During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Rainbow Community Center of Contra Costa County — a nonprofit organization that builds community and supports well-being among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning and Intersex (LGBTQI+) people — saw a drastic increase in desperate young people in crisis who reached out needing services.
One of those young adults, who felt unsafe sequestered at home, is in the process of legally changing his name to Jay Starling.
Many of the youth who request services from Rainbow are unhoused young adults of color. In contrast, Starling, who is White, comes from a privileged family in Pleasanton.
The 21-year-old has three older brothers. Starling says his parents really wanted a daughter, so the whole family was thrilled when their fourth child was a girl. But since age 7, Starling says his birth gender never felt right.