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Both her grandmother and her father hit her, she says, and sometimes locked her out of the house. "My dad would beat me in the shower with a belt and punch me in the face, calling me a faggot.
Then he'd turn around and say, ' I love you.' How can you treat me like this if you love me?
Craig Hughes of the Coalition for Homeless Youth notes that the federal definition of homelessness does not include those who trade sex for shelter; instead, they are considered "unstably" housed.
"There are thousands who go uncounted," Hughes says.
Justice is slender with angular facial features and a cleft chin.
She wears a stonewashed jean jacket and holds her new blond wig in place with a crystal headband.
She wears her curly hair pulled back at the nape of her neck, and slopes her shoulders in the hope of making her lanky frame appear more petite.
Two pearl bracelets slide down her right forearm, and her chipped mauve nail polish matches the leggings under her short black halter dress. Justice tells Sophie the same man was looking for her the previous night.
Her mother, who spent more time partying and doing drugs than looking after Justice and her sister, lost custody of them when Justice was four years old, though they remain in touch, Justice says. She understands me, and I understand her."That first brief stint in New York, four days in which she was filmed having sex, was enough to inspire her return on a Greyhound bus with only a suitcase."I would take cat baths at Starbucks." Now, at 21, she's hoping to build a civil-rights career, either as a lawyer or a social worker.The next morning, in fact, she has an interview for an eight-week internship at the American Civil Liberties Union."If they pay me," she says, "at least I won't feel used."A skinny blond man, smoking a glass pipe cupped in his palm, slows to talk to her. She migrates to the corner, her left hip thrust toward a line of cars waiting for the light to change.There are now more than 350,000 transgender people under the age of 25 in the United States, the majority in the largest cities of New York, California, Florida and Texas – and an estimated 20 percent of them lack secure housing, though many service providers believe that figure is low.