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  • Considering leaving home

    I'm 14, almost 15, living in Arizona, and I'm starting to seriously consider leaving home as soon as possible
    It's not that I'm treated awfully, but I'm trans, and my parents, my mother especially, are not at all accepting of this
    She goes on these tirades, about how I'm a hormonal idiot who's throwing my life away, and they both put a tremendous amoung of pressure on my grades, and it all keeps piling up to the point that I'm honestly feeling pretty miserable and anxious all the time
    I have a cousin who lives in California, who's in her mid-20s and happily married, with a stable income and housing
    She's hinted several times that she has a spare bedroom, and would happily invite me into her home
    If things get much worse in the next year or so I think I might need to get out
    Can I legally leave home and live with her?

  • #2
    RE: Considering leaving home

    Hello,

    Thank you for reaching out to the National Runaway Safeline and sharing with us some of what has been going on at home. We are so sorry to hear that your family, especially your mom, is not very accepting of your identity. No one deserves to be treated poorly because of this. It sounds like it is hard for you to live in a home where you do not feel accepted. We are glad that you have reached out to us and we are here to listen and support you in whatever ways we can.

    We are so sorry to hear that everything around you is starting to pile up because of all the pressure that is put on you. This sounds understandable. It sounds like you are going through a lot and are not getting the support that you need right now. It sounds like you have confided in your cousin who lives in California. It sounds like you trust her and we are really glad to hear that she is someone that you can turn to when you need it or when you are feeling like you are not getting the support at home. This could also be a time to look to see if there is someone closer to home that is able to support you in the way that she does. This could be a trusted adult such as a family friend or a counselor at school. No one deserves to be made to feel like they are throwing their life away when it is you identity. That does not sounds fair and we are sorry that you have to go through that.

    One other resource we would like to provide you is the Trans Lifeline at 1877-565-8860 and also at www.translifeline.org . This is a place you can turn to and talk about what you are going through. Everyone that answer the hotline identifies as transgender and is there to support you in what you are going through. Aside from talking with you they can also connect you to resources in your area that also support you. We understand this can be a hard time and we are really glad and thankful that you have reached out to us and shared with us some of your story.

    You mentioned that you may want to leave home in the future if things at home do not improve. We are not legal experts, but we can speak in general terms what could happen if you decided to leave. Generally you are not an adult until you turn 18. If you decided to leave before then, your parents would be able to file a runaway report with the police. If you are found then you are just brought back home. Running away is not a criminal offense, it is a status offense. This means that you cannot do it because of your age, not because it is illegal. However, anyone that you decide to stay with, friend or family, could be charged with harboring a runaway. The severity of that varies from state to state, however since you mentioned that you are thinking of crossing state lines the punishment for your cousin could be severely worse.

    Again, we are not legal experts and we understand that you want to leave home legally. Since you provided us with your state we were able to look up legal aid resources pertaining to emancipation. Generally, emancipation is when you petition the court to be an adult before the age of 18. The age to petition for emancipated is 16. This means that you would have to provide for yourself and be doing what a 16 year old should be doing at your age. This is a lengthy process and is can cost some money. But this is an option that you can look into if you decide that you re wanting to leave. Here are some resources in looking into emancipation

    -Southern Arizona Legal Aid – (520) 316-8076 Monday-Friday 9am-5pm
    -Pinai & Gila Counties Legal Aid Society- (92 669-6188

    Since your cousin is willing and has space for you in California, one option you might have is to see if she could talk to your parents to allow you to live there with her. Again, it sounds like she is very supportive of you and would not have a problem with this. Another option is having your cousin talk to your parents about being transgender and see if she can help them understand your identity.

    We are not here to tell you what to do, but we do want to make sure that you are safe in what you decide to do. You are the only one that can make the decision that is best for you. You mentioned that you are not thinking of leaving now, but it could be a possibility in the future. These are some things to think about if you do decide to leave

    -Is where you are going safer then home?
    -What about school? Would you continue your education?
    -What would you do for money? Food? Transportation in getting to CA?
    -Do you have a safe solid plan?
    -What is my plan B in case my plan doesn’t work out?
    - Who have I reached out to help make things better at home?

    These are just some things to think about. We hoped this helped and if you are wanting to discuss your situation in greater detail then you can always contact our hotline or chat with us on our website. We look forward to hearing from you and we wish you the best of luck.

    NRS
    Please remember you can reach us directly by calling our 24 hour hotline, 1-800-RUNAWAY (786-2929) or through our Live Chat.

    National Runaway Safeline
    [email protected] (Crisis Email)
    1-800-RUNAWAY (24 Hour Hotline)

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