When Nat was referred to Riverside’s Intensive Intervention project via her housing officer, she had given up hope.
Nat was victimised for years, living as male to female trans, but was too scared to report it. The final straw came when she was broken into and had death threats painted on her walls.
She phoned Riverside who reported the hate crime to the police, cleaned off the graffiti and arranged for her to be moved.
She thought her ordeal was over but when she returned to her flat to collect her belongings, she was greeted by a knife embedded in the door.
Nat said: “When I saw the knife, it really drove home to me how terrifying things had become. Sometimes I don’t think you realise how bad things are until you are removed from the situation.
“Within months of confiding in some neighbours I thought I could trust that I was transgender, my life spiralled out of control. I was singled out for being different and my life quickly descended into a living hell. I was broken into twice within a week. The first time they took my valuables but the second time, they just took a carton of juice. I felt like they broke in just to torment me, not for any financial gain.
“The abuse I was suffering set me back in my transition journey because I felt like I couldn’t be myself. I felt worthless so I started self-harming and became increasingly depressed and anxious. I was working as a welder at the time but because I operated machinery I had to admit to my employer that I was on medication. The next thing I knew, I was being handed my P45.
“I had no money so I would go for days without eating. I was scared to go outside and without a job, I had no reason to leave the flat. I became more and more withdrawn. When my laptop was stolen, I felt even more isolated and I couldn’t afford insurance so I couldn’t replace it.
“Riverside has given me a new beginning. They not only moved me into a new flat and helped me apply for a hardship fund to furnish it but I was back in work within two weeks after being referred me to one of their Employment and Training Officers.
“I still have to endure prejudice – I recently went to a charity shop for some women’s clothes and after asking to volunteer there, I was told that it wasn’t God’s will for me to be a woman. But at least now, I feel safe in my own home, and thanks to Riverside’s support I have reconnected with the LGBT community.”
Peter Gallagher, Nat’s Intensive Intervention Officer, said: “It is all credit to Nat that she has endured everything she has and come out the other side feeling positive.
“As a Stonewall top 100 employer, we’re committed to ensuring that staff can be themselves at work and extend this commitment so we’re fully equipped to support customers with diverse needs and backgrounds.
“I’ve referred Nat to Riverside’s LGBT Tenants and Residents Group, which will provide invaluable support throughout her transition. I’m also joining Riverside’s Straight Allies programme, Friends of Spectrum so I am better able to support Nat through her journey.”