Are there no prisons, are there no workhouses…?

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Disclosure

Out In Jersey Senior Editor Toby GraceEditorial

New York’s Mayor Bloomberg, a man whose personal worth is almost beyond calculation, has celebrated Christmas by slashing funding for homeless youth services by as much as 50%. New York City’s own Department of Human Services has estimated there are as many as 8,000 homeless LGBT youth on the streets of broken dreams, kids whose families threw them away because they were gay or who had to escape from abuse and exploitation. Other estimates put the number at closer to 3,000.

Does that matter when there are fewer than 300 shelter beds available to them? Where do the rest go? To the worst places imaginable; doorways, abandoned buildings, piers or the beds of sexual predators. How do you support yourself when you are, say 16, have no high school diploma, fixed address or working papers and are on the street? How do you eat? How do you get warm? How do you stay clean? You do not. You are hungry, dirty, cold and easy prey for the drug dealers, thieves, pimps and Johns – the scum of society – the “Fagins” who inhabit the lower depths of our world as much as they did in the days Charles Dickens wrote of in Oliver Twist and The Christmas Carol. 

Nothing has changed when a man as rich as Bloomberg can essentially say, with Ebenezer Scrooge, “are there no prisons? And the Union Workhouses, are they not still in operation? Then those who are badly off must go there…” And when we reply, as did the charity workers to Scrooge, “many can not go there and many would rather die,” Bloomberg’s answer in fact if not in so many words is the same as Scrooge’s; “if they be like to die, they had better do it and decrease a burdensome surplus of population.”

LGBT Kids – our kids – will die as a result of this cut in the already pathetically inadequate funding New York provides for homeless children. Some will die of drug overdoses who could have been saved by an outreach worker. Some will freeze to death in doorways. Some will be murdered. Some, in abject hopelessness and despair, will take their own lives. Their blood will be on the mayor’s hands and on our own hands as well if we do nothing to protest this administrative heartlessness. It doesn’t matter if we live in New York City or not. These are the children of our LGBT community, and they are the responsibility of us all. Do something! Protest! Raise Hell!

Out In Jersey Senior Editor Toby GraceEditorial

New York’s Mayor Bloomberg, a man whose personal worth is almost beyond calculation, has celebrated Christmas by slashing funding for homeless youth services by as much as 50%. New York City’s own Department of Human Services has estimated there are as many as 8,000 homeless LGBT youth on the streets of broken dreams, kids whose families threw them away because they were gay or who had to escape from abuse and exploitation. Other estimates put the number at closer to 3,000.