Giovanni Fernandez was three years old when he entered the Los Angeles County foster care system. His mother tried to drown him before he was even a toddler. He’s never met his biological father.
Fernandez was in a group home before landing in two foster houses, the second of which he remained in through high school. As a teenager, Fernandez came out to his Catholic foster mother, who responded by telling him all gay people would “burn in hell.” At Thanksgiving dinner, he was sent to sit in his room alone so he wouldn’t influence her grandchildren or give them the AIDS she assumed he had.