At age 17, Dominique “Domo” Hardy was homeless and “living from pillow to post.” Now, he’s an advocate and mentor for other LGBT youth experiencing homelessness and adversity.
The 30-year-old D.C. native recalls fighting every day to survive in the streets alongside other gay teens also rejected by their families. At the time, Hardy says there were few resources in place to help kids like him, so he was forced to grow up fast and fend for himself with little to no support from the city.
However, over the last decade, Hardy says this absence of resources has been addressed with organizations like Casa Ruby, which provides housing and other social services to the LGBT community. Hardy used to work at Casa Ruby and still visits frequently, both to socialize and provide current residents with the support and guidance he wanted when he was in their shoes.
“Places like this (Casa Ruby) are very inspirational because I didn’t have this coming up,” Hardy says. “I support the cause; I support the movement … I want to give back to my community.”
Hardy gives back to his community through his mentorship and advocacy; given his personal experience with homelessness, he feels a deep sense of empathy for the current residents at Casa Ruby.
“I see me inside of them … their struggles were my struggles.”
Hardy is currently looking for work and would like to find employment in an office or mailroom. He lives in Northwest Washington.
Hardy dreams of a future D.C. with more places like Casa Ruby and more opportunities for him to be “a voice for the little people.”
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I was 13 years old; my father.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
Ruby Corado of Casa Ruby.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
Describe your dream wedding.
Nightfall, spring and lit.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
The fight against cancer.
What historical outcome would you change?
Donald Trump as president.
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
On what do you insist?
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
A Facebook message to my boyfriend.
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
Stay the same.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
Life after death.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Keep up the good work.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
That we’re loud and ghetto.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“Queer as Folk”
What’s the most overrated social custom?
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
A BET Award.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
How to save money.