The film Queer Streets showed me how much heterosexist oppression jeopardizes people’s life chances and civil rights in serious ways. The stories of those that take refuge in Sylvia’s place show clearly that queer homeless youth are “more vulnerable than their straight counterparts to violence, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, sex work and mental illness.”
Isyss who was genetically born male but considers herself female, was 18 in the film and had been homeless for 1 week. She seemed to be the most optimistic of those at Sylvia’s about getting out and making a place for herself in the world so she set off to search for a job. She ended up at in New York after coming home from her school one day in Georgia when she was jumped by three guys and shot at. She felt that she had to run away. After a few weeks of searching for a job, she realized that once asked for identification people were did not like the fact that it said male although she considered herself female. After trying so hard, she felt defeated and said she didn’t know how to get out. You then see her later in the film, turning to prostitution as a way for her to make money. Kristen, another girl in the film, said that she figured Isyss would have to turn to prostitution, like Kristen, eventually. Isyss is unhappy being a prostitute, it makes her angry, but she would rather be a prostitute and be a woman than go back to being a male. If our society could be more open to lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders so many people would be able to live safer and happier lives.
Loubriel, who was 21 at the making of this film, had already been homeless for three years and has many ways of making money. Unfortunately, as many others who are on the street, Loubriel got into drugs with the cycle being dope, detox and dope again. One can see when watching the film what Loubriel wanted so badly to find a way out and one of the last things that Loubriel is seen doing in the film is going to Beth Israel hospital to detox, swearing it will be the last time. Loubriel didn’t make it much longer though, as the film was made in memory of Loubriel who lived from 1984-2007. So many others suffer the same fate as Loubriel all because of the awful way society as a whole treats lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders.
One of my gay friends said something once that changed the way I thought about those who are gay, lesbian bisexual or transgender. He said “it’s not like we choose this, why would we choose to be something that automatically makes people hate us and makes our lives that much harder”. This coming from a friend who is one of the smartest, most intelligent, outgoing people that I know and anyone else who knows him would say the same. Lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders are all people, are all human beings, and they have every right to be given the same opportunities and to be treated as equals in our society.