A video to break your heart

One of the hallmarks of many segments of gay male culture is a hankering after youth. Gay male magazines and websites features photos of men described as teen boiz, and, to be frank, being out, proud, and a teenager is a great thing. I wish that I had been able to have been out and proud as a teenager; instead, it took me 14 more years before I identified publicly as a gay man.

We are lucky in these days to be living in a society where, in many places, it is possible for teenagers to openly identify as gay or lesbian, or transgender, or even just questioning. I do not doubt that in fifty years’ time these attitudes will not only be the prevalent ones in our society, but will result in adults who are better adjusted, better able to not only tolerate (which implies disapproval) but also accept those who are different from them, without being threatened.

There is a catch, however. Sexualisation of children and young people is a problem in modern society. Training bras for the 8-year-old girl, or an 8-year-old boy in England who brags that he has just become a father, are profoundly disturbing. Sexualisation sometimes means that older people feel that they can take advantage of young people in ways that rob the young people of their childhoods.

In Western society, this often takes the form of sexual abuse in a home or closed setting. Child prostitution here seems to be (I may be wrong) less common in our relatively more affluent society.

In countries like Thailand, however, children often are obligated by the economic circumstances of their families or the fact that they have become homeless and without a family at all to offer themselves as sex workers. Tourists are often the “beneficiaries” of this activity, which would earn them lengthy jail terms in their own countries if they practiced them there. But the victims of all this are the children themselves, who, while offering themselves willingly as rent boys and prostitutes, are forced to do so by economic deprivation and the lure of an income from rich adults.

The video I’m embedding below features interviews with boys who are sex workers in Thailand. At least one is as young as 11, while the oldest one is 17 or so. Watching it was an emotional experience for me. When one of the boys is asked where his mother is, he replies that she died in a car accident. The interviewer then asked whether he missed her, and this boy, who is supporting himself on the street by having sex with men, breaks down and cries, wiping the tears from his eyes. You will be hard pressed not to wipe tears from your own eyes while watching this.

I do not have objections to sex work. Provided that those who perform sex work do so freely and willingly, using safer-sex techniques, with a living wage which they themselves keep and use to support themselves and their families, and provided that sex work is legal in their location and that they are of a legal age to have sex, I would be happy for it to go on. However, the children in this video are mostly not of legal age, sex work is not legal in Thailand under these conditions, and they have been robbed of their childhood by economic and personal circumstances beyond their control. There is also no guarantee that they will always use safer-sex techniques, since it is well-documented that when offered more money to have unsafe sex, sex workers often accept.

In addition, there is no indication that these boys are gay. The oldest one produces a picture of his girlfriend in his home town. The others are probably too young to even think of having a girlfriend or boyfriend.

The measure of the success of such a video is whether people are galvanised to do something about the problem it presents. I do not know what I can do about it, other than keep these children in my thoughts and prayers. There may be charities that specialise in working with boy sex workers in Thailand; if so, I shall try to find one and make a donation.

What it should do, if it were to reach the right eyes and ears, is make those who travel to places like Thailand expressly to have sex with underage boys think again about what their patronage is doing to these boys emotionally. What kind of damage are they inflicting on these children?

My friend, the late Sr. Brooke Bushong, CA, worked for a children’s charity in New York for a time. The charity worked with homeless teenagers, and was later seriously damaged by the activities of its founder and head, who had been having sex with some of his clients. Brooke said to me that instead of having sex with adults, the children needed to come to their sexual awakening with people their own age, and at the proper time in their development. The children in this video may emerge from their childhood and have a happy adulthood; I hope and pray that this is the case. The signs of that are not promising, however.

2 Responses to “A video to break your heart”

  1. baisuzhen says:


    I had a pang of sorrow and a flash of anger at the one whose father asked him to sell his body

  2. shroudemonix says:

    it’s so so sad. the same boy whose mom died. sighz.