Pier Kids: The Life is a documentary film about the Black street culture which thrives on Christopher Street and its piers
At the age of sixteen, I was pushed out of my mother’s home because of my sexual orientation and was subsequently forced to live on the streets of New York. I was lucky though. On my first night, I happened upon a group of black gay men and I followed them to the piers at the edge of the West Village. Little did I know that I had found my spiritual home.
Today, white upper-class families make the West Village their home; but as day turns to night, Christopher Street and its adjacent piers also become home to a transient yet vibrant street community known as the Pier Kids. Forming a significant yet invisible network, the Pier Kids are a queer and transgender community of predominately Black and Latino descent representing nearly four thousand of New York City’s sixteen thousand registered homeless youth. Left to wander and with few economic opportunities, the lives of these social refugees are beset with limited and harrowing options as money and food are everyday struggles. Through it all – or, perhaps, because of it all – hope still exists in the shadows of their neglect and abandonment.
Pier Kids: The Life follows the stories of three young people:
DeSean has been homeless for the past four years but considers the piers his “playground, office, [and] living room”;
Krystal arrived in the West Village after she spent years searching for a place she could finally be herself—a beautiful black transgender woman;
and Casper made Christopher Street his home away from home and in doing so found a safe haven away from the homophobic glare of his black community’s scornful gaze.
Together, these three people weave a surprisingly complex story of love, family, exploitation, and hope. But it’s more than the story of three. It’s the story of thousands.
Funding ends 2/12/13.