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
Windy City Times 2023-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  IDENTITY

Disability: A queer issue
by Yasmin Nair
2009-04-01

This article shared 4919 times since Wed Apr 1, 2009
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


A new support group for LGBTQ people living with disabilities has recently begun meeting at Access Living, and its founders are eager to spread the word about it in the community.

Access Living is a non-residential center for independent living, aimed at providing resources for people with disabilities. In March 2007, it moved into a brand-new building at 115 W. Chicago, a project that has earned praise for being green and for providing universal access. The organization is not queer-defined, but, as Susan Nussbaum put it, "Its main mission has always been the rights of people with disabilities. A part of that includes peer interaction and support and strength in identity through meeting, working and socializing with people with like oppression."

According to Nussbaum, Access Living had long been aware that there was a significant LGBTQ community within the disability community. The organization is allied with Broadway Youth Center ( part of Howard Brown Center ) , which caters to youth living in stressful circumstances like poverty and homelessness. Joe Hollendoner, director of the program, and other staff at the Center saw many queer youth living with disabilities, and realized that they felt "ill-equipped to address it," Nussbaum said.

Over the spring and summer of 2008, Nussbaum, Hollendoner and others began informal conversations about how to go about creating a support group that would address the particular needs of queers with disabilities. Among the discussants was Tim Jones-Yelvington ( pictured ) , who had been in contact with Nussbaum since his days as a student at DePaul University.

In the fall of 2005, Spectrum, DePaul's LGBTQA student organization, asked Nussbaum to do a workshop on the intersections of sexuality and disability; she and Jones-Yelvington, then a member of the group, met there and began having conversations about what they both saw as a necessary support group. They began talking about the possible needs of the group, membership limits and publicity flyers.

Jones-Yelvington, who volunteers with Access Living, is not himself disabled, but he had been thinking about the complications facing queer people with disabilities; much of his reflection was informed by both his studies and life as an activist: "My own commitment as a queer activist has been around intersections of sexuality with other systems of oppression, queer politics and issues of race and class and gender and gender identity. I realized disability issues were frequently silent in that conversation." Jones-Yelvington also saw the shared histories between queers and people with disabilities, in terms of past biomedical interventions onto their bodies.

Indeed, while people might be familiar with Nazi attempts to eliminate people with disabilities, they may be less familiar with the more quotidian ways in which people with disabilities have been negatively treated. LGBTQs, who still see attempts at "correction" by, for instance, parents who send their children to "ex-gay camps," can understand, at least partially, what it means to live in a society that views them as inherently wrong. Governmental recognition of the needs of people with disabilities has been slow. The Rehabilitation Act, which protected the civil rights of people of disabilities, was passed in 1973. But it was not until the Americans with Disabilities Act, which passed relatively recently, in 1990, that people with disabilities gained a law that ensures their equal access to employment opportunities and public accommodations.

Jones-Yelvington is, at least for now, the facilitator of the queer disability support group, and is keenly aware of this complicated history and "mindful that the experiences of able-bodied people and disabled people are not part of the same oppression." The group had its first meeting in January. What did Yelvington-Jones anticipate and how did the reality mesh with his perceptions of what it might be? What are the issues faced by queers with disabilities in particular?

He said that the conversations raised "issues of vulnerability and violence for folks who don't have access to full independent living and might face violence from caregivers and family." While there is no hard data available yet, Yelvington-Jones suspected that these issues are compounded for queer people. Additional issues might involve cultural and social questions. One participant wondered about how to come out to a religious family. Others spoke about what Yelvington-Jones described as "really awful encounters with paramedical stuff … there were people who had a lot of accidents and series of hospitalizations where the treatment was not what it ought to be."

Will the group take on a social-activism function? Will it be primarily a support group where people can freely discuss their issues? Will it seek to provide resources? Yelvington-Jones said that the structure of the group is entirely up to its members: "I went in with the sense that I'm a facilitator, and I'll do what I can to help people connect with each other." According to him, the group will also eventually decide how it wants its leadership structure to look.

For now, Access Living is focused on continuing to get the word out and building the membership in the support group. The only requirements are that people be in the age range of 18-30, and that they be both LGBTQ and disabled. The group meets the last Monday of every month, 6-7:30 p.m., at 115 W. Chicago. Contact Susan Nussbaum at snussbaum@accessliving.org , 312-640-2170 ( TTY ) or 312-640-2121.

****


This article shared 4919 times since Wed Apr 1, 2009
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

APA adopts policy supporting transgender, gender diverse and non-binary individuals 2024-02-28
- From a press release: WASHINGTON—The American Psychological Association (APA) has adopted a landmark policy affirming evidence-based care for transgender, gender diverse and nonbinary children, adolescents and adults, noting that recent ...


Gay News

ELECTIONS 2024 Mike Simmons discusses LGBTQ+ health disparities, child tax credit 2024-02-27
- State Senator Mike Simmons is running unopposed in the March 19 election. Simmons began representing the 7th District after the former state senator, Heather Steans, retired. He's lived in the area his entire life. ...


Gay News

Advocates call for increased HIV funding amid state's 'disappointing' pattern of flat funding 2024-02-27
- Governor JB Pritzker's proposed 2025 budget has no increase in HIV funding, continuing a years-long pattern of flat spending toward tackling the epidemic in Illinois. Pritzker outlined his $52.7 billion budget for the 2025 fiscal year ...


Gay News

ELECTIONS 2024 Kelly Cassidy discusses reproductive health, LGBTQ+ rights ahead of March primary 2024-02-26
- By Kayleigh Padar State Rep. Kelly Cassidy, running unopposed in the March 19 primary election so as to continue representing the 14th District, was first elected in 2011. During her tenure in Springfield, she has ...


Gay News

Howard Brown Health Names Robin Gay, DMD as Interim President and CEO 2024-02-23
--From a press release - Howard Brown Health's Board of Directors announced today the appointment of Robin Gay, DMD as Interim President and CEO. Dr. Gay, who most recently served as Chief Dental Officer, assumes the role formerly held by outgoing ...


Gay News

Unprecedented Alabama Supreme Court ruling undermins access to family-building healthcare, GLAD responds 2024-02-23
--From a press release - Feb. 23, 2024 (Boston) — Today, GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) issued the following statement from Polly Crozier, GLAD's Director of Family Advocacy, on the Alabama Supreme Court decision ...


Gay News

Center on Halsted to host trans youth & family summit 2024-02-19
- Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St., has announced that its Trans Youth & Family Summit 2024 will take place March 16. This year marks the sixth annual event, which partners between Youth Services' Pride Youth ...


Gay News

As Chicago prepares to host DNC, former delegates reflect on LGBTQ+ inclusion at previous conventions 2024-02-19
- When Mark Ishaug, now the CEO of the mental health advocacy Thresholds, was a delegate at the 1996 Democratic National Convention (DNC) in Chicago, representing the larger LGBTQ+ community was "critical," he said. The convention, where ...


Gay News

'West Side Story' gets a sex-positive spin with new burlesque show 2024-02-19
- In partial observance of National Condom Day, which was Feb. 14, Los Angeles-based AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) presented A West Side Story Burlesque at the Harris Theater for two hour-long performances on Feb. 17. The show, ...


Gay News

Connections for the Homeless purchases Evanston hotel 2024-02-18
- Connections for the Homeless in Evanston hosted an open house at the Margarita Inn, formerly a boutique hotel, February 13, to celebrate its purchase for use as a hotel-based interim shelter. The Margarita Inn will give ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Utah board member, Baths founder dies, Fla. protests, DoJ equity plan 2024-02-16
- Utah's Republican governor and lieutenant governor urged the State Board of Education to take action against a conservative board member whose social-media post questioning the gender of a high school basketball player incited threats against the ...


Gay News

Illinois Poor People's Campaign: National call for moral revival demands action against poverty 2024-02-15
--From a press release - Springfield, IL — The Illinois chapter of the Poor People's Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival (ILPPC) will convene a critical press conference at the state capitol, alongside 32 other states across the nation on ...


Gay News

Coalition of LGBTQ+ advocates, health care providers release Project RAINBOW report 2024-02-12
--From a press release - SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A coalition of more than two dozen LGBTQ+ advocate organizations and health care providers are releasing a new report aimed at addressing the challenges and discrimination that ...


Gay News

Munar prepares to step away from Howard Brown leadership 2024-02-11
- After 10 years of leadership at Howard Brown Health, President and CEO David Ernesto Munar has decided to step down from his post on Feb. 29. Munar, who'd previously been president and CEO of AIDS Foundation ...


Gay News

New US Trans Survey highlights importance of gender-affirming care and societal acceptance 2024-02-11
- After surveying 92,329 people in 2022, the early insights gleaned from the 2022 U.S. Trans Survey (USTS) have been released—and they highlight just how much impact gender-affirming care can have. The USTS, which was last completed ...


 


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

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 Transgender 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
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     
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.