Recovering from homelessness and addiction as a transgender woman

Anxiety and pain. That is what I think of when I reflect on my struggles while homeless. At age 18, I started to use every substance I could get my hands on while engaging in sex work to pay for my drug habit and a motel room because I had no other place to stay. These experiences are too painful for me to describe in detail. What I can say is that they led me to feel more alone in the world, especially because I was transgender and struggling with addiction. Being different in gender identity is isolating. When I went to rehab during the early stage of my gender transition, I quickly learned that staff was not trained to help a transgender person. They did not know whether I should be on the men’s side or the women’s side in rehab. They placed me in a room alone, telling me that it was for my own safety. I was constantly misgendered. Because the staff didn’t know what they were doing and sometimes didn’t care to learn, I felt disrespected and it made my recovery much harder.

Anonymous (New Haven and Middletown, CT)

Bio:  My goal is to continue my education in social work and help others, specifically trans women, who are facing the same things as I have.

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