Savage Love Letter of the Day: How Can He Help the Rent Boys of Grindr?


Dan only mentioned it tangentially, but it's worth emphasizing that there is a fair amount of crossover between drug abuse, homelessness and sex work (and HIV also often ends up being part of the mix there too).

One of the difficulties that a lot of guys in that situation face is that it can be difficult to talk openly about the specific problems faced by LGBT people in treatment programs and groups that cater to the broader community. So LGBT-specific drug treatment programs, if they exist in your city, might be a good place to target donations and volunteering.
It really got me thinking about these people who contact me asking for money in exchange for sex. I had initially thought that they were generally ok but just looking for a few extra dollars.

Ah, the Eddie Murphy/Hugh Grant paradox.

People who ask for money for sex generally are looking for more than a "few" extra dollars. This ain't Uber.
This isn't analogous, but I generally offer the homeless people I encounter a dollar, and after they've accepted it, tell them about local services available.
1) Don't give money to the "homeless" on the street. Some "homeless" are not down on their luck, they have just decided that panhandling is their occupation. Give money, as Dan suggested, to organizations in your area that support the homeless.

2) Don't give money to people who ask for it online. People who solicit money online are very good at pretending to be whoever it is you want to give money to. Give money, as Dan suggested, to organizations in your area that support the people you would like to help.
You may want to card those eighteen year olds to make sure they aren't seventeen year olds. Or sixteen year olds.
1) I love that your user pic is from a chick tract.
Nyckname @5: Good point.
I guess the LW needs to observe a separation in his mind. His sex with 24yos is not a form of charity or social-work investigation. It’s hot. Then if he wants to do something for troubled young people, he can donate or volunteer as has been suggested.
Kinda sad that after a decade of marriage he (and husband it looks like) want to muck it all up with silly twinks and their associated chaos.
@2: Yeah, a $20 gift card isn't a $100 hook-up.

While I agree with Dan's advice to give to social services (especially those that target this at-risk population), I think the LW was coming from a different place: He wanted to help someone he felt some particular connection to. And, yeah, that's hard. I'll hire someone from the local homeless shelter to do yard work, but it's very hard to fully support yourself on $15/hour part-time work.

Another tack: LW doesn't want young guys feeling trapped in survival prostitution (cause it's dangerous, icky, coerced by their poverty, etc?). He could make survival prostitution a little more safe and less icky if he were a responsible consumer of said services. And, after a hook-up or three, make suggestions to the sex worker how to improve their life (fewer, better, more generous clients; get treatment for medical, mental and drug problems; avail themselves of social services, etc). The 18-22 year old on the streets, if they were kicked out of their home, probably doesn't have great life skills and obviously doesn't have the support most of us do to secure a mailing address, references, and medical care. The LW could help with those. Even more so, the 14-17 year old sex worker - although paying for their services is far more problematic, legally and morally. But you could take them out for lunch and give them $50 as you talk about your very different lives.
@10: Problematic? You mean child sex abuse. If you find a 14-year-old offering you sexual services the right thing to do is ... well actually, I don't know the right thing to do. Call the police? Children and family services?
@10 DAVIDinKENAI, are you crazy? "Paying" a 14-17 year old "sex worker" for their "services" is "more problematic, legally and morally"? .....The fuck....

You don't pay a 14-17 for sex. That is not an option.

You don't HAVE sex with a fucking 14 year old if you're an adult.

A 14-17 year is soliciting or being offered for sex? Wtf that's not "problematic", that's a young teen living an extremely dangerous situation. You fucking call the police or social services, asshole. (Do the police always handle these things well? No, but this is quite literally a child in a life-threatening situation.)
@12 ("create an account to flame someone"): Sorry, maybe a paragraph break in my post would have helped. I'm proposing adult sex workers be treated with respect and kindness by their clients. And that one shouldn't hire minors for sex but try to help them them financially and with advice/guidance.

What's the right thing to do with a sex worker who 6,580 days old? Most of us conclude that the adult sex worker's life - whatever its challenges - is not improved by being arrested, potentially losing their children or housing as a result, having a police record and being a registered sex offender forever after. But you'd call the police on a 6,570-day old sex worker? If this was, oh, Denmark or the Netherlands, sure, call the police who would bring in Child Protective Services and they'd actually get some help. But in the US, I'm not aware of these minors being given food, housing, medical and counseling support by the authorities.

The problem I have with a knee-jerk, "fucking call the police" is I don't know what that minor's situation is. The minor does. And has, on some level, chosen this course of action (almost certainly constrained by finances and lack of family support and possibly coerced by a pimp). He could be 17, refusing unsafe sex, paying the rent with his income, andfunctionally be an "emancipated minor". She could be 15, trafficked, forced to engage in unsafe sex, and addicted to meth or heroin. (And, yes, I gendered those examples because most girls aren't as physically strong as boys). I wouldn't pay either (or anyone) for sex and I wouldn't call the police on the former, but if I couldn't convince the later to seek support herself, I would call CPS.

From volunteering at a women's shelter and my own philosophy of life is to treat almost everyone as having agency over their own life. Sure, staff wants to scream, "Leave the abusive bastard, right now!" but the victim rarely has the family, community, occupational, financial, or travel options that the volunteer does. And she's THERE, living her life, and may be the best judge of just how dangerous it is to leave (immediately before and after leaving is the most dangerous time for a DV victim).

A 16-year-old gay guy living on the streets? Did his father promise he'd kill him if he came back home? Would the authorities send him back home? You and I don't know. Maybe talking to him would uncover what his situation is. And suggest ways to make his life better. He can't join the Army for another 6 months and probably not then without a HS diploma. He wouldn't be snatched up super quick by a foster family. If you, I, and the LW aren't going to house him, who is?

The legality before and after 18 is very clear (breaking more laws and somewhat fewer laws, respectively). The morality, for me, is less black&white. I'm sure there are 17 year olds out there - the vast majority of them - selling sex who shouldn't be. And that a better social safety net is the right answer. That's how I vote and volunteer and donate money, but it sure wasn't enough in November 2016. Once I'm past "I myself am not doing anything illegal/immoral", the morals get fuzzy for me. Should the 17-1/2 year old be treated completely differently than the 18 year old? Should I put him "in the system" and maybe get him sent back home? Then I fall back on "How can I increase this person's choices?"
6580 / 365 = 18
WTF @12: You misread David's post. He said that LW should treat the underage sex workers to lunch, advice and $50, not pay them for sex.
Raindrop @14: You forgot about leap years.
Nice post, David @13. I'd love it if the legal system here were all it's meant to be, but unfortunately, often it's quite unforgiving and inflexible. And calling it on someone who is technically engaged in something illegal (e.g. prostitution) is not generally going to make their life better.
@13, #14 forgetting leap years leap years?

6,575 days / 365.25 = 18 yrs +/- 1 day, depending on when birthday falls

unless you were born on Feb. 29, then cue Gilbert & Sullivan:…
Thanks for writing out @13
DAVIDinKENAI @13 - well said. I admire your ability to respond with a cool head and in practical depth to someone who actually made an account with a juvenile name in order to go off on you without first asking themselves if they used all their reading comprehension skills.
David is correct- the police are not always helpful, the minor would not always approve or benefit, and taking the kid out for lunch might help you see how to best help him.

However, Harriet is most correct. LW needs to stay completely away from guys on grindr asking him for money in exchange for sex, especially if they are minors, and enjoy his consensual adult hookups for what they are- just hookups that are hot. If he wants to hire a sex worker, do it in a less risky way so he knows they aren't minors or struggling to survive. It's not his responsibility to mix his fun time with his social service. If he is also concerned about the plight of poor gay men who are trying to survive, follow Dan's advice and help out elsewhere.
To add to what biggie said @4, if you're concerned that an organization isn't using donations wisely, look it up at CharityNavigator dot org. In addition to listing contact info, names of CEO and board members, and each organization's aims and services, they rate non-profit groups based on accountability, fiscal responsibility, transparency, and other criteria, and break down their expenses so you can see what they're spending money on. The Los Angeles LGBT Center, for example, has an overall score of 94 out of 100, with 93.9% of their expenses going towards their programs and services.
Gladstone supposedly would hire street-walkers, take them to his rooms, read the Bible and 'improving books' to them, then flagellate himself afterward, and furthermore was open about the practice.