John Joseph

(HE/HIM)

 

I am a product of the Hillcrest Youth Center

 

Today, I am happy to say that I am a successful, out and proud gay man. Growing up I had an ordinary life but always hid that I was gay out of fear of being bullied and harassed. In 2000, I didn’t attend my Senior Prom because I hadn’t come out at school and wasn’t comfortable with who I was. Soon after, I was in an AOL chat room with other LGBTQ youth and heard that The Center was opening the Hillcrest Youth Center and hosting a prom for youth like me.

I found the courage to go to the Rainbow Prom alone and there I finally found the community I had been longing for, a room full of people my age who were just like me. I continued visiting the Hillcrest Youth Center and built a community. Twenty-two years later, I can honestly say that the Hillcrest Youth Center changed my life because I learned that I would always have the support of community behind me. I am proud to say that I am a product of the Hillcrest Youth Center.

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