24 year-old, homeless bi-sexual gender non-conforming, Royse at Trinity Place Shelter. Trinity Place Shelter is a non-sectarian, 10-bed transitional shelter that provides LGBTQ youth and young adults with a safe place to sleep, shower, eat and store belongings. Trinity Place Shelter provides a unique home and family-like environment where youth receive individualized care, respect, and the basic services so often denied them. Having such a space, staffed by professional social workers, supports our residents in gaining the skills and confidence needed to exit homelessness and begin to live into their dreams. In 2012 the Williams Institute estimated that of all homeless youth, 40% LGBTQI+. The US Interagency Council on Homelessness says the number is closer to 20%-40%. Behind the scenes photography and video and assistant: Alison Lippy, Allison@allisonlippy.com, Phone +1 410 967 1096. Photography and video by Robin Hammond, pitures@robinhammond.co.uk. Editor: Mallory Benedict, Mallory.Benedict@natgeo.com, +1 202.791.1282. 01 February 2019

Royse /

“In America, I learned through an adopted family that I am not who I thought I was. I am a British and heavily African male born to a refugee father. It took me 20 years to discover that I am the product of a refugee. The discovery helped me forge my identity that was taken from me by a racist white family who sought to erase who I was for their own cultural purposes. It helped me learn that because of my father refugee status, it was wrongfully taken from him for no reason.

Ancestry.com has been one of my best adventures because it has asked me very personal questions that have helped me understand about myself. But most importantly it helped me lean one thing… I was forced to be this identifiable “ white” person when I was actually born to a father that is deeply African and Islamic religion. Now I know who I really am and my struggle are finally over.

The many attempts to socially and racially eradicate me and then liking men – They constantly told me I was a problem – and that it should have been straight. They blamed a childhood sexual assault on the fact I had liked. The real enemies are my adopted family who gleefully pushed me to suicide 5 times.”

Share this story:Share on FacebookTweet about this on Twittershare on TumblrEmail to someone