That was in Alabama. She lived with friends or slept behind dumpsters before moving to Maine to try living with her grandmother, who also rejected her.
She landed at the homeless shelter in Atlanta a year and a half ago.
When people have treated her so poorly -- simply because of who she is -- how could you blame her for being less than enthusiastic about the state of gay America?
Wright, a transgender woman, the one who clapped when DOMA fell, took a sunnier point of view. "It's not going to end the fight," she said. "They expect people to lie down and take this and give up? Uh-uh, honey! You've got another thing coming!"
I could tell Westbrook, the shelter leader, was thrilled to hear this. Which was how I felt, too. Westbrook has been with his partner for 19 years. DOMA and Prop 8 matter to him very personally. And when he was the age of these young people, he said he never could have imagined a national conversation about same-sex marriage -- much less it being legal for some. "It's one step in the right direction," he said. "It'll happen."
But when? That's my question. And it's one that does matter. Legalizing marriage across the country not only would have immediate benefits for same-sex couples and their children -- but it also would help change the society these young people inhabit.
Slowly, it would make the world safer for them.
Their speaking up will help, too, of course.
As the conversation wound down, Wright proudly announced her latest Facebook status update.
"Illegalizing love should be illegal," she said, reading from her phone. She quoted Wanda Sykes and then wrote, "Haters need to get over their cheap selves now."
"Ten exclamation points!" she said.
Let's hope plenty of state legislators follow her on Facebook.
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