Can you help vulnerable gay teenagers this Christmas?

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The Albert Kennedy Trust helps lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans young people who do not live in accepting, supportive and caring homes.

It provides a range of services to meet the individual needs of those who would otherwise be homeless or living in a hostile environment.

This Christmas AKT is asking readers to help those vulnerable young people – AKT helped more than 1,400 in 2007.

“If just 365 of your online readers donate £18 each to the appeal they will have raised the money needed to keep one young person off the streets and safe in a Carer household for one year,” said AKT chief executive Tim Sigsworth.

“To donate they can visit the AKT website and click donate.”

Nick was one of the first AKT clients; here he tells his story:

“Things with my stepdad had never been good but when I was 13 and came out as gay, things became unbearable. He told me I was disgusting because I was gay.

He accused me of sexually abusing my little step brother – saying “all gays are perverts”. The rest of my family didn’t believe me when I said “I didn’t do it” – I felt completely alone and rejected.

All I could do was cry, and still the people who loved me thought I was dirty just for being gay. My stepdad’s behaviour became more abusive towards me and social services got involved.

Between the ages of 13 and 17 I lived in 25 homes: sometimes with foster carers other times in children’s homes. I was bullied and abused by other kids and ignored or verbally abused by staff and carers.

Thank God for the Albert Kennedy Trust during these depressing and terrifying years of fear and loneliness.

AKT staff, mentors and carers were the only people who understood and cared for me.

They stepped in to support me when I contacted them when things first kicked off at home. AKT listened to me, gave me somewhere to access support around the rejection I had faced and they even helped me through the various moves and court cases regarding my time in care.

My placement worker and mentor at AKT helped me feel proud of who I was when everyone around me was disgusted with my sexuality.

AKT wanted to provide me with supported lodgings back then; but a court ruling would not allow this – instead I faced 4 miserable years of homophobia in a care system that had no idea how to help a boy like me.

Finally at 17, the courts allowed me to move in with two of AKT’s carers – I couldn’t believe my luck. Instead of rejection and abuse I got support and affection; my carers even taught me how to look after myself.

They made me believe I was just as good as any other kid and that I deserved to be loved and to do something worthwhile with my life.

That was me 8 years ago. Now I am a successful manager of a bar, and I have a great group of friends. My family are supportive now and I am proud of who I have become.

I owe a lot to AKT and that’s why I still support them today as a volunteer and donor. The only thing now that really makes me sad and angry is that other young people are still going through the same and worse.

For just £18 per month you too can help provide a night off the streets away from harm for a young lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans person who has been rejected just for being brave enough to come out and be who they are.”

Can you help? Click here to donate.