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?




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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.

6 comments:

  1. Excellent post Simon. Any parent who throws their own flesh and blood out in the street are despicable and bear a responsibility to love and support them, not some bigoted church outfit. I would truly love to meet some of those parents and bring them down to the lowlifes they are for their crimes against their own children.

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  2. A bit idealistic to expect action from the people in the Gay Ghetto - generally, it seems, more interested in maintaining their consumer bliss than being engaged socially!

    The ghettos seem like concentrations of negativity: concerned less with change and celebration than with exploitation and simple gratification.

    (I really like the new tone of your writing, Simon).

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  3. Simon,

    o/t - to thank you for all the insightful and information posts in the past year. Much enjoyed and appreciated.

    Wishing you and yours a Happy, Peaceful, and fun Christmas and the very, very best in 2008.

    p.s. belly rubs to the dog.

    Cheers

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  4. Hi Waterboy...thanks. I also have trouble understanding how parents could throw their children out of their own home. It's depressing..But I was glad to see that this new study backed up the one put out by the HRC last January. So now they KNOW that the problem is real...let's see what they actually DO about it...

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  5. Hi Lept...I'm not sure that it's negativity....just an uneasy mix of bars and homes. The bars want us to party until we drop...and the property owners want the price of their homes to go up.So you end up with a bunch of heavy drinking old timers fondly recalling the days when you picked up tricks in a bar instead of on the net. Before staggering back to their homes and telling the crack urchins sitting on their garden walls to take a hike or they'll call the cops....:) I wouldn't live in one myself although I suppose they can be like sanctuaries for gay people who are just coming out. I just wish we had more gay bands and other radical cool political and artistic expression mixed in with all the usual boring bars. Of course...on a warm July Saturday night in Montreal's gay village... I sometimes forget all that... :)

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  6. Hi Sassy!! Thank you. And the same to you. May you have a great holiday season and may 2008 be your BEST year ever!!!!
    And thanks for all your support this year...I....um...needed it :)

    Kerouac thanks you too. He'd thank you personally...but having eaten a piece of turkey that dropped from a fork....now he's got the runs!!! :(

    Gimme a white Xmas quick I need one!!

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