The Albert Kennedy Trust
The LGBT youth homelessness charity we're supporting with
our latest collection of made to order tailoring.
Meet Tschan and James, just two of those helped
by the amazing work of the Albert Kennedy Trust...
At the age of 18, Tschan and James both found themselves without a place to live. Rejected by their families after coming out, they took the courageous step to leave their homes in pursuit of a life lived independently and on their own terms.
It was whilst talking to friends, who had found themselves in a similar situation, that both were introduced to the Albert Kennedy Trust - a LGBT youth homelessness charity supporting young adults who are forced to chose between a safe home and being who they are.
We spoke to James and Tschan to find out more about how the Albert Kennedy Trust helped them not only find a place to live, but the confidence to do it with Pride...
By the age of 17, Tschan Andrews had already endured years of being ignored and belittled by her family. Having come out as transgender, they had refused to accept the life that Tschan had chosen for herself, disowning her and leaving her homeless. With no place to go, Tschan began staying with friends moving from sofa to sofa, trying to figure out what do. It was whilst talking to one friend that she was introduced to the Albert Kennedy Trust.
“I’d never had anyone actually listen to me or ask me if I was okay"
Tschan remembers making the first phone call to the charity and how difficult it was:
“I’d never had anyone actually listen to me or ask me if I was okay or try to understand my situation and who I am as a person.” But finding the courage to take that first step and get in touch changed everything. The AKT found two foster parents who helped Tschan to build not only her self esteem but give her a belief that she had to freedom live life as she chose. Providing her with a place to live, they saw Tschan through college and university applications and gave her back the confidence to be both a model and a trans-activist.
“They instilled in me self-esteem and self-worth and I guess helped me unlearn the shame and guilt I had towards myself.”
Tschan credits her transformation to the Albert Kennedy Trust: “Coming to AKT was the first part of me actually starting my life. I don’t think I was actually alive until then, I was just surviving through silence and isolation.”
She hopes she too can help and inspire people in a similar situation to her: “The environment you’re in is toxic right now but once you get out of that just have hope for the future... because there’s always a future or a way out of the situation that you are in right now.”
James is an East London boy through and through. Growing up in Bethnal Green, it was at the age of 18 that his life changed forever. After coming out as gay to his parents, James made the decision to leave his family home after they refused to support him. It was as he crashed on a friend of a friend’s sofa, that someone suggested he reach out to the Albert Kennedy Trust to see if they could help him.
“[AKT] are just amazing. Without them I think I’d probably not even be here.”
The Albert Kennedy Trust were able to find James private housing and fund his first months rent. “That gave me a head start because if it wasn’t for them then I’d still be looking for somewhere to stay whilst trying to save up money from my job.”
Once in the flat, James was able to finally gain the independence he longed for, landing a job to financially support himself. But the support from AKT didn't just stop once he found his feet. “I knew that behind the scenes, they were still trying and still looking for something that they could do for me.”
It's stories like his that show the impact that one phone call can have. He wants to encourage anyone is a similar situation to not be afraid to seek help: