HOLLYWOOD, Calif. — Coming out to family members can be a liberating or devastating process. Not knowing how his family would respond, Tryron Ramsey, a gay man, took a leap of faith by sharing his former secret with family less than two years ago.
“It was bittersweet. You know. Some people accepted it. Some family members didn’t. The one’s that I really cared about felt some kind of way and that’s when they kicked me out,” Ramsey said.
That reaction left 22-year-old Ramsey heartbroken and homeless in Los Angeles.
“Once that happened, I just knew that I had to take my life into my own hands and I had to really try and proceed on with my life to do better for me,” Ramsey said.
After two days, Ramsey reached out to the Los Angeles LGBT Center, a nonprofit that provides health services, job training, housing, and other resources for LGBTQ individuals like Ramsey, in need. More than 4,000 transitional youth, ages 18-24 were found to be homeless in L.A. County according to the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority. The center believes about 40% of those youths are LGBTQ and mostly in the Hollywood area. During the pandemic, Erica Rodriguez, who works with the Center, shared that they are seeing an increase of LGBTQ transitional youth being pushed out of their homes.
“The pandemic doesn’t stop individuals struggling with homes that are violent that are non-accepting, non-affirming. The only thing that the pandemic has done is make it harder for them to leave their home and get the resources they normally would,” Rodriguez said.
Throughout the pandemic the Center has remained open with modifications to continue to provide their services. After completing a three-month culinary program Ramsey was able to find work as a barista for the Center’s recently opened Liberation Coffee House. He also gained housing and found a sense of belonging.
“I feel really happy that I tried, you know. I’m actually really thankful that I had this fire inside of me to not give up on myself,” Ramsey said.
Now, Ramsey is living life on his own terms in hopes of one day finding family who accepts him for who he is.