Homeless, bullied, and failing out of high school – 18 year old Jonathon is ready for a big change—maybe. After enduring a lifetime of homelessness and unstable housing with his loving mother and brothers, Jonathon wants to make the transition to a new house and family and all the promise that idea seems to hold. The Avenues for Homeless Youth GLBT Host Home Program matches him up with queer host parents Alex and Mike and their 7-year-old daughter, but Jonathon finds himself in a middle-class neighborhood, beset by culture-clash, and haunted by a lifetime of homophobia and poverty. Blaming everything from veggie burgers to school bullying, Jonathon is on the verge of losing it all, until his chosen family and friends intervene. They dare him to get it together – before it’s too late. As he struggles to mesh with his new household, stay in school, and be his most authentic self, Jonathon discovers that home is more than four walls, everyone needs a family, and friendship can transform us.
At first glance, The Infamous T is simply the story of Jonathon trying to build a stable life, but his story gives rise to the themes of queer family and community solidarity. The film is set in Minneapolis, MN. Named 2011’s “gayest city in America” by The Advocate, Minneapolis has been a recent target of the Christian Right’s agenda to protect their notion of family values. In a confusing time when there are more non-traditional families than ever and a push—from both the right and left—towards convention, Jonathon’s story challenges the dominant “family-values” narrative that renders nuclear family as the only viable option. While the battle over same-sex marriage takes center stage in the national political arena, Jonathon’s story reminds us that racial inequality, poverty, homelessness, and educational disparity are central issues in queer communities that deserve attention.
In their own words: “The GLBT Host Home Program is an ‘outside-the-system’ community and volunteer-based response to youth homelessness. It offers a transformative and intimate approach to providing homeless gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender (GLBT) youth with safe homes and support. We have intentionally kept this program small and non-institutional, with up to 10 youth participating at a time. All youth served by this program are homeless and queer-identified.
As volunteers of the program, adults open their homes and their hearts to young people who need and are looking for a healthy and nurturing connection, in addition to stability and basic needs. During their stay in a host home, young people experience living with and being supported by stable adults, witness the give and take of living in functional households, and experience living in situations where their sexual orientation and gender identity is respected and celebrated. This experience of sharing resources and lives is challenging but powerful.” — http://www.avenuesforyouth.org/programs-glbthosthome