Lambda Literary: “Discarded Teens: ‘Kicked Out'”

It might claim otherwise, but the sex industry is no friend to the LGBT community. Lambda Literary writes in June:

There’s a dirty secret in the LGBT community. One we rarely discuss, but one that affects thousands of queer teens every year: homelessness. According to a report by The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 26% of LGBTQ youth were kicked out of their homes when they came out. A disconcerting 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBTQ…

The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force says, “LGBTQ youth are three times more likely to participate in survival sex.” “Survival sex,” Lowrey explains, “is one strategy for survival involving the sex industry — either exchanging sexual acts for money or for food and shelter.” These teens’ barriers to health care access make HIV and STDs a particular challenge.

In “Framing Federal Policy to Benefit LGBTQ Homeless Youth,” Kicked Out contributor Richard Hooks Wayman addresses the simple steps adults can take to help curtail the epidemic of youth homelessness within the queer community:

There is a role for the LGBTQ community to play in ending youth homelessness—a role for advocacy, a role for sustained giving to youth services, and a role in reaching out and building relationships with vulnerable queer youth. LGBTQ adults can ensure that vulnerable, homeless youth are not assaulted in street environments and not recruited into the commercial sex industry through strip clubs and prostitution. LGBTQ adults have the opportunity to reflect on their own behaviors and consumption patterns by not supporting businesses or venues that encourage the sexual exploitation of youth through erotic dancing, escort services or prostitution.

Click for the full article

See also:

New York Times: “For Runaways, Sex Buys Survival” (10/31/09)
Nearly a third of the children who flee or are kicked out of their homes each year engage in sex for food, drugs or a place to stay, according to a variety of studies published in academic and public health journals. But this kind of dangerous barter system can quickly escalate into more formalized prostitution, when money changes hands. And then, child welfare workers and police officials say, it becomes extremely difficult to help runaways escape the streets. Many become more entangled in abusive relationships, and the law begins to view them more as teenage criminals than under-age victims…

Escort Prostitution: A Response to Tom Vannah, Editor of the Valley Advocate
Mr. Vannah concedes that “there is some percentage of people who are not willing participants in the sex industry”, but believes that if the Advocate refuses to accept Massage/Escort ads, this will unacceptably crimp “artistic freedom”. He mentions Mapplethorpe pictures as an example. How dropping ads for commercial sex enterprises will compel the Advocate to turn away Mapplethorpe pictures is not clear to us…

News Roundup: Age of Entry into Prostitution Declining

Realities of Teen Prostitution Mock Notions of ‘Sex Work’, ‘Sex-Positive’, ‘Freedom’ and ‘Empowerment’; Media Glamorizes Pimps