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“Safe Homes was the first place I didn’t have to fight for respect – It was just given...”

Dear Safe Homes Supporter,

It’s hard to be gay in high school. Even in the 2020’s.

For many, it’s a time to figure out who you are. But for me, knowing that I was transgender and South Asian was just the beginning. Being welcomed and accepted was another story.

High school was alienating and lonely.

Being South Asian, I didn’t feel accepted in queer groups that were mostly white. As someone who is transgender, I didn’t feel welcome in the mostly straight south Asian community. Even though I knew who I was, there was no place where I could be fully welcomed, accepted, and around others who were like me.

I felt like I was the only person who was trans and a person of color. I knew who I was, so there was never that aspect of not knowing, but reconciling all those things together was very scary for me to come to terms with.

I actually came to Safe Homes after high school, as an intern through Commonwealth Corps. Little did I know that being a part of Safe Homes would provide me with much more than job experience for my resume.

Safe Homes was the first place I didn’t have to fight for respect – It was just given, regardless of gender, sexuality, culture or race. I had never been in a space like that before.

Although I knew I was trans, I didn’t begin transitioning until I was at Safe Homes. As trans youth in the program tried out different pronouns or names to see what felt right, I finally felt comfortable to do the same.

As an intern, I had the opportunity to start programs that create safer spaces for BIPOC queer youth like myself. We started a QT-BIPOC group (Queer, Transgender, Black, Indigenous, People of Color) which provides a safe space for BIPOC queer youth to know they are not alone.

I am also proud to have been a part of opening Safe Homes’ Transgender Resource Center which will provide clothing, gender affirming items, toiletries, sanitary products, food and other supports to transgender youth in our community.

The fact that youth can access binders, chest forms, clothes and accessories that match their gender identity, and other items that may be otherwise impossible for them to get, is so amazing.

Safe Homes was the first place I didn’t have to fight for validation. I wish I had a place like Safe Homes when I was younger, and I’m so glad I found it when I did.

There are youth in every community, including right here in progressive Central Massachusetts, who are too afraid to be themselves because they know it might not be safe. Youth who have no where they feel respected. Youth who need food, sanitary products, and gender affirming supplies they can not get.

Your support is needed to ensure that this program, and especially the newly opened Transgender Resource Center, is available for the youth in our community. I hope you will join me in wanting spaces where youth can feel like their identity is a given and not something that has to be fought for. With your support, Safe Homes can continue to be that for so many.

By making a donation you are showing youth in Central Massachusetts that even in one of the most welcoming states, you know they still face challenges. You can make a difference at safehomesma.org/support. I thank you in advance for your extreme generosity.


Sayon Barari