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Emancipation

Question:

Okay. My parents are obviously abusing me, I guess. But I need help to get out because they are going to drive me to the edge if I stay there any longer. I feel so…… well let’s just say bad. My life sucks, the only thing that doesn’t suck is school, school is safe. I’m so tired of what they do and how I’m treated. As the days progress I get less scared and more anger little by little. And I don’t want this for myself anymore. So I started to think and I came around to being on my own. I know without a fact that it’s gonna be hard and not easy but I’d rather face this than let myself get hurt. I have a small idea of how the process takes place but I know I have to be able to financially support myself and find an place to live. I’m so scared but I can’t do this anymore. I mean they threaten me about kicking me out and have actions to do that concern that do why not really do it. Can you help me by informing me about this as much as possible? I mean I get punished for supposedly “gay” things like shaving and the such. I can’t participate in school activities either. I’m faced everyday to two very (let’s just say) mean people.

Letter submitted by:

Answer:

Dear Gustavo,

Thank you so much for reaching out to AskTrevor. I know it can be quite scary to live in an unstable, unsafe environment so I commend you for having the courage to actively seek out answers. You seem to be a very bright and motivated individual. And you’re right: no one, and I mean no one, EVER has the right to abuse another human being. When someone is abused, it can make that person feel sad, scared, angry, depressed, shameful or any number of negative emotions. You have the right to feel safe and protected and you absolutely have the right to be yourself.

As far as emancipation goes, Texas law requires that the petitioning child show the court that: (1) he/she is a resident Texas, that (2) the minor is either 17 years old, or is 16 and is living separate from the parents, and, (3) the minor is self-supporting and managing his/her own affairs. However, in the instances of abuse, you should know that there are laws and institutions in place designed to protect youth. Abuse is a very serious matter and the state has a responsibility to ensure that you are safe.

I’m happy to hear that school is a secure environment for you. Is there a teacher or school counselor there who you can contact to report your abuse or seek advice? School counselors can help students with social, emotional and personal concerns and are bound by certain rules of confidentiality. Meaning, if you talk about your situation, they do not have to call your parents and speak to them about it.

Another resource you can contact is PFLAG, which stands for Parents and Friends of Lesbian and Gays. They’re advocates for the LGBT community and have a nearby chapter in Austin:

PFLAG Austin

PO Box 743

Cedar Park, TX 78630

pflagaustin@gmail.com

Phone:  (512) 302-3524

http://www.pflagaustin.org/

You also mention in your letter that your parents are driving you “to the edge”. Do you ever have thoughts of harming yourself or others? Please know that this is never the answer. You have the right to the full, fulfilling and happy life you deserve. As you move through this challenging time, continue to stay strong and courageous. Know that you’re never alone and there are people who care about you and want to help you including those of us at The Trevor Project. Give us a call us ANYTIME, 24 hours 7 days a week, on our helpline at 1-866-4-U-TREVOR. Our caring, understanding and supportive counselors are here to talk with you about everything you’re feeling and going through and want to do whatever is needed to keep you safe. Additionally, we have TrevorChat where you can find other young people like yourself who are going through similar issues. Here is the link: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/chat. Thank you for taking the time to write to us. If you have any more questions, we at Trevor Project are here for you, every day.

Trevor Staff