This is the story of a gay man from South Yorkshire who suffered domestic abuse from his family.

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“Ever since I was a young boy I have always been a little different to all the other kids,

the way I liked to dress, how I interacted with the other kids

and what I liked doing was all the things that were not acceptable.”

D was made to feel shame for who he was throughout his childhood. This continued into his teenage years and it really began to affect his mental health.

He began using drugs and drinking a lot of alcohol.

“I was in a very very dark place for about five years.

Drugs were the only thing that kept me going but I was basically dying at the same time.

Some days I couldn’t get up off the ground or even lift up my head.

My mental health was at the lowest it had ever been.”

One day, D decided to change his life. He got clean, reached out to people and told his story. “I’m a gay man who has a huge personality and this was so difficult to hide away, something that was a huge part of me. This is what really destroyed me, hiding away.”

But it didn’t end there. At 22, D was still being tormented for who he was and the way he looked. He was getting this from acquaintances but also from the people he loved the most.

“Make-up and clothing that I had designed and made myself,

all burnt and thrown away simply because I was different.

I would be attacked at home because I had a little eyeliner or glitter on my face.”

D didn’t want his life to continue like this, so he decided to find his freedom and became homeless.

“Best decision I ever made.

All I had was myself, the clothes on my back and a few small bottles of glitter just in case.

I stayed strong.”

He stayed at a local Hostel for six months. While there, he was introduced to support worker Hannah.

They developed a great relationship that gave D confidence again and gave him something to look forward to.

“My confidence grew stronger by the day waking up

in a bed where there’s no one telling you what to do with your life.”

Eventually given his own flat, D made it his own unique home.

A place he could truly call his own.

“I realised there’s nothing wrong with reaching out to people to ask for help.

I am so happy with where I am in my life right now.

I have taken back my happiness and freedom and

will never let anyone take advantage of me ever again.”