on May 23, 2010
I work with homeless lgbt kids in Memphis. This book is a collection of stories from the kids and stories from those who are trying to help. We are just beginning this work here, it was great to see what was being done elsewhere. I plan to purchase another or two, to pass on to those who don't 'get it.' Our kids are not safe in shelters no matter what the root of their homelessness. Thanks for putting this together.
on September 17, 2012
This was a solid 4-star book, but I added a star because the subject matter is so important: LGBT homeless youth. The contents are primarily stories written by those who have been kicked out of or have run away from hostile home environments (often due to religion or sexual abuse). A handful of pragmatic/academic analyses are included as a counterpoint to the first-person narratives.
For some of the writers, homelessness is a relatively recent experience--for others it is now in their past. Editor Lowrey put together the book she* wished had been available when she was first on the streets and needed confirmation that she was not alone, that she could survive. And although some of the kids forced to fend for themselves have been tragically lost, others show incredible resilience, banding together to form intentional families and the sanctuary of community.
The book points out that very few urban areas have recognized the need to serve dispossessed LGBT youth by establishing shelters or safehouses; money is tight and public support is often hard to rouse. The homelessness of these kids is but a symptom of a larger and more pervasive cultural problem: we are a society that does not value all people, and somehow there seems to be a tacit belief that parents of LGBT youth are entitled to abdicate their responsibility to love and protect the children they have created. (Such a mindset is, of course, due to a homophobic and transphobic culture.)
The stories are of slightly varying quality, partly due to the editor's conscious decision to leave the accounts in each writer's own words. However, most of the narratives are very impactful--and the idea that young people are left to fend for themselves before they are ready for physical, emotional, and psychological independence should be disturbing to us all. This book is about survival, in all its debasement and its glory.
[* Editor Sassafras Lowrey is referred to in this review as she, although s/he would have preferred the gender-neutral pronoun, ze. I must admit that although I understand the fluidity of the male-female continuum, I get a little turned around with genderqueer thinking--partly because I'm stuck in the headspace of traditional binary-gender pronouns.]
on October 16, 2012
This book is so important for the LGBTQ community and anyone who works with children. Reading first-hand accounts of homeless youth was heartbreaking and eye-opening. As a faculty member, I HIGHLY recommend this book for college students in sociology, social work, psychology, and other humanities.