It was not hard to notice Alexander was living homeless in Boston. He was carrying most everything he owned on his back. Before I started the camera, I asked Alexander how long he was on the streets. He responded: "seven years as a woman, and now two years as a man". What I didn't see from a distance is Alexander is a transgender male.
Alexander's story is important because homelessness is a critical issue for transgender people, with one in five having experienced homelessness at some time in their lives because of discrimination and family rejection. To me, Alexander's story is heartbreaking, and I so admire his courage to be so open. Because Alexander is still in transition going from a woman to a man, homeless shelters will not provide services, leaving his only choice to be sleeping outside. Also, he is caught in the housing bureaucracy madness. Alexander has been on a housing waiting list since 2012!
This interview is a little longer than most, but it's an important conversation, and I hope you'll watch to the end. Alexander has been caught in a perpetual cycle of frustration for eight and a half years now, and he says if it continues for another eight years it will be "twenty years waiting to be housed. Twenty years waiting to be me, and twenty years at the same income level".
*For more please visit: Transgender Homelessness and My Visit with TRANS: THRIVE http://invisiblepeople.tv/blog/2012/04/transgender-homelessness-and-my-visit-with-trans-thrive/
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Since its launch in November 2008, Invisible People has leveraged the power of video and the massive reach of social media to share the compelling, gritty, and unfiltered stories of homeless people from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. The vlog (video blog) gets up close and personal with veterans, mothers, children, layoff victims and others who have been forced onto the streets by a variety of circumstances. Each week, they’re on InvisiblePeople.tv, and high traffic sites such as YouTube, Twitter and Facebook, proving to a global audience that while they may often be ignored, they are far from invisible.
Invisible People goes beyond the rhetoric, statistics, political debates, and limitations of social services to examine poverty in America via a medium that audiences of all ages can understand, and can’t ignore. The vlog puts into context one of our nation’s most troubling and prevalent issues through personal stories captured by the lens of Mark Horvath – its founder – and brings into focus the pain, hardship and hopelessness that millions face each day. One story at a time, videos posted on InvisiblePeople.tv shatter the stereotypes of America’s homeless, force shifts in perception and deliver a call to action that is being answered by national brands, nonprofit organizations and everyday citizens now committed to opening their eyes and their hearts to those too often forgotten.
Invisible People is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to changing the way we think about people experiencing homelessness.