Wednesday, February 09, 2005

What will the children tell us 

Maya Marcel Keyes brings up an issue that gets, well, none, or very little, attention. Especially from the media glitterati.
In the International Herald Tribune two days ago was an article about gay homeless kids. It said something anyone who knows anything about life for homeless kids will have noticed - "as many as half of all homeless youth are lesbian or gay, many of them tossed out by parents who scorn homosexuality for a variety of reasons."

I've had three friends in the past few years who've been kicked out of their houses for no other reason whatsoever than being gay. Two of those three are dead now (one from leukemia - his parents didn't know he was sick at the time they tossed him out but even after finding out didn't want to help him; the other was murdered by a group of other street kids who left the knife they stabbed him with still sticking out of his body, pinning a sheet of paper to his chest that just said "FAG") and the third (prior to being kicked out he was a straight-A student, captain of the track team, 1500 SATs, who didn't touch drugs or cigarettes or alchohol and who was planning on staying a virgin until marriage) was raped by two men and beaten nearly to death within two weeks of being thrown onto the streets and is now a heroin-addicted prostitute who has starved himself down to about 70 lbs.

Privileged straight people rarely ever believe you if you tell them that so many kids get kicked out for being gay. They say things like, "Well he must have been [insert bigoted sterotypical all-queers-do-this activity here; eg., having tons of promiscuous sex, going out to clubs all night, taking drugs] and that's the real reason they did it." Which is total predjudiced garbage and even if your kids were doing any of the above what on earth will it help them forcing them into an environment where they're going to end up doing much worse just to stay alive? Most sane parents would try and help their kids if they found they were promiscuous addicts, not just throw them out like so much trash.

Saturday, February 05, 2005
Shymmer was kicked out of his house a few years ago, the summer after his junior year in high school, because he is gay and his parents are conservative. Sounds familiar?

But unlike me, Shymmer's parents aren't famous, and he didn't have a huge online community supporting him. So Shymmer, for the past few years, has been actually out on the streets. He did manage to finish high school (like me also, he was Ivy-League accepted, but never made it to college - he was in my graduating year, 2003) but since then has been wandering. Any of you who deal with street kids at all will know at least somewhat what the streets can do to people - after a couple years it has certainly taken its toll on Shymm. He went from a bright cheerful kid with a potentially bright future to something of a wreck, having been beaten, raped, and otherwise abused during his time on the streets more than I like to think about. He ended up here where I am - in Chicago - on heroin and selling himself, until Shiva brought him back to DC and he cleaned up. But even off heroin and with Skyzombie's roof over his head, all the abuse is hard to get rid of, and emotionally he's just not been in a good place.


I suppose that more than anything this has just reminded me even more why Bria and I for so long have wanted to start a GLBT youth center; a place where queer homeless kids especially can find support - run by people who actually know what it's like to be in their position...


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