A searingly honest depiction of life lived on the margins; of street life, sex work, and survival during the AIDS era.

Streetlife presents a collection of interviews, recorded by the author, with four men and two trans women she met in the course of her work during the 1980s and early 1990s. They are voices from the very edges of society; though their stories take us from the ‘cardboard city’ to parties with the rich and famous, taking in drugs, clubs, glamour, violence, money, brothels, safe and unsafe sex, and the fear of HIV.

These stories are told in the words of those who lived them, with in-depth descriptions of how they navigated diverse journeys to define and express their sexuality and transgender identities. They are variously shocking, provocative, and extremely moving. They are also stories of vulnerable individuals whose unhappy childhoods compelled them to leave home at a young age for a better life, seeking acceptance, warmth, and – above all else – love.

In Streetlife, Barbara Gibson gives a voice to those long ignored. In doing so she makes a valuable contribution to the literature on British society and marginalized groups, and shows how modern attitudes and approaches have evolved. This book is a gritty read, but will be welcomed by anyone with an interest in modern British history and social issues, particularly the HIV/AIDS crisis and LGBTQ+ history.

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