Andrew came to Covenant House Vancouver’s Crisis Program because his parents were not accepting of his’s gender identity. Before coming to Covenant House, Andrew had never lived anywhere other than his parents’ house. It was clear from his timid interactions with staff and other residents, that Andrew was not comfortable living at Covenant House in the beginning. A few months have passed, and Andrew has been doing well at school and had made friends with several other Covenant House residents. Andrew was talking to me about how great it was to have friends at Covenant House.
He looked into the distance, and then chuckled. “I remember when I first came here, and everything seemed so foreign and I was scared to talk to anyone. I remember wondering if I had made a mistake coming here.” His voice broke, “I knew I couldn’t go back to my parents’ house, and this seemed like my last option, and I felt trapped here.”
Andrew did not have a good relationship with his parents. They were not accepting of Andrew’s gender identity and had often pressured him to act and dress like a girl. Covenant House Vancouver strives to be a safe and inclusive space for all youth and young people self-identify which Crisis Program is right for them. When he told his parents he was a guy, they told him that he would only ever be a girl to them. Andrew had told me that when tensions were high at his house, he used to bake to distract himself.
“Then today, I was baking with a friend at ROP. I thought back to all the times I had baked at my parent’s house, and how horrible I felt at those times, how baking had been my escape. But today I wasn’t baking to escape from anything, I was just baking because I loved it. And that’s when I realized that this place was more than just a shelter. And I felt at home.”
“And this is the first place where I’ve ever felt at home. This is the first home I’ve ever had.”
Shared by Youth Worker Nathan from our Male Crisis Program