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SAMANTHA BOX Cocco kisses her girlfriend, Melissa, during drop-in hours at Sylvia's Place. April 2007 Archival ink jet

QUEERS IN EXILE: the Unforgotten Legacies of LGBTQ Homeless Youth

Jul 17 - Jul 28, 2013

Text from Leslie Lohman Press 2013 Release:

Queers in Exile: the Unforgotten Legacies of LGBTQ Homeless Youth opens at the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York City on July 17 and runs through July 28, 2013; it is presented as part of the All Out Arts Fresh Fruit Festival. The exhibition explores the personal histories, creativity, and activism of LGBTQ street-involved youth from the Stonewall Riots of 1969 to present day. Inspired by transgender activist Sylvia Rivera’s essay Queens in Exile, the Forgotten Ones, this exhibition makes visible the long-hidden crisis of queer youth homelessness, while highlighting the powerful ways these young people have helped each other survive and create change.

Featuring work from Samantha Box, Diana Davies, Destination Tomorrow, Leonard Fink, Gerard Gaskin, Thomas Lanigan-Schmidt, Carol Polcovar, The Ballroom Archive and Oral History Project, The Hear Me ROAR! Project, Vanguard Revisited Project, Richard Renaldi, Richard Wandel, Andy Warhol, and Whose Streets, Our Streets. Queers in Exile: the Unforgotten Legacies of LGBTQ Homeless Youth pays homage to the fight, strength, and accomplishments of queer street-involved youth. And, it is a call to action to give this community the resources and respect they deserve, so that along with the voice of Sylvia Rivera, past, present and future generations of queer youth on the street, can “peacefully say, ‘I’ve finally overcome.'”

Through oral history, photography, archival footage and pieces submitted by LGBTQ current and former homeless youth, Alexis Heller, curator and founder of Coalition for Queer Youth, engages the voices of Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, Vanguard Youth, young people at Larkin Street Services and Sylvia’s Place, the House/Ballroom community and more. This intergenerational conversation reflects the incredible resilience and important contributions of LGBTQ homeless and transitional youth–in spite of society’s desire to keep them at the margins.

Queers In Exile, the Unforgotten Legacies of LGBTQ Homeless Youth focuses on ‘chosen family,’ redefining House and home, organizing and political actions, and resistance. It is a view of history told by those who live/lived it within a community often silenced and ignored, but the vision goes beyond visibility. It is about collective memory and conscience, and repositioning queer homeless young people from ‘other’ to ‘our own.’ By recognizing the strengths of generations who have survived on the streets and the valuable legacies they have created in our community, this exhibition acts as an intervention. It offers homeless youth a place by grounding them within an empowered history and lineage, honors their struggle, and reflects that they matter.

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