Lost in the Crowd

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Lost in the Crowd Doc Film
Directed bySusi Graf
Produced bySusi Graf
Music byNicholas Wright
CinematographyJustin Kramer, Adam Kuhn, Franz Harland, Fernando Garcia Moran
Edited byChristoffer Koller, Matthew Kirk
Additional: Raini Ashare, Mark Tracy
Release date
  • June 26, 2010 (2010-06-26)
Running time
72 minutes
CountryUnited States

Lost in the Crowd is a documentary film by Austrian filmmaker Susi Graf about LGBT homeless youth in New York City. The film tells the story of a group of kids focusing on how they became homeless and their attempts to survive on the streets of New York. Most of the youth say the reason that they’re homeless in the first place is because they have been rejected from their families for being Gay or Transgender.

Lost in the Crowd reveals a glimpse into the unknown world of homeless LGBT youth. Shelter Life is portrayed as well as finding "new" families in the ballroom scene featuring ballroom icon Willi Ninja who died shortly after being filmed for Lost in the Crowd.

The Shelter Life[edit]

A handful of youth-oriented shelters are explored in the film. Homeless teenagers stay in these shelters, however, some of the shelters have strict guidelines that conflict with the lifestyles of those who rely on them. Some of the youth in the film have jobs that keep them until after the shelter's curfew. The main problem with the shelters, as it is made expressly clear in the film, is capacity. Homeless teenagers outnumber shelters by thousands.

The Neutral Zone[1]
This shelter is known as a "drop-in" center. Youth can visit during the day, but overnight services are not offered.

Safe Space[2]
The Safe Space is also a "drop-in" center.

Sylvia’s Place[3]
Sylvia's functions as a church and a food pantry, as well as a shelter for youth.

Some of the youth featured in the film are members of ballroom dance houses. Alex and Serenity are members of the House of Ninja, founded by ballhouse legend Willi Ninja who was featured in the documentary Paris is Burning. Many of the kids use this as a refuge from the shelters or the street. House leaders see this as a positive influence on the kids since it gives them an opportunity to compete against other houses and builds self-esteem.

Featured personalities in Lost in the Crowd[edit]


Kimy hitchhiked from Utah to New York. He was arrested several times along the way for drug charges, and charges related to prostitution. As a baby he was adopted by a wealthy lobbyist. At 17 he was kicked out of his house because of the trouble he fell in with drugs, as well as his being transgender. The film crew met him at Sylvia’s shelter in New York. Kimy dreams of becoming a fashion designer. Shortly after filming Kimy was arrested and is serving a jail sentence in upstate New York. Kimy presently identifies as a beautiful androgynous human being.


The film crew met Serenity at the Safe Space drop-in center where she was attending choreography lesson. She likes to dance and attend balls and is associated with the House of Ninja.


Alex was kicked out of home at the age of 15 for being gay. Alex’s mother, someone who had been losing a struggle against drug addiction, discovered a gay adult magazine in his room. The same night, when Alex returned home, he found himself locked out. While still a minor he worked in the porn industry, appearing in several adult films. Alex likes to dance and was a member of the House of Ninja.


Adrian was adopted into a very religious family together with his two biological brothers, joining the nine children of the family. Adrian’s gay lifestyle and drug use got him kicked out of his house and a restraining order prohibited him from returning home.


Currently no information is available on Nicole. According to the film's website, she is "lost in the crowd". She hasn't been seen in the shelters and, like several others featured in the film, could not be reached for a follow-up interview.


Jazmine is originally from Puerto Rico. She earned a Master’s degree and works as a social worker and counselor. She lives a heterosexual life with her straight boyfriend. Jazmine used to be a star in the voguing ballroom scene.


Sunshine's father died when she was 9, and her mother died when she was 18. Shortly after, she moved with her boyfriend to California, then Texas, and finally New York.


During the film, Clayton volunteers for the shelters and also works a late night job. This keeps him from utilizing some of the shelters since many of them have a curfew in place. Clayton has since obtained an apartment of his own by means of government services because of his HIV status.


External links[edit]