The new documentary film, Pier Kids: The Life, follows the life of DeSean, Casper, and Krystal. All three were kicked out of their home because of their sexuality yet they found a community and created strong family bonds on the streets of the west village. These young people spend most of their transient days at the pier, traversing up and down Christopher Street, or bouncing from one social services organization to the next. The story of these particular youths isn't uncommon however. Although only 10% of the general youth population identifies as LGBT, they compromise 20% of the homeless population. This disproportionate statistic is larger due to the severe family conflict that many gay and trans youth face when they come out.
Pier Kids: The Life started a Kickstarter campaign on November 1, with the hopes of raising $30,000 to finish production on this very raw, sobering, and important film.
The film examines the intersectionality of race, family, and the ever changing landscape of New York City's most iconic neighborhoods. Krystal a young black transwoman has become a mother to several other "Pier kids", reestablishing the mother/child bond that was taken from her when she came out and, subsequently, migrated to New York City from Kansas. DeSean, who was raised in the foster care system, was finally reunited with his birthmother only to be shunned by her because he is gay. Casper, a trans-attracted man, was struck by a car and killed at 2am on his way to visit his girlfriend who is transgender. He was not allowed to have his girlfriend in the home he was residing in at the time because she was trans. These young people are not only burdened by broken familial relationships but are also dealing with an aggressive and ubiquitous police presence. As the neighborhood caters to the influx of upper middle class and wealthy constituents, the queer youth are being pushed further and further on the margin. Ironically, the hundreds of displaced gay youth at Pier 45 are less than a half mile from The Stonewall Inn, birthplace of the modern LGBT movement. Pier Kids is an important documentary that tells the stories of the people who are often voiceless. It gives a well-rounded view of the systemic issues facing homeless youth, and will indeed inspire change.
Check out the Kickstarter campaign and share with your friends.