The Other Side of the Rainbow: Homeless GLBTQ Youth

Follow us throughout the fall for posts which highlight library resources and information that supports the Tiny: Streetwise Revisited exhibit at the Central Library and its community programming.

This is my second year on the Rainbow Book List Committee whose charge is:

“To select from the year’s publications, books that reflect gay/lesbian/bisexual/trans-gendered/queer-questioning (glbtq) experience for young people from birth to age 18 and to annotate selected titles.”

Ultimately that means for the past two years I have dedicated myself to reading and evaluating fiction and nonfiction titles for and about GLBTQ youth. A little while ago, I was asked to suggest fiction titles that included GLBTQ youth who are homeless. As I was asked this, I immediately thought about the fact that there are 1.6 million youth experiencing homelessness in America, 40% of those youth identify as LGBT when LGBT identified youth only make up about 7% of the total population of youth. The numbers are staggering – “more than 1 in 4 teens are thrown out of their homes” when they come out. If fiction were to reflect reality, it would mean that of all the books published about homeless youth, forty percent of those titles would include LGBT protagonists, and 1 in 4 fiction titles about LGBT youth would include these teens being asked to leave their home for revealing that they identify as LGBT.

glbtq

Continue reading “The Other Side of the Rainbow: Homeless GLBTQ Youth”

We Are Tiny: Streetwise Fiction

Follow us throughout the fall for posts which highlight library resources and information that supports the Tiny: Streetwise Revisited exhibit at the Central Library and its community programming.

The life of Erin Blackwell can be flipped through in a book and analyzed through the television screen, but don’t think for a minute that she’s not real. Tiny has had a life all her own and so have countless other children of the streets. While this list of books contains fictional characters they touch upon very real situations that people on the streets deal with on a daily basis. Where to eat, where to sleep, and wondering if they will ever find “home”.

two riversTwo Rivers by T. Greenwood is mainly the story of Harper Montgomery, but it is also the story of love, connection, and redemption going back and forth between the past and the present. When a train derails in the small town of Two Rivers, Vermont, Harper takes in Maggie, a survivor of the wreckage with nowhere else to go. As the story unfolds we find that Maggie is expecting a baby, Harper is still distraught over the death of his wife 12 years earlier, and Harper’s daughter Shelly is eager for an emotionally available parent (although finds friendship in Maggie). As the pieces come together you see the whole story and what a story it is. Continue reading “We Are Tiny: Streetwise Fiction”

Homelessness and Our Society: A Deeper Dive

Follow us throughout the fall for posts which highlight library resources and information that supports the Tiny: Streetwise Revisited exhibit at the Central Library and its community programming.

As you may know, the Central Library is currently presenting a thought-provoking and poignant exhibit, called Streetwise Revisited. We’ve put together some great resources that focus on the “heart” of the matter—the poignancy and sometimes despair of living without a home, the interaction of feeling and art, fiction and film treatments of homelessness, and more.  But what about the “head” aspect, of why homelessness exists in our society, why it is so persistent and pervasive, and where we can go in addressing it?

If you want to do a deeper dive into these questions, take a look at these three examples to spur thinking and discussion in these works! Continue reading “Homelessness and Our Society: A Deeper Dive”

Streetwise Revisited: Homeless Youth

Follow us throughout the fall for posts which highlight library resources and information that supports the Tiny: Streetwise Revisited exhibit at the Central Library and its community programming.

Every year the Seattle/King County Coalition on Homelessness conducts a One Night Count, a county-wide effort to count the number of individuals sleeping on the streets, in shelters or in transitional housing.  They also conduct another count that focuses exclusively on youth ages 12-25 called Count Us In, now in its sixth year.  The results of the 2015 Count Us In efforts reported a staggering – and increasing – number of youth and young adults without reliable housing.  Over 800 youth did not have housing on January 22, 2015.   Within those results are some figures that are especially troubling: fully one third of homeless youth identify as Black/African American, and nearly one quarter identify as LGBTQ.  These numbers make it clear that we, as a city and county, have a lot of work to when it comes to supporting youth who are struggling.  Continue reading “Streetwise Revisited: Homeless Youth”

In The Era Of Streetwise: Seattle 1983-1984

Follow us throughout the fall for posts which highlight library resources and information that supports the Tiny: Streetwise Revisited exhibit at the Central Library and its community programming.

Seattle skyline 1983
Seattle Skyline 1983

Streetwise was a documentary released in 1984 that showed us “even in a town that billed itself as America’s most livable city, there still existed rampant homelessness and desperation” [1]. Today, as the mayor declares a state of emergency in response to the homeless crisis and the ever growing need for affordable housing, it’s at our attention now more than ever, but what was Seattle like in the era of Streetwise… Continue reading “In The Era Of Streetwise: Seattle 1983-1984”