Making Room

Making Room

Three Decades of Fighting for Beds, Belonging, and a Safe Place for LGBTQ Youth

Paperback

May 21, 2024 | ISBN 9780593444245

Ebook

May 21, 2024 | ISBN 9780593444252

About the Book

From the founder of the nation’s largest housing program for homeless LGBTQ youth, a tender, uplifting account of his friendship with a nonbinary teenager and dozens of queer kids who inspired him to live a life of service and resistance

“This heartfelt narrative serves as both a reminder of the challenges faced by marginalized communities and a testament to the transformative power of service and love.”—Kristen Lovell, director of HBO’s The Stroll

Our need for family is not easily extinguished.

Carl Siciliano met Ali Forney—a Black nonbinary teenager overflowing with life—in 1994 while working at a daytime center for homeless youth in New York City. Nineteen years old and driven from home, Forney was the heart of the community, known for infectious laughter, fierce loyalty to friends, and an unshakeable faith that “my God will love me for who I am.”

Then Forney was murdered, a moment of horror and devastation that exposed the brutality that teenagers like Forney faced in a city marked by gentrification, housing insecurity, and the onslaught of the AIDS epidemic. Motivated by Forney’s spirit, Siciliano fought to create a home where unhoused teens could live and feel loved—bolstered by his own exclusion from the church as a gay Catholic man.

This is Siciliano’s story of mending hearts broken by displacement and rejection, including his own. Siciliano shares what he learned from Forney and thousands of other queer teens—wounded, brave, vibrant people who lived true to their inner experiences and created family under desperate circumstances—while he helped lead a movement that compelled New York City to invest millions of dollars in kids who’d been ignored for decades.

Written with heart and profound insight, Making Room is a landmark personal narrative, bringing to life an untold chapter of LGBTQ history and testifying to the power of community, solidarity, and the human spirit.
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Praise for Making Room

Making Room is a must read for anyone who cares about our LGBTQ homeless youth. The story is riveting, emotional, powerful and an important part of our history. Carl has lived a life of service and love.”—David Mixner, activist, performer, and author

“Carl Siciliano’s Making Room guides us from the cold, pitiless streets faced by the homeless youth to a warmer place; from heartbreak to a place of hope. . .  . the fate of our queer kids is intertwined with us all.”—Christian Cooper, New York Times bestselling author of Better Living Through Birding

“It is tragic that so many LGBTQ youths are forced into homelessness, all too often due to their parents’ religious beliefs. I hope this compelling book will be read by many in the church as well as many who wished that churches treated LGBTQ youth not like lepers, but who they are: beloved children of God.”—James Martin, SJ, author of Building a Bridge

“This heartfelt narrative serves as both a reminder of the challenges faced by marginalized communities and a testament to the transformative power of service and love. A must-read for anyone seeking to understand, empathize, and advocate for the most marginalized among us.”—Kristen Lovell, director of HBO’s The Stroll

“May this book inspire others to recognize the unmet needs around them, and find ways to creatively solve the problems that plague this world.”—Ross Murray, Vice President, GLAAD Media Institute

“The key to Carl Siciliano’s candid, artful, soul-altering book, I think, is that it makes room for the reader. We are right there with him as he faces challenges such as few of us will have to face. We see what he sees, feel what he feels, believe what he believes—and are changed by the experience. I know I was.”—Paul Elie, author of The Life You Save May Be Your Own   

Making Room is a call to action—a reminder that in the fight for inclusivity and equality, no one should be left behind.”—Emanuel Xavier, former homeless teen, author, and activist

“A gut-wrenchingly poignant real-life saga . . . Carl Siciliano has written an unputdownable account of what it looks like when compassion is harnessed to funding and policy.”—Tim Murphy, author of Christodora and Speech Team

“Homelessness is cruel and vile, and I am haunted by the fact that LGBT youth are still being displaced. An essential read for all of us who survived homelessness and its atrocities!”—Junior LaBeija, trailblazing, pioneering icon of the Ballroom Community and star of Paris is Burning

"An absolutely beautiful and breathtaking book destined to be a classic. Before Siciliano founded the Ali Forney Center, New York City was a city of danger, violence, and despair for homeless LGBTQ youth—he didn't just provide shelter; he crafted sanctuaries where love and care were personalized.”—Fr. Adam Bucko, author of Let Heartbreak Be Your Guide
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About the Author

Carl Siciliano
Carl Siciliano is a nationally recognized advocate and provider for homeless LGBTQ youth. In 2002, Siciliano founded the Ali Forney Center (AFC), which has grown to become the nation’s largest and most comprehensive housing program for homeless LGBTQ youth. His work has been featured by NPR, CNN, The Daily Show, and New York magazine. His writing has appeared in HuffPost, The Advocate, and The New York Times. More by Carl Siciliano
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