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Keerthy

Keerthy

I was living with my aunt until I was 21. Shortly before my birthday I told her I was transgender and wanted to transition. She didn’t like it so she kicked me out.

I slept rough in Greenwich in South London for a few months. I had good friends who kept me going through that time. On my birthday my friends came out to where I was sleeping at midnight, brought me a cake and stayed with me overnight.

My ID had been stolen when I was sleeping rough so when I went to a day centre in Greenwich to ask for help – they said they couldnt help me.  I went to a place in Deptford and they couldnt help me because I was too young. They told me to go to Old Street where again they couldnt help me because I had no ID! There they told me to go to New Horizons Youth Centre in Euston. This all took a long time and as I didnt have an oyster card I had to walk between all these places as well.

When I got to New Horizons they were able to help me. I told them I wanted to transition. They referred me an outreach team who found me and referred me into the No Second Night Out hub in North London on the same day.

It was kind of scary when I arrived. I didnt know anyone and a lot of people were a lot older than me. The staff were welcoming though, they treated me nice and I felt safe again better than being on the streets. And I made friends there.

The staff at NSNO worked to secure accommodation for Keerthy. Because she didn’t have ID and wasn’t eligible to claim benefits at that time she wasn’t able to access supported accommodation or even rent privately. NSNO started the process of applying for new ID, and alongside New Horizons arranged for her to move in with a host family through the Albert Kennedy Trust, a charity that works with LGBT young people.

Though the family were fine, it reminded me of being with my aunt. I was having bad memories and I had to leave.

After leaving the placement with the host family Keerthy accessed help from St Mungo’s Waltham Forest hub. By this point her new passport had finally come through so the team were able to refer her into a YMCA hostel.

I’m still staying at the YMCA. Its a good place. I get my own room and my own space and people are nice. Im looking for an LGBT group in the area I can join and Im still getting support from the staff at New Horizons – theyve supported me so much.

I’m now doing volunteering through the YMCA and a free photography course. Yesterday I was in Shoreditch with the group from my course taking photos of the graffiti there. I want to be a photographer and Im applying to photography apprenticeships at the moment too.

I’ve also received a call from Charing Cross Gender Clinic recently to say Ill have my first appointment with them in January next year. Im looking forward to it!

I was down when I first came to New Horizons and to NSNO but now I feel better. My life is getting better now.