Queers in Exile: the Unforgotten Legacies of LGBTQ Homeless Youth opened 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.
Queers in Exile: the Unforgotten Legacies of LGBTQ Homeless Youth will be on exhibit at the Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art, 26 Wooster Street, New York, NY from July 17, 2013 to July 28, 2013. An opening reception will be held on July 17, 2013 from 6 to 8 pm at the Museum. Visit freshfruitfestival.com for a full schedule of events for All Out Arts Fresh Fruit Festival.
About the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art
An “invaluable museum,” Holland Cotter, New York Times, June 2013
Best place for gay culture, Time Out New York: New York’s Best 2012
The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art is the first and only dedicated gay and lesbian art museum in the world with a mission to exhibit and preserve gay and lesbian art, and foster the artists who create it. The Museum has a permanent collection of over 22,000 objects, 6-8 major exhibitions annually, artist talks, film screenings, readings, THE ARCHIVE – a quarterly art newsletter, a membership program, and a research library. The Leslie-Lohman Museum is operated by the Leslie/Lohman Gay Art Foundation, a non-profit founded in 1987 by Charles W. Leslie and Fritz Lohman who have supported gay and lesbian artists for over 30 years. The Leslie-Lohman Museum embraces the rich creative history of the gay and lesbian art community by informing, inspiring, entertaining and challenging all who enter its doors.
The Museum is located at 26 Wooster Street, in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City. Admission is free, and hours are 12pm-6pm Tuesday through Sunday. The Museum is closed Monday and all major holidays. The Leslie/Lohman Gay Art Foundation is a non-profit organization and is exempt from taxation under section 501(c)3 of the IRS Code. The Museum can be reached at 212-431-2609. For more
Photgraphy by: Jamie Martinez