In a story published earlier this week, the VA Pilot profiled the issue of transgender homelessness in the Commonwealth with a look at one person’s story.
Gabriel Alexander, a Florida resident and trans man, was facing homelessness before he found support through the online network Transgender Assistance Program of Virginia, or TAPVA. From there, he met De Sube, a self describe transgender advocate living in VA Beach.
Check out more from that story via the VA Pilot:
“I always wanted to leave Florida,” said Alexander, 24, a Fort Myers native. He hasn’t spoken to his father since he was 12 and has an estranged relationship with his mother. In 2005, he moved in with his half brother’s family, and while living with them received Facebook messages from distant relatives telling him he couldn’t be a man because God made him a woman.
“They didn’t want me to be who I am,” he said. “I didn’t decide to be like this.”
With the rent-free lease running out at the end of the summer, Alexander had to find a place to live. The silver lining came in August when a friend introduced him to the Transgender Assistance Program of Virginia, which works to end homelessness in the transgender community. That led him to De Sube, a local trans advocate who has taken him in.
She knows what Alexander is going through because she’s been through it herself.
“We’re certainly friends, and at times I feel like a mentor with his transition and issues he’s facing in his life,” Sube said.
The story quotes numbers from a 2015 survey of Transgender Virginians who reported 6 percent were unemployed, 23 percent were in poverty, and 26 percent were homeless at one point in their life.
“I think a lot of it is based, especially in the Hampton Roads area, on people who haven’t evolved to understand that trans people are having a difficult time coming into their own and being themselves, especially to their parents,” Samuel Velazquez, a board member for the Transgender Assistance Program, told the Pilot.