The Unseen World of LGBT Homeless Youth Agosto 23, 2015Posted by paulo jorge vieira in academia, activismo.
Tags: juventude, sem abrigo
The Unseen World of LGBT Homeless Youth
In his new book, author Ryan Berg details the difficulties of LGBT kids caught in a broken system — and his struggle to help them.
(a review of Hugh Ryan on takepart)
In his new book No House to Call My Home: Love, Family, and Other Transgressions, Ryan Berg tells the stories of some of the residents of the New York City group home for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youths where he worked in the early aughts. As is true for many LGBT youths in the foster care system, the teens he profiles face a stunning and terrible array of challenges, homophobia and transphobia among them but also racism, family abandonment, drug addiction, unsafe schools, lack of access to job training, poverty, and—last but decidedly not least—the underfunded and badly broken foster care system.
These are youths like Benny, the 19-year-old who spends his days maxing out credit cards by talking to men on phone sex lines while trying to graduate from high school and deal with the recent death of his mother (due to AIDS complications). Or Bella, a young transgender woman nearing “aging out” (the time when she will no longer be able to stay in the foster care system) with no concrete plan for where she will live or what she will do next.
Berg enters this world as a “man from the Midwest with no social service experience” who finds himself “wholly unprepared for the myriad personal and social issues” the youths present. The book is told in discrete but connected chapters that focus on one or two of the youths at a time; over its course, we see them struggle and Berg struggling right alongside them—to understand their issues, to stay motivated in the face of overwhelming difficulties, and to figure out his role as the part-time state-mandated authority figure in their lives.
No House to Call My Home opens and closes with a litany of statistics and stories that attest to the structural nature of the problems; the point is to make clear that these are not the issues or failures of individual youths (or their families or communities) but rather the fruits of structural oppression and our society’s general disregard for poor young people of color and especially poor, queer young people of color.