Saturday, December 22, 2007
Secret Postcards and Homeless Gay Kids
I don't know why this postcard made me think of this story.
A new study says there are at least 3,800 people under the age of 25 living on the streets of New York and that almost 30 percent are gay, lesbian or bisexual.
The survey found that while many homeless youth went to city shelters 42 percent slept on the streets, subways or in empty buildings. Some, the study said, turned to prostitution trying to find a "trick" to spend the night with
Maybe it's because like bullying ....being thrown out of your home or being forced to leave and live on the street because of who you are or who you love....is a HIDDEN crime. Some can't see it. Others don't want to.
Even though in NYC it's been a growing problem for years.
With just two dozen beds available for gay, lesbian and transgender youth, they endure violence in the city's shelters, camp out in doorways in Harlem or pass the night at a 24-hour Internet cafe next to Disney's New Amsterdam Theater on 42nd Street. There, many of them trawl the Web for paying ''dates'' or try their luck on Christopher Street in the far West Village, where some quick work in a passing car might yield $30. ''You've got to do what you've got to do to survive,'' says Mr. Murray, who is 22 and has been turning tricks in the Village since he was 15.
And don't think it's any different in the big cities of Canada. Because it isn't. The gay kids are out there. But we can't see them ....or don't want to.
Especially when they turn up on the gentrified streets of our Gay Villages. Smoking crack, begging or bumming cigarettes. Or selling their bodies for a place to sleep.
And to make things even worse ... many of the kids themselves can't talk about what happened to them.
Because they feel bad about telling the truth.
Like sick people sometimes do...
As if the gay kids were the sick ones instead of those who bullied them at school. Or their own parents who threw them into the street.
So homophobia gets off lightly. Again.
Isn't it time society faced this problem and its cause...and did more to help ALL homeless kids....gay AND straight?
Isn't it time the gay community took more responsibility for the fate of our young people?
Or is it time for a riot?
P.S. For more postcards like those above check out the awesome Post Secret Project
And if you are a gay youth in Toronto you can get help at this excellent support centre.