A more localized group, ASU Devils’ Pride Chapter, an organization that promotes the LGBT community through scholarships and volunteering, organized an event to assist homeless LGBT youth.
Manuel Lucero, ASU graduate and board president of ASU Devils’ Pride Chapter, said ASU Devils’ Pride Chapter has been involved with the month-long volunteering movement, ASU Cares for years now.
“We actually participate in ASU Cares every single year,” he said. “However, this is already our most effective and powerful event we’ve ever done because it is targeting the LGBT youth more directly.”
Lucero said this year the chapter wanted to make sure to combine their LGBT platform into their volunteering event. He also said this was one of the reasons for inviting nearly 20 homeless LGBT youth to participate in a night filled with dinner and motivating workshops.
“A lot of them, from what I have been told, haven’t had a positive influence in their lives,” he said. "So today, with all of us who are graduated from a university and successful, we want to show them that you can be LGBT and successful just like anybody else.”
Sage Pierce, 22, a tenant of One-n-Ten’s housing program, revealed her experience with homelessness as a transgender woman.
“I was going to a vocational training school," she said. "They had a residential program but I was having a lot of issues when it came to violence. I had moved from the male dorms and transitioned to the female dorms and it was really public so I was experiencing a lot of violence and a lot of discrimination from the staff.”
Pierce said One-n-Ten has provided her with options when she felt as if she had none.
“I was looking for resources which they weren’t providing at the school and I found help from One-n-Ten and they kind of saved from all of that,” Pierce said.
Pierce said her experiences with homelessness and transitioning have not been easy.
“I am still early in this transition,” she said. “In this state I have been met with a lot of violence and it’s kind of scary because I am coming from homelessness so I don’t have the necessary basics that most people that didn’t have to experience homelessness have like possibly a car, a stable job stuff like that.”
Pierce said ASU Devils’ Pride Chapter’s efforts to assist those in need within the LGBT community were impactful.
“This is kind of a safe space for me and I really appreciate that they (ASU Devils’ Pride Chapter) are giving me another safe space before I go back out into the world,” she said. “I am out in public with everyone and I am just living my truth and just fighting whoever comes along the way.”
Donald Smith, who graduated from ASU in 2009 with a degree in parks and recreation management, is a board member with the chapter and said he hoped to powerfully impact those involved with the event.
“These folks were, at one point in their lives, homeless or couch surfing," he said. "Now they are given the opportunity to live in their own studio and have a personal case manager that really helps them guide themselves to where they can really get their life on track.”
ASU Devils' Pride Chapter encourages success within homeless LGBT youth from The State Press on Vimeo. Video by Marcella Baietto.