Before moving to San Francisco, Angel was scared to express who he really was. As a young gay man of color, he didn’t feel proud of himself or deserving of acceptance. These feelings became hard to manage, and he turned to substance use to cope.

The turning point for Angel was finding a community within Larkin Street programs. Through this community, he found the confidence to seek employment, further his education, and work on his mental health. He began to realize he has great things to offer the world.

“The LGBTQ+ community has helped me celebrate the creative, fun, and loving person that I am, so giving back is very important to me.”

Now Angel celebrates Pride Month each year by doing drag shows that raise funds to support the LGBTQ+ community. This year, he’s also looking forward to attending and participating in virtual fundraising events.

To put Angel’s experience in context, youth of color and LGBTQ+ youth often experience a combination of stigma, family rejection and racism, resulting in significant overrepresentation in the overall youth homelessness population. Data have shown that they are at higher risk for COVID-19 infection, due to corresponding unemployment and inability to stay with family, factors that further drive homelessness. Systemic racism, homophobia, and transphobia mean thousands of young people like Angel are more likely to continue to struggle to survive and thrive.

At Larkin Street, we’re centering young people’s voices like Angel’s and addressing underlying structures that prevent them from reaching their potential.

LEVEL UP with Angel and help end youth homelessness for youth of color and LGBTQ+ youth by donating today.