
Here’s an explanation, in his own words, of why this run means a lot to him:
“Dec. 15 marks the five-year anniversary of my coming out to my parents. Five years ago I gathered my mom and dad around the kitchen table. Five years ago my hands shook as I struggled to pull myself together. Five years ago I took a leap of faith.
When I told my parents that I was gay, I didn’t know what would come of it. I didn’t know that, five years later, I would be studying at an amazing school, surrounded by a supportive community and filled to the top with love. On that December night my life could have taken a turn for the worse; my parents could have kicked me out of the house.
Kick me out of the house and the fundamental trajectory of my life changes. Instead of spending my sophomore year of high school working to pass my exams, learning my lines as Prince Charming in the school play, or serving as an officer in student government, I would have spent my time straying from friend’s house to friend’s house, worrying about where my next meal would come from and hoping that I’d have a place to sleep the next night.
The reality is that for LGBT youth across the country, having a home makes all the difference. And in New York City thousands of LGBT youth still don’t have one.”
I think we can all agree this is a wonderfully creative way to raise money for a great cause. Click here to support his run by making a donation to the Ali Forney center , and those of you in the NYC area should consider coming out on Saturday to cheer him on!