Youth Story: Robert
In 11th grade, I made one of the best decisions of my life- I came to The Attic. I was scared and overwhelmed- dealing with coming out to unsupportive family members and being bullied at school for being gay. But, walking into The Attic was calming. I couldn’t believe I was standing in a room with a bunch of people like myself. It was a lot to take in, but I just felt really happy.
Growing up, even in elementary school, I knew that I was not straight. But I had a lot going on in my life so I couldn’t really think that much about my sexual orientation. I lived early on with an abusive step-mother. My father eventually broke up with her, but then he became ill. I had to enter the foster care system for a bit while he was in and out of the hospital. It was horrible. I got bullied all the time. Eventually, my father and I moved in with my Aunt. My father passed away when I was 12, and it was really hard.
So in high school, after I had started to process everything that had happened in my childhood, I decided to come out to my friend. I was terrified, but she ended up being really supportive. She helped me through that year of high school, when most of the other students were homophobic. A year later, I came out to my Aunt. She actually confronted me about my sexuality. I was honest with her, but she continues to be unsupportive and not accept me for who I am.
This is why coming to The Attic was the best thing that I have ever done. I love everyone’s encouragement and openness. The Attic helped me come out of a major depression, and feel as if my life had purpose. I am involved in The Attic’s high school internship program, both in the summer and during the school year. I write and perform poetry. I speak on panels with The Bryson Institute of The Attic, and I have even gotten to speak about LGBTQ youth homelessness and bullying in schools to the Philadelphia School District Administration.
The staff at The Attic have helped to spark my interest in writing and psychology. I am going to graduate from high school in May, and I plan to go to college and study both English and psychology so that I can eventually work at a school.
I am extremely grateful for all that The Attic has done for me and for everyone else. I consider The Attic my home, more so than the actual house that I live in. I hope that other LGBTQ youth make the decision, like I did, to come to The Attic and get involved, cause it will change their life for the better.