I don’t know about you guys but I’ve always dreamt of being in a gay gang. It’s my idea of what Palm Springs is to older gay men: an commune of like minded men but, unlike the queer desert oasis, we’re all tough and standing up for each other, fighting hate crimes and caring for our own. My “fantasy” has always been a joke steeped in reality, that LGBTQ persons do need a support system because you are always at risk.
In tough cities like Washington, D.C., this is especially true for young people. When their families do not approve of their lifestyle, where else are they to turn? To each other. This is how the gang Check It formed. They are a being toted as the only American gay and transgender street gang who formed out of the need to protect themselves, to escape discrimination and general hate in their community. It’s a really awesome story to hear about, one that many should be aware of as it highlights just how fucked up people can be to LGBTQ youth (and beyond).
There’s actually a documentary in production right now about the group—and they’re seeking funding now to complete the project. The film follows the group, seemingly analyzing and understanding their psychology, and mapping their hopeful evolution from the streets to sustainable lifestyles and careers (potentially in fashion). The film will absolutely be captivating, exchanging sensationalism for realness.
What’s funny about this film and “gang” is that at one point there is actually a guy included in the film who I actually know: when I attended school in Washington, D.C., I was a part of a community service group that used theatre to assist students in Ballou High School, hoping to provide them with activities and resources for a better future. Many were LGBTQ and have gone on to great lives: the one that I noticed in the video was hosting a fashion show, which I know he had been working at since he was a late teen almost ten years ago. That is great news.
If you have some spare cash, you should donate to the cause: it will only help raise awareness of all LGBTQ youth in need. These kids could be any of us LGBTQ persons. Not that this documentary will “solve all problems” for the group but it shines a light on different circumstance, that sometimes us others have to adapt and evolve in order to survive.