Street careers: Homelessness, drug use, and sex work among young men who have sex with men (YMSM)

"Hustling" or sex work is a common means of surviving on the streets and paying for drugs among homeless youth. In this article, we formulate the concepts of "street capital" and "street competencies" to describe how 10 young men who have sex with men (YMSM) in New York City accumulated various knowledge and skills throughout their childhood and adolescence, and later entered into homelessness and the street economy as sex workers. While half of these young men described themselves as gay or bisexual, sexual identity was not a primary consideration amongst these youth. All were homeless and/or users of illegal drugs, and all survived through intimate involvement in the "street economy"
Lankenau,Stephen E.
Clatts,Michael C.
Goldsamt,Lloyd A.
Gwadz,Marya Viost
Accession Number: 16136737; Lankenau, Stephen E. 1 Email Address: slankenau@chla.usc.eduClatts, Michael C. 2Welle, Dorinda 2Goldsamt, Lloyd A. 2Gwadz, Marya Viost 3; Affiliations: 1: University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, 6430 Sunset Boulevard, Suite 1500, Los Angeles, CA 90028, USA 2: National Development and Research Institutes, Inc., International Institute for Research on Youth at Risk, 71 West 23rd Street, 4th floor, New York, NY 10010, USA 3: National Development and Research Institutes, Inc., Institute for AIDS Research, 71 West 23rd Street, 8th Floor, New York, NY 10010, USA; Source Information: Jan2005, Vol. 16 Issue 1, p10; Subject Term: DRUG abuseSubject Term: HOMELESSNESSSubject Term: HOMOSEXUALITYSubject Term: YOUNG men; Author-Supplied Keyword: HomelessnessAuthor-Supplied Keyword: Drug use; Number of Pages: 9p; DOI: 10.1016/j.drugpo.2004.07.006; Document Type: Article
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International Journal of Drug Policy
This article describes ethnographic interviews with ten young, homeless men who have sex with men in New York City. It describes the street capital these men have accumulated as they have participated in the street economy as sex workers, and the street competencies these men have learned while surviving on the street. The article argues that these men began to accumulate street capital at an early age through experiences in various institutions, including their family, foster care, schools, hospitals, and jails. Combined with homelessness, different types of street capital combined with street competencies to result in street careers as sex workers participating in the street economy.
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Adolescent / High School; lesbian, gay, bisexual transgendered; Underserved Populations
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