Interview of Jay London Toole

Jay Toole describes her experiences of queer homelessness in New York City. Born in the South Bronx, she became homeless as a child due to the circumstances of her family and identity as a stone butch. She describes her chosen queer family in Washington Square Park in the 1960-70s and their means of survival. She recalls stealing a NYC Taxi Cab and driving it to Texas, which led to her 18 month stay in a Texas jail. Later, she reflects on her experiences in the New York City shelter system which led her to form the organization Queers for Economic Justice.

Date of Interview:

June 15, 2016

Location of Interview:

New York Public Library Schwartzman Building (Parts 1 and 2), SoHo (Part 3), Jay’s Apartment (Part 4)

Place of birth:

South Bronx, New York City, New York


She / Her / Hers

Interviewed by

Ted Kerr and AJ Lewis

Summary by

Micah Katz

Photo by

Syd London