Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  IDENTITY

Column about Black LGBT youth angers some
by Amy Wooten
2008-06-01

This article shared 6328 times since Sun Jun 1, 2008
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


A May 19 Chicago Sun-Times column written by Laura Washington tackled the issue of the large numbers of LGBT youth from various parts of the city who have flocked to the Lakeview neighborhood to hang out since the opening of the Center on Halsted. It is not news that LGBT youth enjoyed socializing in Boystown long before the Center was even built. However, since the Center's emergence, several Lakeview residents and businesses have complained about the youth who come to the neighborhood, which has led to emotional forums and heated debates. Many in the LGBT community feel that the complaints are rooted in racist thought and a misunderstanding of queer youth and what they need.

Washington's column featured comments by various members of the community, such as Sankofa Way's Rev. Deborah Lake, Center on Halsted Executive Director Modesto 'Tico' Valle and Equality Illinois' director of public policy, Rick Garcia. Some members of the community are furious with how LGBT youth were portrayed in Washington's piece, and are dismayed by the comments made by Lake, Valle and Garcia, causing the Coalition for Justice and Respect and Critical Caucus to hold an urgent meeting regarding the matter May 24.

The Coalition for Justice and Respect's Marc Loveless, in a mass e-mail response to the piece, called the comments made within the article 'racist and unsettling.' He also called the article's characterization of gay youth in the area 'misleading,' and felt the article was 'disrespectful and untrue.'

Tommy Avant Garde, of Chicago's House of Avant Garde ( a ball-culture house ) , was angered by Washington's column as well, but did not participate in the May 24 meeting. 'My initial impression was that this is an issue that needs to come to a head,' Avant Garde told Windy City Times.

Avant Garde said that emotions are getting high again, not only because of Washington's article, but also because summer is approaching and more youth will be coming to the neighborhood. Avant Garde has participated in numerous forums and discussions about the issue, and feels that nothing can be done without everyone participating, including the youth.

In the article, Washington wrote, 'The summer winds are coming to North Halsted. The p.c. crowd is running out of time.'

'I will agree with her on that,' Avant Garde said. He feels that the LGBT community needs to move beyond discussion and argument and take action. 'If I have to step on the toes, I will step on the toes,' he said. 'I'm tired of it, and I think something needs to be done or I fear there is going to be a real big issue.'

In his response, Loveless took offense to Washington's portrayal of the youth that hang around Halsted Street as 'towering muscled youths.' He felt that Washington was insinuating that the youth pose a threat to the neighborhood.

Loveless was also angered by Lake's comments. In the piece, Lake stated that some of the young adults are coming to Halsted Street for sex work, but nobody seems to want to address this issue. In his response, Loveless felt that Lake thought LGBT youth hustling and engaging in criminal activities was the main problem, and felt the statement was a misleading, stereotypical characterization of Black LGBT youth.

Lake told Windy City Times that she was 'surprised' that anybody was offended or angered by her comments. She said that she recognizes that the issue is very complicated, and was simply trying to convey the message that the LGBT community needs to be willing to discuss every aspect of the issue.

She first heard about the sex work issue at a forum before the Center even opened, and then with discussions she's had with youth since. She said she was concerned 'knowing that was part of the attraction, but not part of the discussion.'

'Not every young person who goes to the North Side is going there for that,' she said, ' … but that is part of the draw.'

Lake said that her point was that the LGBT community needs to discuss all of the issues. 'We can't just pick out the ones that we're comfortable arguing about, which is race,' she said.

Loveless called the issues brought up in the article 'nonsense' in his response, and was offended by Washington's statement that when issues are brought up regarding LGBT youth in Boystown 'the Al Sharptons of the gay community scream racism.'

'I think racism plays a part in the discussion of that issue, and we aren't discussing that, either,' Avant Garde said.

'I believe you have to have the parties together to make things happen because if you don't, there's always going to be one side saying this and one side saying that,' Avant Garde said.

'We need to look beyond comfort levels, even in our disagreements, and talk about things that we haven't really talked about and haven't really explored, and hold those accountable who we haven't held accountable in the past,' Lake added. Lake believes that a lot of the arguments get in the way of having fruitful discussion.

'We're not having the discussions we need to have,' she said.

Avant Garde believes that a lot of what is missing from the ongoing discussion is voices of the youth. He has been working on empowering youth to speak up about the issue, and plans to have many youth become more involved once school lets out.

'We're not in a place to say what they need,' he said, adding that youth simply don't have alternatives to hang out on the North Side, as well as the South and West sides.

'I also think the African-American community needs to step up,' Avant Garde said. 'It's as simple as that. We need to step up.'


This article shared 6328 times since Sun Jun 1, 2008
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

LGBTQ+ youth advocates call for action after increased bullying reports 2021-11-24
- Officials from LGBTQ+-advocacy organizations Equality Illinois, Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, Rainbow Cafe and Youth Outlook announced a sharp increase in the number of bullying incidents directed against LGBTQ+ students across ...


Gay News

CPS staffers fired in wake of Marine Leadership Academy scandal 2021-11-21
- Chicago Public Schools (CPS) officials announced that 12 employees at Marine Leadership Academy and a school volunteer either committed or covered up sexual misconduct that dates back five years, The Chicago Tribune reported. Ten adults have ...


Gay News

IL General Assembly LGBTQ Caucus condemns Proud Boys led censorship in Downers Grove 2021-11-19
--From a press release - CHICAGO - The five openly LGBTQ members of the Illinois General Assembly today call on Downers Grove District 99 to protect LGBTQ youth in their community from hate and censorship by immediately rejecting calls to censor ...


Gay News

Chicago Public Schools principal fosters social justice, safe space for LGBTQ+ students 2021-11-18
- When Jas Thurmond became principal of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Academy of Social Justice in 2016, the K-8 school had only recently been renamed. That was an important change, Thurmond said, but as she stepped ...


Gay News

"Safe Schools For All" to help students take action against bullying 2021-11-17
--From a press release - WASHINGTON — As schools and school districts across the country face hostile protests of LGBTQI+ inclusive education, students who are experiencing discrimination, bullying and harassment based on their sexual orientation ...


Gay News

Downers Grove parents complain about LGBTQ books 2021-11-16
- Continuing a battle that's been taking place in several other states, parents in the Chicago suburb of Downers Grove say they want publications they call "pornography" removed from the high schools' libraries, according to WGN-TV. At ...


Gay News

Northwestern University researchers present data on COVID-19 impacts on minoritized youth 2021-11-16
- Two Northwestern University-affiliated researchers presented a webinar Nov.9 about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on youth in minoritized communities in the United States, among them youths in the LGBTQ+ community. The webinar was part of ...


Gay News

Chicagoans to sleep outside Nov. 18 to support homeless youth 2021-11-08
--From a press release - On Thursday, Nov. 18, people from across Chicago and around the region will be spending the night away from the comfort of their homes, to raise awareness about and funds for young people overcoming homelessness. This ...


Gay News

Israeli LGBTQ-rights activist accused of sexual misconduct 2021-11-05
- In Israel, LGBTQ-rights activist Etai Pinkas Arad has been accused of sexual misconduct, with two men saying he had sexual relations with them when he met them as teens through a youth group, The Times of ...


Gay News

Bisexual youth tell their identity stories in new book 2021-11-04
- While Zoomer (Gen Z) and millennial young adults are increasingly rejecting traditional sexual labels, Ritch C. Savin-Williams explores the topic of bisexuality in his newest book BI: Bisexual, Pansexual, Fluid ...


Gay News

Believe Out Loud multi-faith statement decries Texas' anti trans youth law 2021-11-02
--From a press release - DALLAS, Texas (Nov. 2, 2021) — A national coalition of 37 organizations and more than 171 individuals have endorsed a multi-faith statement of solidarity with transgender children in Texas, after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into ...


Gay News

Howard Brown Health unveils new Broadway Youth Center 2021-10-27
--From a press release - Howard Brown Health recently unveiled the new permanent home for Broadway Youth Center, its program for LGBTQ people ages 12-24 and young people experiencing homelessness. Located at 1023 W. Irving Park Road, the new space has ...


Gay News

Campus Pride releases list of worst anti-LGBTQ schools 2021-10-25
- Campus Pride officially released its 2021 Worst List, naming 180 campuses across the country as "the absolute worst, most unsafe campuses for LGBTQ youth." The colleges and universities included in this year's list have either received ...


Gay News

Illinois high schoolers distribute anti-LGBTQ+ survey 2021-10-23
- At Anna-Jonesboro Community High School in Anna, Illinois, a student group calling itself the "Anti-Queer Association" distributed a survey asking others if they think "queers" should be allowed to use the school restroom with "normal people," ...


Gay News

On Spirit Day, celebrities and others reach LGBTQ+ youth around the world 2021-10-22
--From a press release. Video below - New York, NY, Friday, Oct. 22, 2021 - Yesterday, GLAAD celebrated Spirit Day, when participants around the world wear purple or go purple online in a united stand against bullying and show of support for LGBTQ ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.