Survival Sex, a forthcoming drama written and directed by Ukachi Arinzeh, aims to bring attention to a system that’s failing today’s homeless LGBTQ youth. With slim state budgets across the country, limited resources and shrinking availability at shelters force young people who’re thrown onto the streets to trade sex for survival.
In Arinzeh’s short, a 17-year-old named Caleb Carter (played by Tre Summers) is kicked out by his mother when she discovers his sexuality, calling him a “sissy boy” and refusing to allow his “lifestyle” in her house. Left alone on the New York streets, Carter must fend for himself without any money or food—a reality that finds him engaging in sex work.
According to the New York’s Ali Forney Center, LGBTQ youth comprise up to 40 percent of NYC’s homeless population today. Studies also verify that queer street youth are subject to greater levels of sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, stalking violence, trauma, HIV infection, mental health issues and substance abuse than their homeless heterosexual peers.
Scheduled for release this fall, you can watch the official Survival Sex trailer, above.