Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 28, No. 40, Ed. 1 Friday, February 17, 2012 Page: 17 of 56
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YOUTH, From Previous Page
"They feel they sometimes have no choice but
to get involved in the sex trade," McNamara said.
"Their need is so great it is easy for them to get
involved with an adult who has ulterior mo-
Often the adult simply offers to allow the
homeless youth a meal
and a sofa to sleep on,
but the youth soon
learns there are "strings
attached," said McNa-
mara, adding she could
think of a dozen who are
depending on the gen-
erosity of friends or oth-
ers for shelter. If the
youth is at least 17, no
laws apparently are
being broken in the sex-
for-shelter scenario be-
cause that is the age of legal consent, and
presumably some people are sincere in their of-
fers to help, without expectations of something
Youth First Texas arranged a telephone inter-
view with one youth who is homeless and 18. His
name is being withheld because of his age and
vulnerability, and the name Ricky is being used
to protect his identity. He offered to allow the use
of his name/which may be reflective of immature
thinking that fails to take into account that he
might feel differently about such public exposure
when lie's older.
Ricky has been homeless" -since he His 15,
when his mother kicked him out of the house be-
cause he declared he was gay. His mother threat-
ened to kick him out in a
text message while he
was at school, and when
he arrived home he
found the locks had been
"She was like, 'If you
are not going to abide by
rules, get out/" Ricky
said. "I thought she was
joking. I didn't know
where to go or who to
call. All I could do was sit
there and cry."
Ricky said his mother wanted him to hide his
Sexual orientation rather than coming out. Had
he dropped the subject and remained closeted, he
could have stayed, he said.
"She wanted to pretend like it never hap-
pened," said Ricky, who noted he couldn't accept
those terms. "It's my life."
Since then Ricky, whose father is a truck driver
"She was like, 'If you are not going to
abide by rules, get out. I thought she
was joking. I didn't know where to go or
who to call. All I could do was sit there
'Ricky,' a homeless gay youth, on getting kicked
out by his mom at 15
HUNTING THE HOMELESS | Promise House case managers Benjamin Williams, center, and Jessica Am-
spoker talk to Terry Fisher, a homeless man, on Cedar Springs last month. Promise Flouse provides temporary
emergency shelter for young homeless people, and Amspoker and Williams say older homeless people are
often the best source of information about where to find youths on the streets. (David Webb/Dallas Voice)
who has no permanent residence because he is
on the road all the time, has alternated living with
friends and other relatives. He now lives: with a
sister, and his father pays Ricky's share of the rent
so he can go to high school, where he's a junior.
Ricky said homelessness disrupted his life,
causing him to get involved with alcohol, drugs
and prostitution while he was staying with a fe-
male friend who had older friends. Those older
friends introduced him to behavior he now re-
grets, said Ricky, who also got a tattoo and a face-
piercing during that period of apparent rebellion.
Ricky failed a grade in high school because, of
the situation, and he is now a year behind in
■ YOUTH, Page 18
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Wright, John. Dallas Voice (Dallas, Tex.), Vol. 28, No. 40, Ed. 1 Friday, February 17, 2012, newspaper, February 17, 2012; Dallas, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth239207/m1/17/: accessed October 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Special Collections.