Homeless New York City LGBT youth cope with street life by having 'survival sex': federal study

Published: February 25, 2015

Original Article:  nydn.us/1zjoWk6

NEW YORK — A unique federally funded study offers a detailed look at the lives of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth in New York City who cope with homelessness and poverty by engaging in what the researchers call "survival sex."

In extensive interviews conducted over three years by the Urban Institute, 283 young people spoke about experiencing family rejection, establishing support networks with groups of their peers, and learning how to subsist on earnings from sexual encounters. Many said there were positive aspects to their lives, but a large majority expressed a yearning to get out of the sex business.

"They don’t see themselves as victims … but it’s not empowering for them to be doing this," said Meredith Dank, the report’s lead author. "These are kids in very desperate situations who will do what they need to do to be able to survive."

The study, funded by the Justice Department’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, focused on youth between 15 and 21, although a handful of participants were older.

Of the respondents, 47 percent identified as male, 36 percent as female and 16 percent as transgender. About 90 percent were black, Latino or multiracial, and nearly 60 percent said they lived either in a shelter or on the street, often after being kicked out of their homes or aging out of foster care.

Full text of article available at link below:  nydn.us/1zjoWk6

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