The Times Square Hustler: Male Prostitution in New York City

The Times Square Hustler: Male Prostitution in New York City

The Times Square Hustler: Male Prostitution in New York City

The Times Square Hustler: Male Prostitution in New York City

Synopsis

The author became interested in male prostitution while researching populations susceptible to AIDS. He found such a population in male prostitutes in Times Square which had developed a community to deal with common problems. Among these changing the community were AIDS, crack cocaine, and urban redevelopment. This work is directed to sociologists, social workers, and those interested in popular culture.

Excerpt

My interest in this subject began with an interest in AIDS and its impact on high-risk groups. I sought to find groups of people at high risk of infection in order to learn something about how they cope with the risks associated with AIDS. Since male prostitutes frequently engage in the three primary means of transmission of the virus- unprotected sex with males, unprotected sex with females, and intravenous (IV) drug use and needle sharing--they are a group at high risk of infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This is especially true in New York City where AIDS is widespread and where, particularly in Times Square, the sex trade has a long history.

I went into this area looking for people at high risk of infection, but once there, I realized that there is a sense of community among this population. I was drawn to the folkways of the hustling community in Times Square and as a result, the project became more of a community study. After only a short time I realized that this community was on the verge of change.

There were three major pressures affecting the shape of the community and the characteristics of life within it. First, AIDS is a prevalent theme among young hustlers. They are at exceptionally high risk and the methods they use to cope with the disease are an important part of the "life." Second, the influence of crack cocaine has changed the relationship between hustler and client as well as the relationships among the boys themselves. Finally, gentrification of the Times Square area has resulted in a major shift in the nature and location of the trade. It has also altered the boys' perceptions of hustling and their place in it. These three events have had such an impact on hustling in Times Square that they are changing the very character of the trade, and, at the same time, changing the shape of the community.

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