A Publicity Update and Definition February 19, 2009Posted by cellardoor10 in Uncategorized.
Tags: Activism, facts, Homeless youth, Homelessness, legislation, LGBT, Minnesota Runaway and Homeless Youth Act, publicity, status
We have a couple events scheduled now (which are described on the Calendar page), and we have sent some posters to the copier (aka Dev). Anyway, our posters follow two major themes – DID YOU KNOW? and HOME … We are pretty excited about them because they are simple, direct, and striking visually. We think they will be on bright yellow paper, and probably everywhere (we’re getting 50 of them!), so keep an eye out. The DidYou Know? posters detail some startling facts about the issue of LGBT homelessness, suchas that 26% of LGBT youth are kicked out of their homes when they come out, up to 40% of homeless youth identify as LGBT, and that around one-third of homeless gay youth engage in survival sex.
Survival sex is not always a familiar concept to people, so I will quickly define it for you. It is especially overlooked in the U.S.A., where our government takes such a normative approach to sexual pleasure and sex work. I do not endorse sex work, but the paranoia around “promoting prostitution” demonstrated in HIV/AIDS policies and the lack of support for sex workers, who I view as victims, is a disservice to this often vulnerable population. Anyway, survival sex is when people, in this case LGBT homeless youth, prostitute themselves in order to afford food, shelter, or drugs to numb the pain.
Some people may say drugs don’t count as survival, but numbing the pain is sometimes a necessity if you are rejected from home (many are even physically assaulted when they come out), homeless, and forced to sell your body for food. Anyway, that could be a completely different post. My point is that while the government treats the people who engage in survival sex as deviant criminals, they should be treated as victims of systemis and cultural failings, and supported so they can remove themselves from a psychologically and physically detrimental mode of survival.
As for our events, we will be tabling Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday afternoon of next week, the 24th-26th, and we are volunteering that Saturday, the 28th. We may or may not have a speaker, since the group we were working with on that had to back out because of other commitments. We will have a film we can screen about homeless youth if the speaker doesn’t work out, though, and so the backup plan makes me much more comfortable about our prospects.
Additionally, I was doing a lot of the organizing early in the process due to my status as contact person with the shelters, but now Alexandre and Ruth have both taken on a lot more logistical details – getting transport, tabling, a script for legislation, designing posters, etc. I have really enjoyed getting knee-deep in this issue and my compatriots have been great so far, really keeping me grounded when I go off on crazy or overly ambitious ideas. I am so excited for next week, now that things are finally falling into place.