Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth account for the largest percentage of homeless teens on the streets. Forty-six percent of those youth are on the streets from being kicked out of unwelcoming homes, and a staggering 59% of those homeless LGBT youth have reported being sexually victimized compared to 33% of their heterosexual homeless counterparts.¹
As you’re reading this post, one in three LGBT homeless youth will be recruited by a trafficker to sell their bodies for money, turning to what is known as survival sex.¹
As a gay man, I was fortunate to have parents who accepted me with open arms when I came out of the closet—I never had to worry about being kicked out. Sadly, as the statistics above illustrate, a high percentage of my peer group likely ended up on the streets as we came of age. In the back of my mind I’ve always known this—and have definitely counted my blessings—but it really hit home for me when a story from a gay man who had been trafficked was shared as one of many stories in “Facing Sex Trafficking: Atlanta’s Dirty Little Secret.”
As I sat in the audience of Atlanta’s book release and monologue event and heard the story, “Dear Mom and Dad,” I held back tears as I realized this story could have easily been mine had I been born into a different family.
Atlanta-based writer and designer Jeff Perri wrote this man’s story and read it at the monologue event. After the event, Jeff told me audience members came up to him and said they were sorry he had to endure all of the pain. They were equally taken aback when Jeff shared with them that it wasn’t his story at all—just one he had written. When a Facing Project story is read and convinces audience members the story is the writer’s/reader’s/actor’s, that’s when we know a story is powerful and has worked its magic.
To bring awareness to all of the LBGT youth who have been trafficked, this week’s Featured Story from The Facing Project is “Dear Mom and Dad,” as told to Jeff Perri.
¹According to a November 2013 article from the Human Trafficking Search, an online portal providing easily accessible information on human trafficking for law enforcement, educators, and policy makers.