One word to describe Ryan would be “aware.” Ryan is acutely aware of where he’s been, where he is currently, and where he wants to be. He’s aware of his dreams, how they’re informed by the experiences he’s had, and how to overcome the obstacles he may encounter while chasing them.
And he’s made us aware of a beautiful fact: that a dream backed by experience is nearly unstoppable.
True Colors Fund: What do you think about when you wake up in the morning?
Ryan: When my alarm goes off at 7am, I get up, grab some coffee, and check Facebook to update myself on what’s going on in the world and the lives of the people I care about. Just 6 short months ago, I made the decision to get sober off of crystal meth. During that time, I had secluded myself from all the world – so when I wake up and get to experience the world, connect with people that love and care for me, and thank God for a another day clean and sober, I am always reminded of where I was and how far I have come.
True Colors Fund: What’s your biggest dream?
Ryan: Over the years, my dreams have changed quite a bit, but being a part of Lost-n-Found youth has given me a new dream to strive for. Lost-n-Found was there for me at my lowest. Wishing nothing but to help me succeed, they gave me the chance to get my life back on track. I have now graduated from the program and am a proud employee at our thrift store. My dream is to one day be able to have the position of house mom for the Lost-n-Found house and give back to something that gave to me so freely.
True Colors Fund: Do you have any advice for LGBT youth?
Ryan: I was born and raised in rural Georgia. Coming out at 13, I had a lot of negativity thrown at me my whole life. There were points when I hated myself, prayed I would be straight, even thought of killing myself. What got me through were friends and people that loved me for me. I learned to love who I am, because nothing is wrong with me. I would like any LGBT youth to know there is hope, there are people and organizations in our world today to help us in any way possible. Not for one second should you ever allow anyone to make you feel like you are not OK, because God would not have made you the beautiful person you are just to hate you.
It can be easy to get lost in negativity sometimes. We all need something to help us keep pressing on… something to help show us we’re worth it. What gets you through the difficult times? Tell us on Facebook and Twitter!
The 40 of the Forty list gives lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning youth who have experiences with homelessness and/or housing instability a chance to speak for themselves. The young people on the list were nominated by homeless youth service providers, social workers, educators, individuals, and other folks across the country. Over the course of forty weeks, we’ll be releasing full length interviews with each young person featured on our list.