In America, up to 40% of youth experiencing homelessness identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.

The 40 of the Forty list gives lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth who have experiences with homelessness and/or housing instability a chance to speak for themselves. Youth are the experts of their own truths, and we aim to honor their voices and their stories. Our goal is to inspire hope and help reduce the stigma often associated with housing instability and homelessness.

The young people on the list were nominated by homeless youth service providers, social workers, educators, individuals, and other folks across the country. We asked each young person four questions that focus on their daily lived experiences, aspirations, and unique qualities. Throughout the interviewing process, we learned that there is more to the youth experience of homelessness than what is commonly heard, and noticed a thread that connects the unique experiences of these young people. Each youth allowed themselves to be vulnerable, and took the risk of sharing their story because they felt the need to be heard.

Over the course of forty weeks, we’ll be releasing full length interviews with each young person featured on our list. Subscribe to our YouTube channel to watch our in-depth True Views interviews highlighting some of the 40 of the Forty!

Amasha Greyson

Amasha Greyson

North Hollywood, CA

“If you never go after what seems impossible what are you living for?”

Angel VanStark

Angel VanStark

San Francisco, CA

“I wake up and I’m grateful for the sky above me and the ground below me. If the sun can do it, I can, too!”

AC

AC

Santa Cruz, CA

“I dream to live on my own, attend the appropriate graduate school program (M.A./PhD) or law school to ultimately obtain an administrator position for an organization serving immigrants, LGBT and/or incarcerated people.”

Anton

Anton

Anchorage, AK

“I try to make my goal everyday to make somebody smile at least once. It makes me happier, it makes my life easier. I like the funny aspect of a lot of things. I have to make something funny even if it’s the worst joke in the world.”


Aubrey

Aubrey

Los Angeles, CA

“My biggest dream is to open up a coffee consignment shop that sells high end pieces, and I also want an art gallery inside.”

Ben Burdick

Ben Burdick

Billings, MT

“I am currently writing a novel, and I want to have it published.”

Breezy

Breezy

Chicago, IL

“I want to advocate here (Chicago) for gender non-conforming folks.”

Cameron Patterson

Cameron Patterson

Seattle, WA

“My biggest dream is to use my own insights and experiences as a queer non binary, formerly homeless, state dependent youth, to change the lives of youth who are experiencing some of the same hardships and discrimination I did.”


Christian Aguilar

Christian Aguilar

Miami, FL

“I think of life very positively, and I am a happy individual that always has adventures on a daily basis regardless of what has or may occur in life. I look at it as a journey not a destination.”

Christian Joseph-Bradford Ross

Christian Joseph-Bradford Ross

Kansas City, MO

“I think about where my life is going to take me today and what struggles will I have to face. I also think about how I can be and impact on someone’s life.”

Cynthia

Cynthia

Sacramento, CA

“You’re stronger and smarter than you think you are.”

Daniella Carter

Daniella Carter

New York, NY

“In the future I see myself happy, affirmed.”


Daryl Balliet

Daryl Balliet

Columbus, OH

“I am constantly juggling all of my commitments. I have an active social life and balance that with my busy work schedule. I also try to stay close with my family. On top of that I am finishing my second bachelor’s degree in health care administration. I have a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing and an Associate degree in business already. I am also balancing my diagnoses of ADD and HIV on top of all that.”

Declan Cante

Declan Cante

San Francisco, CA

“I was reintroduced to my mom when I was 14. We have a relationship now and we talk about my advocacy work. She said she knew that I was going to be somebody helpful.”

Henley Jewel Ulysse

Henley Jewel Ulysse

New York, NY

“My goals are forever changing the more I learn about the world. I love to learn and experience new things in life.”

Grace

Grace

New York, NY

“My big dreams are to go back to college to be a veterinarian and then take the firefighters exam and be successful at whatever career I choose.”


Gianni

Gianni

New York, NY

“My biggest dream is to bring together everyone I’ve met on my journey being homeless, from my hometown to NYC, where they don’t have to leave me anymore, where I don’t have to be alone.”

Indie Landrum

Indie Landrum

San Diego, CA

“To all the queer and trans folks out there, you are important and you are powerful. Things get better, if you make it better.”

Jacob

Jacob

Columbus, OH

“Being a survivor and overcoming those traumas have shaped me to be stronger and more determined and kind of gave me direction.”

Josh Lowe

Josh Lowe

Seattle, WA

“Living, surviving, thriving in a world/systems NOT meant 4 me: Advocating 4 world/institutional change
#LifeOfAPreviouslyHomelessYouthWhoIsQTPOC”


Kal Rocket

Kal Rocket

Memphis, TN

“I wish #cisgendered LGB’s would realize there’s more to this fight than #marriageequality like #transyouth being on the streets.”

Karter

Karter

Boston, MA

“I think that all humans, regardless of race, age, sexual orientation, gender identity should have same access and opportunities and life.”

Keegan Debord

Keegan Debord

Henderson, CO

“I have been homeless for one month shy of 2 years and in those two years I have been asked to leave where I stayed at seven times.”

Kiefer Paterson

Kiefer Paterson

Washington, DC

“The work that I wanted to do with advocacy was helping low-income, trans folk, people of color. And if I wasn’t doing that, then I wasn’t doing what I wanted.”


Kristopher Sharp

Kristopher Sharp

Houston, TX

“I think it is absolutely necessary that we have folks like myself in places where we can make a difference. If we don’t have a seat at the table, then we’re most certainly going to be on the menu.”

Michael Hodges

Michael Hodges

Atlanta, GA

“Find people that love you for you and are willing to show you some tough love. Those people will get you where you need to be.”

Michael Sydlik

Michael Sydlik

San Francisco, CA

“I want to change the stigma of LGBT youth homelessness. I want to be a voice for people who don’t have one or are afraid to use it.”

Nigeria Tomlinson

Nigeria Tomlinson

New York, NY

“Being an LGBTQ youth isn’t a curse or anything bad, its just the way we know how to live.”


Rafael “Rocky” Ferguson

Rafael “Rocky” Ferguson

Washington, DC

“My biggest dream is to become an overall entertainment mogul. I want to be known around the world as an entertainer in every aspect. Except singing. Lol I can’t sing though I love music.”

Rivianna Hyatt

Rivianna Hyatt

Oakland, CA

“The older I get, the more I recognize that there is no shame in growing up the way I did. In fact, it is essential to the person I have become.”

Ronni

Ronni

Miami, FL

“I want people to know they should never ever give up and know that with rejection comes acceptance!!“

Ryan Patterson

Ryan Patterson

Atlanta, GA

“…so when I wake up and get to experience the world, connect with people that love and care for me, and thank god for a another day clean and sober I am always reminded of where I was and how far I have come.”


Stefhannie-Josephine

Stefhannie-Josephine

Portland, OR

“One of the biggest dreams that I have is to be able to do something for somebody without a consequence. Whether that’s helping them find a job, clothes on their back, food in their stomach, or a roof over their head. I want to help them to help themselves.”

Teddy Banks

Teddy Banks

Los Angeles, CA

“Your heart knows best! You have all of the answers, everyone has all of the answers already. When we finally settle in those feelings and accept them, everything becomes much easier. Everything is a cycle, and it flows. Life flows right beneath you.”

Tevin Jamay Brunner

Tevin Jamay Brunner

Cincinnati, OH

“[Being me] is a unique challenge, fun, sometimes difficult, but I love me the most.”

Thomas Wilson

Thomas Wilson

New York, NY

“You don’t have to accept the hand you’ve been given, you have the power to draw a new hand.”


Trai Williams

Trai Williams

Seattle, WA

“I want to go to school for business management and help my friends open their own businesses.”

Y’Annic Jaeden

Y’Annic Jaeden

New York, NY

“I always think of how blessed I am, how l lucky, how fortunate I am to have a place after the struggle that I’ve been through.”

Ziggy Keyes

Ziggy Keyes

New York, NY

“I will try anything twice-because the first time may not have gone the right way.”

ZiZi Phillips

ZiZi Phillips

Chicago, IL

“[When I wake up] I think about things I can do to be successful. I think about my safety being a trans woman living in Chicago.”