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This entry explores both the participation of LGBTQ persons in heterosexual street gangs and the recent emergence of exclusively gay and lesbian gangs. Street gangs are visible, violent groups that engage in regular criminal activity. Members represent their gangs through communication rituals such as complicated handshakes and the public display of gang-like attributes, such as tattoos and graffiti. Although there is a large body of research in the general area of gangs, there is scant information on LGBTQ gang members. Existing gang prevention and intervention programs do not address the needs of sexual minorities. For this reason, it is important to identify pathways into and out of gangs, as well as the roles and activities of LGBTQ members.

Street gangs have some stability over time. They ...

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