22 year-old, Samurai Angel-Bello is homeless with a sexual orientation described as ÒwhateverÓ and a gender identity as Òall.Ó Samurai stays 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. 31 January 2019

Samurai /

My name is SAMURAI

And yes, that is my real name. This girl couldn’t tell if I was a boy or a girl, so to avoid asking the taboo question she tried to ask me my full name (I was going by “Sam” at the time)/ In a stroke of inspiration, I answered “Samurai” just to be a pain in the ass, and it just kind of stuck.

I haven’t always been a man, and I haven’t always been a woman, but I have always been a pain in the ass. I don’t accept anything just the way it is so I feel if I’m not being a pain in someone’s ass, I’m not doing enough.

When people ask me what I am, I like to reply “nothing” To me, it’s the honest answer. Am I who I am in this moment, or am I who I was, or who I want to be? Am I my job, my religious, affliction, my sexual orientation, my gender? In choosing to be something, I felt like I’m locking the door to my own cage, because I now must exist within boundaries to avoid the cognitive dissonance of not being who I say I am. By being nothing, the only thing left to be is me, truly, wholly me.

“I yam what I yam, and that’s all what I yam”
-Popeye the Sailorman

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