Wednesday, July 12, 2006

For Gays on the Streets, Survival Comes Before Pride

This article appeared a year ago (June 2004) in the NY Times. Sometimes, these issues get a minute of publicity and then fade from the public consciousness. I had an opportunity to observe firsthand the plight of some of these youth on the pier at the end of Christopher St. this spring. I also wrote about what I saw then.

In an effort to keep your attention on this serious issue facing our black, same gender loving youth, I remind you now of this article and encourage you to contribute your time, energy and money to help alleviate some their suffering and help give them a start toward being self sufficient black men. This is the story of OUR CHILDREN.


David Antoine's coming out last year did not exactly fill his family with pride. A few months shy of his high school graduation, Mr. Antoine said, his mother told him to pack his bags, and he was suddenly out on the icy streets of Brooklyn, his life stuffed into a trash bag, his bed the hard back of a subway car rumbling from one end of the city to the other.

Brian Murray is still trying to find his place in what is known as the gay community. A good night is the soft bed of a stranger and $100 in the morning. A bad night is an empty stomach, a park bench and the rousing jolt of a nightstick on his bare feet as he is ordered to move on.

Like Mr. Antoine and Mr. Murray, his friends, Michael Leatherbury, 25, would consider cheering his gay brothers and sisters marching down Fifth Avenue this afternoon if he had a few coins in his pocket and a place to call his own. No sense flirting with strangers, he says, when home is a lumpy cot in a city shelter. "Being homeless is not exactly conducive to dating," he says with a shrug. "These days, I'm not feeling very prideful."

Click here to read more....

From Fratman:

Step out of your comfort zone and do something to help someone who so desperately need your help. Find an organization that will feed, clothe and/or give a bed to these youth in your city or another. I suggest you start with GMAD. For more information about homelessness among homeless LGBT youth and a lists of shelters in your state, see the Safe Schools Coalition website. If you know of others, feel free to post them here in the comments section for others to see. Be sure to include contact information.


(Since I posted this, I have received one comment from the Captain. I hope you will also respond because as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. has said:

"History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people.")


Anonymous said...

I fully understand we must love one another and help out by giving according to charity. However, I cannot fund ignorance, rebellion and pride. These children are prime examples and reasons that we should NOT support them in their selfish behaviors.

Troy N. said...

We are those children and until our hearts and minds open up a little bit more will begin to do what has to be done, for them and for the planet we live on.

Kenneth Winfrey said...

On one hand, people like "the Captain" is on to something. After all, I was kicked out of the house at 17 and never spent a night on the street. Just because your parents kick you out doesn't mean that you have to sleep in the park down the street. Keep going, find something better.

On the other hand, it was a blessing for me to have a pretty face back then, and a few IQ points to go with it. I found "lovers"--the kind of men that would take me home and make feel like a kept pet. Pleasant conversation and demands met in the sack meant that my room and board were paid.

Even though I was not ever really homeless or on the street, it still eventually became a terrible way to live. At 25, I decided to return to school, finish my degree, and live my life under my own power--and faith.

Ultimately, I'd like to find out just how many more SGL youth are homeless than the general population (as there are higher rates for suicide)?

I would rather know the situation more fully before I call someone ignorant, rebellious, proud, or selfish. Any good Captain would know better than to rush to to judgement.

David E. Patton said...

Thank you for reprinting the article. I haven't had the cause to think that maybe there would be homeless gay youths out there on the streets.

Jeff Crowder said...

I'm a little confused, I'm not gay nor from NY. Do gay homeless teens have to go to gay homeless shelters, or can they go to any shelter?

The article made it sound like they are segregated from hetero homeless.