Queer Youth Escaping the Midwest

My name is Laura, I'm 19 years old, and I live in Missouri. I've lived here for almost 8 years, I went through puberty here, and it's time I find a way out of this toxic environment. I'm nonbinary and bisexual and although I do pick my friends wisely and my parents have been supportive, I still have never felt safe with my gender identity.

Living in a town where everyone knows everyone, I tend to run into the people who have hurt me and abused me. It's a large enough town and yet I still manage to see these people constantly. Now it's not only my relationship with the people of this city but my relationship with my mother has become rocky as well. I've had a hand in messing up my stay here but it's become so toxic that I had thoughts of ending it many times these past couple months.

In November of last year, I visited Rochester after saving up for a while and I knew after being there that I needed to live there. Not wanted; needed. I need a fresh start. I need to be surrounded by people who support me and understand my anxiety. Rochester made me feel welcome in so many ways. Rochester has opportunity for me.

It's taken me 2 years to save up the small amount I have to move with. Having to pay bills since I was 15, it's been hard to save and plan a move this large. I need enough money for first (and possibly last) months rent and the drive up there is going to be outrageous, not to mention all the insurances I have to pay.

I have until the 20th of May to save up the money to leave. I'm so scared of what's going to happen and all of your help goes directly towards helping me start to feel like I have control over and love my life again. Thank you so much for your time.
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Organizer

Laura Take Gierlich 
Organizer
Springfield, MO
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