Zebra Coalition gives homeless LGBTQ kids a helping hand
From Katherine Ramirez Massey and Orlando Weekly
Life changed for Peter Ruiz in the summer of 2011. Just a couple of days shy of his high school graduation, Ruiz, who is now 20 years old, was kicked out of his home. He had decided that he wanted to major in theater in college, and his adoptive mother objected – she was concerned, he says, that theater would turn him gay.
After it happened, Ruiz stood locked outside of his family home, unable to get back in. “I felt really lost,” he says. “I guess that’s the best way to describe it – lost. [It was the] same feeling as when you’re stranded in the middle of nowhere. You just don’t know where to go or what to do next.”
Ruiz reached out to a friend the first night he was on the street, but he says he could only stay there for a night.
Left with few choices, he reached out to his high school administrators at Maynard Evans High School in Orlando. They put him in contact with the Zebra Coalition, a network of Central Florida organizations that band together to help lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer youth in Orlando who find themselves estranged from their families, especially after coming out. After he got involved with the organization, he says he realized that “home” for some teenagers isn’t always where you think it is.
Read the full story from Orlando Weekly by clicking here.