Pier Kids @ Indie Memphis Film Festival

Stats show us that young LGBTQ+ of colour are at high risk for things like abuse, victims of violence, poverty, murder, and homelessness. A population at risk. Here, in an educational and intimate documentary directed by Elegance Bratton, we follow three LGBTQ+ young people of colour who have been kicked out of their family homes and are living on the street.

In New York City ironically the place where LGBTQ+ homeless youths gather/hang out/live is at the Christopher Street Pier. Ironic because it was here where much of the activism of the community began. The Stonewall Inn is in that area of Greenwich Village where the famous stand off against the police happened.

Now it is an area of much dispute as residents don’t appreciate all the late night “noise” which happens there and that it has become an area known for “cruising” or soliciting of sex workers. Many of the young homeless LGBTQ+ of colour (Black and Latino) have turned to sex work out of necessity. With the gentrification of the area of late there has risen some class and race clashes.

We see how they have to battle. Battle for the same rights and privileges many of us take for granted. We see that merely surviving is a fight for them. In the Pier area they, who have been rejected by their biological families, have created their own chosen families with strong bonds. These families are part of the defense mechanisms they have put in place to ward off attacks and violence.

Though, due to their difficult lives, amazingly they remain hopeful. They dream of a better life. Life has battered them, but they are not broken. Eloquently they tell us of their hopes. How they are looking for love. How they work as sex workers to buy food or other basics for survival. Their words show us how brave they are in the face of all they have to fight against.

Many of New York City’s vulnerable populations have been examined or given their time in the spotlight. Such is not the case with the young, of colour, homeless LGBTQ+. Here Bratton places them front and center. Shows how they are just like everyone else – they want to be loved, live freely, feel safe, and have opportunities.

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