Community of the Dispossessed
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Published in: September-October 2023 issue.

Queer Kinship and Religion in San Francisco’s Tenderloin
by Joseph Plaster
Duke Univ. Press. 368 pages, $28.95

JOSEPH PLASTER’S Kids on the Street is an in-depth sociological study of “throwaway kids”: abandoned and runaway queer youths marginalized by their sexuality and/or gender identity, who forged informal networks of mutual support to navigate and survive on the streets and alleys and in flophouses in the vice-ridden districts of America’s major cities. Although the book focuses primarily on San Francisco’s Tenderloin district and the adjacent Polk Street area from the 1950s to the present, Plaster also discusses the history of other cities’ Tenderloin counterparts. Combining secondary research in various archives with his own participation in on-the-street support efforts and his tape-recorded interviews with dozens of street kids and others, Plaster presents an alternative queer history that’s largely disregarded in the prevailing account of LGBT history as a long but steady march from subjection to equality.

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Hank Trout has served as editor at a number of publications, most recently as senior editor for A&U: America’s AIDS Magazine.


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