kestryl cael in black and white

Kicked Out Author Kestryl Cael

What has being kicked out meant for you?

I see that we’re starting with the easy questions here.  Maybe this question is difficult for me because I still can’t decide whether or not I was kicked out– whether I can claim that experience and the attached meanings.  For me, being kicked out (if I was, indeed, ‘kicked out’) has meant varying degrees of familial estrangement and painful conversations, as well as the opportunity to rebuild my own perceptions of kinship and explore multiple interpretations of what “family” can become.

What role has art and writing played in your life, and how do you see that as part of community building?

I’m mostly a performance artist, and it’s always been important to me to tell stories of where I have been and what I have experienced.  Sharing stories—on a stage or on a page—is an opportunity to reach out to others, to connect and to imagine how we can work together to write a new story for the future.

What has being part of the Kicked Out anthology meant to you?

I have been honored to be included in this anthology, and to encounter the stories of survival from so many different contributors.  It has been extremely powerful to see all of the stories that weave into this book, and the ways that we are all able to manifest art and social change from challenging and traumatic experiences.

What are three things people don’t realize about being kicked out?

I was going to snarkily reply, ‘what are three things people DO realize about being kicked out?’, but then I realized that most folks actually do have a pretty specific, oversimplified picture of teenage homelessness.  So, first of all:  people don’t realize that’s it’s just about always more complicated than it looks.  People don’t realize that being kicked out doesn’t mean that you’re on the streets.  And (perhaps most egregiously), people still don’t realize that it happens in varying forms to far, far, far too many LGBTQ youth.

What is one message about homeless LGBTQ youth you hope people take away from reading Kicked Out?

I hope that people learn that there isn’t a single picture of LGBTQ youth homelessness, and that there are many threads to every story.  I hope that this anthology helps other survivors to feel less isolated, and offers new perspectives to folks who have never thought about the issue.  Most of all,  I want readers to be energized to take action in ending the epidemic of LGBTQ youth homelessness.