LGBT and homeless: 'I was told to contact my abusive dad'

March 10, 2020

A BBC Three investigation has found that some local councils across England are asking young LGBT people who have been forced to leave home to obtain letters from their parents as "proof" that they're homeless.

 

Saskia* was 15 when she perched on the edge of her parents' bed and told her mum, who was suffering from terminal cancer, that she wanted a sex change. She didn't yet know the word "transgender".

 

"I needed to tell her before she went," Saskia recalls.

 

Through the haze of illness, her mum hugged her. She died a few days later.

 

A year later, she told her dad, and his reaction couldn't have been more different.

 

He shouted a homophobic slur at her, she says, and put his hands around her throat.

 

When he wasn't being violent, Saskia says her dad would emotionally abuse her by talking angrily about how her transition would tear the family apart. Saskia's sibling messaged her, saying: "I wish you died instead of mum."

 

Eventually, after an explosive argument with her dad, where she was told she was no longer welcome at home, Saskia left the house to stay with a friend's family. 

 

"It was a very strange, scary night. I kept waking up not knowing where I was or what was going to happen to me," she says.

It didn't hit Saskia that she was homeless until a few days later. The items she had quickly scooped up into a bag were all she had now.

 

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