Reviewed by Ilhem
STORY: Bridges and Angels
BOOK: Lost and Found
AUTHORS: MF Kays
EDITOR: Kris Jacen
PUBLISHER: Featherweight Press
BLURB: Some statistics say that 40% of all homeless teens are GLBT. They’re on the streets after their families have thrown them away, told them that they don’t matter, that they’re not normal. Well, guess what? Those families are wrong. This collection of stories by ten talented authors spans the spectrum (historical, paranormal, transgender, cutter, gay) to show that – it’s okay, there are people out there that care, and these teens are perfect just the way they are.
“Bridges and Angels” opens the anthology “Lost and Found”: two words that cover many realities and this is the story of one of them. Gipson’s story.
Gipson is 18 years old and he’s learning. He’s learning to survive on the streets, to find temporary warmth and shelter, to run and to hide, to be wary and scared.
Soon I fear, he will learn to turn tricks. Survival has its cost, right?
Wariness again, the comfort of a fire camp under a bridge and a plunge back in time, a trembling, tender, cute and exciting first time that ends up abruptly in pain, terror and losses.
Back under the bridge, Gipson’s story follows its course…
I‘m not a huge fan of the angel plot device, but with a broken story line that gives punch to the narrative, an on the whole well developed plot and details that ring true, Bridges and Angels is a story – but not a romance -that hit right in the target and to which I related. You’ll have to bear the echo, I’m afraid!
There is a whole range of reactions to homosexuality, bisexuality and transgender. What struck me at the beginning is how vital it is to preserve familial bonds, how important education, information, sometimes mediation are in matter of prevention.
Still, at the extreme of the spectrum, there is Gipson’s father who lives parenthood as a creditor in a transaction that he can rightfully end as long as he feels that the debt is not being paid, who can take everything back and kick the child he pampered out. Purely and simply erased.
As much as I’m rejoicing that the educational and informational work pays off, that the world is changing and that more and more people will accept what should in a perfect world simply be, there are still and there probably always will be LGBT kids living on the streets, on the fringe of the world.
A young one on the street is in danger and it is an emergency.
Kids should know that they didn’t do anything wrong, that the shame is not theirs to feel, that it’s okay to ask for help, even if it means to tell why they’ve been kicked out and they should know where they can ask for it.
The longer they live in survival mode, the farther they will be gone, the longer and the more uncertain the road back will be, once they are found. If they are found.
It is intolerable but sadly still unavoidable to rely on what some will call Providence and others hazard, so that they have access to organisations that will help them.
Yet, they are crossing paths with people who see them, if only for a moment, who are willing to hold a hand, give warmth, food, but can only offer a brief reprieve.
Yet, there are shelters. Overcrowded, without any place left to give and sometimes no safety to offer.
Education, information campains, mediation, shelters and social work are a whole in which many organisations play their part but a strong network needs willing hands and money to fuel the machine. Also, open eyes willing to give an address or a phone number or even to make a phone call are needed to build bridges that will bring homeless kids toward places and people who will offer rest and help and give them a chance to grow up safely.
“You’re weary and been travelling for a long time. Just rest up and the morning will be a better day”
“All royalties from this anthology are being donated to Lost-n-Found Youth in Atlanta, Georgia.”
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