Being young, homeless and trans in Ireland in 2018
A SpunOut.ie reader shares their experience
This is an opinion of a young person and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of SpunOut.ie. It is one person's experience and may be different for you. If you'd like to write something for SpunOut.ie please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hi, I'm a 19 years old transgender guy from Meath, and I've been homeless and couch surfing for almost two months now. This is the first day I've been sick since I got kicked out. Right now as I'm writing this, I can't get over how lucky I am to be in a mate's house with somewhere to sleep and food to eat. Since I got kicked out, I've been moving constantly between the houses of three different friends and my girlfriend. Some of my friends' parents have been so nice about it, have offered so much help and insisted I'm welcome whenever. Others have (not intentionally, I think) made me feel like a bit of burden if I stay longer than two days and don't really believe I'm stuck like this. Which is fair, it doesn't really feel or sound like a real situation. How does a 19 year old end up homeless on his own? (Hint: have parents you never got along with and be transgender at the same time.)
I don't like having to rely on other people for almost everything, because I feel bad and have no way to pay them back for helping. But it's either that or find a street that would be semi-safe to sleep on, and I think we'd all go for the former. It's a very stressful situation (I take back everything I've ever said about the Leaving Cert now) and honestly I don't know if there's a way out of this.
I don't have an address anymore, so I can't get a job or jobseekers allowance or any source of money. I can't go to college if I wanted to. I have to rely on money from a gofundme campaign to pay for food, clothes and buses to all the places I'm able to stay, because of course none of my friends live in the same town. I can't get the antidepressants I was prescribed months ago because I can't get to where I did live, I can't change to a GP around here, I can't get a medical card, and even if I could get to a GP I couldn't afford an appointment.
I wish there was an easy fix for this, but this is a country with unregulated rent prices and greedy landlords. It's impossible for people with jobs to find places to live at reasonable prices and students are left on their own to find accommodation to go to college. If they can't do it, I don't see how it will ever be possible for me to do it.
Despite being stuck with nothing to do everyday with no job and no money, despite the mental breakdowns every few days, despite going hungry some nights, despite being completely stuck right now, despite feeling empty and useless to society, I am one of the lucky ones thanks to all the people I have trying to look out for and help me. There's so many other people and families that are homeless that don't have people to look out for them and all of us need help right now.
So next time you're out in Dublin or somewhere for the day, or you're walking around your own hometown, have some empathy for once. Educate yourself and quit complaining about homeless people and saying they should just "get a job" and stop "being a 'junkie."' It's impossible for me to emphasise enough how I'm feeling about this, nevermind how anyone else is. So I hope reading this has opened people's eyes a little bit.