At age 16, Jacob came out to his mother as transgender.
For years he had silently struggled with anxiety and depression, and worried about whether his mother would accept him. He did not know any other transgender youth, and he felt isolated and alone. When he shared his identity, his mother was confused and didn’t know how to handle and process the change.
After coming out, he felt even more alone and his feelings caused him to withdraw further, negatively impacting his previously close relationship with his mother. Their bond quickly disintegrated. She tried as best she could to reconnect, but Jacob pulled further away. He stopped spending time with friends, and his academics suffered. He skipped school often, and one day didn’t come home.
After spending a short time on the streets, Jacob connected with Cocoon House’s outreach team who helped him secure emergency shelter at our Monroe home. During his stay, Jacob and his mother participated in family counseling which focused on bridging their communication gap and acknowledging the grief his mother was experiencing over the loss of her daughter. While Jacob’s mother struggled to understand him, she was fully invested in their relationship, visited Cocoon House daily, and asked many questions. She wanted to learn more and become the kind of support and advocate she knew her son needed.
In a few weeks, Jacob returned home. He and his mother continued to receive family case management support through our prevention services, and Jacob was honored at Cocoon House’s Butterfly event to celebrate his growth and strength. As he walked across the stage with his correct name and identity, his mother was in attendance celebrating him.