Pier Kids opens with a striking title card: “In the wake of the Stonewall Riots of 1969, the world cheered the advancement of white queers and ignored the fates of queer people of color.”
Elegance Bratton’s documentary rectifies this erasure through portraits of queer adolescents who are both homeless and people of colour, and who find community and connection in Christopher Street, NYC. The film gently explores the many challenges they face in their day-to-day lives.When family members continually misgender Krystal LaBeija, one of the film’s main subjects, we can tell that they genuinely love her despite their painful choice. In the same way, we understand why another subject shoplifts to survive,or ponders purposefully becoming HIV-positive in order to access health-related supportive housing programs.
This intimate, incisive work insists that all of these young people’s lives are no less precious for their precarity. Pier Kids is long overdue.