Homeless and Queer New Yorkers: Through the Lens

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homeless: Clothes spread out in city gutter.

Niamh McDonnell

This file photo of Manhattan is from 2019.

NEW YORK — The New York City bureau for the Center for Sustainable Journalism has extensively reported on queer homeless youth. Reporters and photographers Niamh McDonnell and Michael Tashji have sat down with three subjects who know first-hand what it is like to survive on the streets.

Faith Alastair was homeless on and off from the time she was 15. She’s currently an LGBTQ activist who leads the New York City chapter of the Pink Panthers Movement. Ael Ericha Loetterle spent a little less than two years on the street as a young adult. She’s now a parent to her daughter Khi Marie. Matthew “Fire” Mishefski is a 24-year-old queer homeless youth who currently lives in Manhattan’s Union Square Park. He’s trying to create new approaches to fight homelessness in New York. All three have faced — and overcome — the enormous odds typically experienced by queer homeless youth. 

Here, on our photoblog site for youth photographers, Bokeh Focus, is a slideshow of photos taken by McDonnell and Tashji over the past few months.

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