Born a female, James never felt completely comfortable in his skin. At 15, when he began to identify as male, he found no support from his family or friends in New Hampshire. Only his father seemed to understand his struggles, and seeing the pain that his child was going through, decided that they should leave their small town and relocate to Los Angeles.

Shortly after arriving in LA, his father struggled to provide for them both and eventually, they ended up homeless. James reached out to local resources that directed him to Youth Emerging Stronger’s Runaway and Homeless Youth Program. A safe space for youth in the LGBTQ community, living at the YES house was the first place James truly felt safe and accepted. He began working extremely hard in every area of his program goals, successfully completed high school and developed a long-term plan to become self-sufficient. YES staff also helped his father get connected to the resources he needed to get back on his feet.

Upon graduation, James entered our Transitional Living Program for extended support before making the transition to college. While in the program, he obtained a job with a local nonprofit, focused on supporting the Transgender community and met his target savings goal.  

In less than nine months, James moved to Berkley, California to attend college and further his advocacy goals in the Transgender community. He now sits on the board of a non-profit and received a promotion at his job. James continues to keep in contact with our staff and often receives life skills support.

More Stories