Within an LGBTQ movement largely focused on the advancement of marriage equality, artist Jessica Whitbread has chosen to channel her personal experience with HIV into art and activism. The Toronto native and Wesley Mancini artist in residence at the McColl Center for Art + Innovation was diagnosed with HIV in 2002.
Since contributing to the “Charlotte Talks” discussion on local LGBTQ youth homelessness and HIV/AIDS, as part of the larger conversation on affordable housing, several people have commented on my challenge to local organizations serving the homeless to begin tracking LGBTQ youth.
According to the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, 20 to 40 percent of youth who are homeless nationwide identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer/questioning (LGBTQ). A walk through Uptown Charlotte makes apparent the crisis of homelessness affecting local youth, one that reflects this nationwide trend.