How Geneva Found a Place to Live Her Truth — September 20, 2016
In 1993, Geneva came to the Twin Cities because she believed it was a place where she could be herself.
Before moving here she was living life under her born name, “Allan”, and as the person that the world told her to be — not who she knew she was on the inside.
For a little while, Geneva thought she had found that safe place to be herself in Minneapolis. That was until she was out one night with her friends, dressed as Geneva. She was assaulted by a group of men, simply because they didn’t approve of what she was wearing.
The act of defending herself landed her in prison. Men’s prison.
Prison, as you can imagine, was not the place where Geneva could be herself. Forced back into the identity of Allan, she lived a lie, but a safe lie for several years, during which time she got out, and then met and fell in love with a woman.
They married and had a son, but eventually separated, leaving Geneva a single parent. After her son was diagnosed with a learning disorder, Geneva moved the family to Alexandria, where she had been informed they had excellent programs for developmentally delayed children.
It was in Alexandria where Geneva, still living as Allan, got sick for the first time.
There she learned that not only was she living with HIV, but she had an AIDS diagnosis as well. It was at this moment, when Geneva was told that she was dying, that she realized she must survive — survive and find a way to live her truth.
Sick and struggling with money, Geneva and her son spent time bouncing between expensive but shoddy apartments (where her credit was accepted), living in their car, and staying in hotel rooms.
Last year, Geneva, still living as “safe” Allan, was able to get an apartment through Clare Housing.
Finally, after 13 long years of searching, Geneva found that place where she could be herself — Clare Housing.
“Now I have a home for me and my son, and for the first time I can be ‘me’. Being ‘Geneva’ makes me smile every day. I open my blinds in the morning. I look out onto the world and I say, ‘Thank God! I am finally here, and I am here to stay.’ ”
Today Geneva is on top of her health, her son is going to school, and she’s able to live her truth — thanks to the health and safety of the home she has thanks to supporters like YOU.
There are others like Geneva who are still waiting. With your help, we will house them.
There are 300 people living with HIV on our waiting list right now. We can house them. We will house them, if you and others like you are able to give what support you can, and share the word about Clare Housing with the people you know.
If you were unable to join us this morning, I hope you will consider making a donation to support Geneva and her son, and families like theirs who have found a place of safety and support at Clare Housing.
In addition to your financial support you are the best ambassador for our organization. Here are three easy things you can to keep the energy from this morning’s breakfast going:
- Share this story with your friends on social media.
- If you missed the breakfast this morning, be sure to watch the video was shared there. It’s truly inspiring!
- Come visit us, and bring a friend. Join us for a one-hour Journey Home program and see first-hand the impact that supportive housing can have on the lives of people living with HIV/AIDS.
Thank you. Thank you for making a safe space for women like Geneva to regain their health, and above all their selves, because everyone deserves a place to call home.