Hetrick-Martin Institute - The Nation's Largest LGBTQ Youth Services Agency
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HETRICK-MARTIN INSTITUTE

believes all young people, regardless of sexual orientation or identity, deserve a safe and supportive environment in which to achieve their full potential.

Hetrick-Martin creates this environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth between the ages of 13 and 24 and their families.

Through a comprehensive package of direct services and referrals, Hetrick-Martin seeks to foster healthy youth development. Hetrick-Martin’s staff promotes excellence in the delivery of youth services and uses its expertise to create innovative programs that other organizations may use as models.

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OUR IMPACT

90%

percentage of HMI youth who pass the HSE exam on their first try (compared to the 45% rate for NYC)

1,500+

the number of leaders trained around the world through our Center for LGBTQ Youth Advocacy & Capacity Building.

2,000+

the number of youth who participate in HMI programs annually.

THEIR STORIES

Jazmine

"When I needed a safe space to express myself freely, HMI provided me with the support I needed to become the hardworking Social Worker and woman I am today.”

DJ Lina

“I feel honored and blessed to be a global ambassador for HMI, whose work is legendary.”

What people are saying

I am often asked what life was like at Hetrick-Martin, and I say, ‘Picture the most supportive and caring place, throw in the most unique and wholly selfless people, with the most courageous kids.’ [Hetrick-Martin] helped me find a place to live; they helped me find a better way to live.

Arthur - HMI Alumus

OUR PARTNERS AND SPONSORS

Gino’s Story

I first came out to my friend, Mandy, at age 25. Being gay was not as widely accepted by the mainstream in the early 90s as it is today (especially in Texas), so I was very trepidatious. It wasn’t until 4 years later after building a great circle of gay friends, that I felt comfortable finally coming out to my family, who I learned always assumed I was gay, but waited for me to share at a time that was right for me.

National Coming Out Day 2018

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Landon’s Story

I grew up in a small town of less than 4,000 people and after 4 years of being bullied daily, I came out on a microphone to the high school senior class body. Following the assembly, I was treated with much more respect and the bullying stopped. I’ll never forget that one of my bullies approached me after the meeting and said, “I don’t understand the whole gay thing, but it took guts to get up there and do what you just did.” My lesson in all of this was to respect myself and in turn, others would respect me. Life is good!

National Coming Out Day 2018

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Dan’s Story

We get to pick our family. We don’t pick our blood. The first person I ever came out to was my father. I was 14. I was on the phone (in secret) with my “first boyfriend” who lived 3000 miles away. (I had been hiding the phone bill for months.) I was playing some song and my father overheard it and came into the room as he was known to do and remarked that the music I was listening to was “gay”. I immediately responded rather empowered, “Well maybe I am gay.” He instantly turned around, went to the living room and sat in front of an off television for two hours. Unfortunately he coped by telling our entire family as a means to understand it. I was immediately put in therapy and talked to on an almost daily basis trying to dissuade me from what they saw as a “confused child”. My mother accepted me. My father made his best attempts. My brother teased. My grandparents thought I needed religion.

I was fortunate and grateful enough to have friends that supported me and loved me through most of my teenage years.

National Coming Out Day 2018

#HMIstory

Eddie’s Story

My decision to come out publicly was, fortunately, not my own. When I was 17, my younger brother found an instant message exchange on my computer. He put together the pieces and revealed his discovery to my parents. At the time, I was frustrated and angry but then I found out he did it because he didn’t want me to be a victim of an online predator. Anthony has had my back then just like he has my back now. He and my parents then helped make “breaking the news” to the rest of the family a little easier than maybe it would have been if I had to do it alone. Most accepted it without question, others…not so much — but that’s their problem, not mine.

National Coming Out Day 2018

#HMIstory

Keith’s Story

I was 17 when I finally came out. I’d had some of my first experiences with a guy (he was 24) and I made friends with his roommate who I spent a lot of time talking to and he really helped build my self confidence so I could tell my family. I’d finally made up my mind to tell my mom when she got home one night, she was in a bad mood, but it felt like a now or never type of thing, so I forged ahead. I don’t even remember how that conversation went. I went inside and I told my sister and she initially laughed because she thought I was kidding. My sister was great, but my mom and I fought a lot over the next year. Not about me being gay, but about literally everything else. She couldn’t be mad at me for being gay, so everything else became a fight. A lot of very hurtful, hateful things were said. But time passed, I went away to college. And things changed. My mom finally accepted it. She’s been friends with my friends, she’s gone out to clubs and gotten up on stage taking shots with drag queens, she was at my wedding this April. My mom was always one of my closest friends and I’m glad she still is today, but there was definitely a period where it felt like it was all falling apart.

National Coming Out Day 2018

#HMIstory

Jonathan’s Story

I wouldn’t call it a coming out story, but rather, forced out of the closest at the age 16. It happened when my mom was picking me up from high school and said she found some photos of men on my computer. She asked if I was gay which I was quick to deny, but ultimately said yes in the end. My mom grew up Southern Baptist so being gay was against her beliefs. I was forced to see my childhood preacher to pray the gay away. Fortunately, by mom being in there, she learned how to open her heart and mind and ever since then, she is my best friend.

National Coming Out Day 2018

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Pat’s Story

Coming from a big Irish Catholic family, coming out was absolutely terrifying. I knew I was gay since I was in 2nd grade. I attended Catholic school my entire life, which put more pressure on me to hide my sexuality. In high school, I began exploring my sexuality for the first time and secretly had my first boyfriend. I joined the football team with hopes that no one would ever find out about the real Pat Long, but something about me always gave off a gay vibe, especially to the bullies. My senior year of high school I quit the team because of the bullying. My love for the sport was destroyed by harsh mean words from some teammates. To make matters worse, my first love moved away to another state. Trying to stay in touch with him was hard due to cell phones at the time charged for out of state calls. My father later asked about my phone bill and who I was talking to in Florida. Before I could even answer, he already knew because he had called the number and demanded answers. I was forced out of the closet.

It was hard for my parents at first, but the toughest judge would be my grandfather. I told both him and my grandmother at dinner with my aunt and uncle, and he removed himself from the table. I followed him outside a short time later and his words to me were “you are my oldest grandson, I love you no matter what.” Coming out is hard, but at the end of the day, it’s worth it. You are finally free to be you. People might surprise you with their acceptance and if they don’t, do not fear. The LGBTQ community is big and loving and will help you with anything you need. 

National Coming Out Day 2018

#HMIstory

  Mike’s Story

March, 1997. After a childhood friend was killed in an freak accident, my best friend and I stopped at a local diner to eat. I was feeling terribly emotional and told my friend “Matt, I need to tell you something I have to get off my chest.” Two seconds later, Matt says “You’re gay. We all know. Pass the ketchup.”

National Coming Out Day 2018

#HMIstory

  Angel’s Story

Coming out takes a lot of courage and finesse. Before I start, I must say that a true family bond will never be broken by one’s sexuality. My story starts out in Miami, Florida. I remember the day like yesterday. It was a Sunday morning and I was walking around the house for about 3 hours thinking of how I was going to tell my mother that I was gay and had a boyfriend. Mind you the only reason I was telling her this was so my “boyfriend” could come over and it wouldn’t draw suspicion of what we were doing. Anyway I sat her down, started tearing up, fearing rejection. Before I got the chance to mutter the words, “Hey mom, I’m gay”, she immediately responded with “Hey when is your lil boyfriend coming over? I’m making some arroz con gandules.” My face went from complete fear to laughter because she knew the whole time, and I had nothing to worry about. All my worries were for absolute nothing. Moral of the story is your mother knows you better than anyone.

National Coming Out Day 2018

#HMIstory