Lisa* turned 17 in January this year. When she met her first girlfriend Jo, she was excited to tell her friends… but was hesitant about sharing the news with her mum and dad. They had never been overtly homophobic but Lisa didn’t know for sure how they’d react. When a neighbour spotted Lisa and Jo in their town centre one week, he mentioned it in passing to Lisa’s mum.
“I came home that night to a barrage of verbal abuse. Mum was saying I’d embarrassed her. That I was ‘wrong’ in the head. That someone like me couldn’t be gay.”
Lisa’s mum refused to talk to her for three days. Her dad wouldn’t get involved. Lisa then found a note from her mum, telling her she had until the end of the week to pack up her stuff and leave.
“There was still a part of me that thought she wouldn’t go through with it. Then, sure enough, by the weekend she was marching through the house and dumping anything of mine into a bag. I left the house not knowing where I was going or who I could stay with.”
Lisa’s girlfriend Jo showed her Stonewall Housing’s website. Jo encouraged Lisa to call our confidential and free housing advice line and seek help. Because Lisa’s under 18 we first worked with her to initiate contact with Social Services, and created a plan that would ensure her safety. We advised Lisa on her housing options and explained that she’d be defined as a ‘child in need’. Our advocacy service continue to work with Lisa and her Social Worker to ensure that any concerns are heard and that she lives in safety and security, ahead of starting her new College course in September.
*Names and other identifying features have been changed.