Wednesday, February 25, 2015

NYT Article on Survival Sex

Study Details Lives of LGBT Youths Engaged in 'Survival Sex' -

I want to share this article because of its emphasis on coping mechanisms for LGBT youth in New York City. Hopefully many of us know by now that a staggeringly large proportion of homeless youth identify as LGBT, their homelessness a result of facing stigma from caretakers. This kind of ethnographic study seemed to give voice to many of the concerns of the people actually living in these conditions. It also avoids the "savior" trope to which so many ethnographic studies of populations facing hardship resort. In particular, this article does that by noting how social services systems and providers have failed to offer adequate opportunities for LGBT youth. This also brings up how other aspects of sexuality are regulated beyond sexual orientation or gender identity. It seems like until more people have access to housing, employment, and health care, people should also be looking for ways to make sex work safer (especially in respect to the abuse from law enforcement officers) for those who engage in it as a survival method. Good things to be thinking about.


  1. What I found almost unnerving about this topic is the blunt awareness that these people have in their predicament, they are bound by certain realities like the need to eat and as a result its driven them to such extremes. It truly reflects how far this country needs to go before it honestly say that it supports the need of all its people, while steps are being taken in the right direction, it needs to happen with more urgency

  2. I agree with Nix and I'm glad that you posted this article, Ben! Homelessness is just another veil that further marginalizes people and is also the compilation of multiple factors that usually stem from structural forms of oppression. I'm particularly concerned about trans* youth who are unable to find adequate shelter except for the handful of trans* shelters that are located in large, East Coast cities.