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

  WINDY CITY TIMES

LGBTQ group Rainbow Youth Connections to participate in South Side Irish Parade
by Tim Peacock
2020-03-07

This article shared 3077 times since Sat Mar 7, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Rainbow Youth Connections—a writing and arts oriented LGBTQ youth group centered in Beverly—will march in this year's South Side Irish parade on Sunday, March 15. [NOTE: As for March 11, the parade had been cancelled because of COVID-19 concerns.]

Group co-founder Steve English ( owner of The Blossom Boys flower shop, and who prefers she/her pronouns ) joked that the group's initial decision to enter the parade began after mentioning it to one of the parents involved with the group—something that made the parent express disbelief. That disbelief energized English enough not only to apply, but to raise the money needed to cover the parade's $500 entry fee.

"I put the word out there. Within 48 hours we had enough money to pay that fee," English explained. "The amazing thing is, most of that money came from heterosexual mothers in Beverly who didn't necessarily have LGBTQ kids."

English went on to praise her fellow Beverly community members for being welcoming to the LGBTQ community. Prior to announcing Rainbow Youth Connections' entry into the parade, English mostly kept the group's participation private to avoid negative reaction and criticism. Since the announcement, however, the group has only received positive reactions.

"Beverly, in the nine years I've been here, [has had a] dramatic change in [attitude]," English commented.

This is the latest accomplishment for a group with humble beginnings in English's flower shop.

The group actually formed after English spoke with a handful of LGBTQ teenagers working with her business. They explained how difficult it was for LGBTQ youth to come out.

"It's so scary for gay people in Beverly," English said, relaying the teenagers' stories.

Those conversations evolved into having the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus perform, and subsequently having an art-based event called "About Art" to engage LGBTQ youth in and around Beverly.

That wasn't enough, though.

In August 2019—working with Patti Ahern, a local licensed professional counselor—English formed Rainbow Youth Connections as a group to offer local LGBTQ youth 12 and older a safe space to meet, learn more about art and writing, and develop a community.

Ten people attended the group's first meeting, and attendance has only increased since then. What began as meeting twice a month has evolved into a nearly weekly affair where group members can interact with one another as well as with members of the Chicago arts community.

Rainbow Youth Connections focuses its efforts on giving LGBTQ youth access to writing and art in a safe, controlled space. They bring in artists and writers from around the city to work with and inspire the group.

"Every week we try to do a different artist," English explained. "There's always something here for the young people to do."

The group's average size has nearly doubled drawing in LGBTQ youth from all over the city. "They come as far as Evanston and Tinley Park," English boasted.

English believes focusing on art is what makes the organization so successful. "There are so many adults now who are gay artists who say 'art got me through' and I have seen some of the most remarkable changes in these [group members]."

Many of the volunteers and artists who work with the organization echo those beliefs.

Chicago writer and storyteller Archy Jamjun said, "The safe space Steve provides at Rainbow Youth Connections is a treasure. If I'd had something like that growing up, I think I would have come to terms with my identity faster and with less hardship." He added, "Steve reminds me a bit of the House Mothers on the show Pose. He is the Mother of the House of Rainbows."

English has much larger plans for Rainbow Youth Connections over the coming months, including expansion of the group's reach around the city and becoming a 501( c )( 3 ) non-profit organization.


This article shared 3077 times since Sat Mar 7, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Indiana pols propose anti-conversion therapy bill 2021-01-11
- Indiana Stonewall Democrats issued a press release lauding state Sen. JD Ford (District 39) and state Rep. Sue Errington (District 26) for introducing a new bill to effectively end so-called "conversion therapy" practices across the state ...


Gay News

National LGBTQ organizations call for Trump's removal from office 2021-01-08
--From a press release - New York, NY - Thursday, Jan. 7, 2020 - GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, along with leading LGBTQ legal, health, youth, justice and equality organizations, is callin ...


Gay News

WORLD Lithuania outlook, HIV/AIDS and COVID, lawyer arrested, trans youth 2020-12-27
- Lithuania appears set to legalize same-sex civil partnerships next year, but same-sex marriage could be up to a decade away, according to Tomas Raskevicius—the country's only openly LGBT+ lawmaker, Reuters reported. "We're going to submit t ...


Gay News

11th Circuit urged to reverse decision allowing LGBTQ youth conversion therapy 2020-12-21
--From a Born Perfect press release - ATLANTA, GA — The Born Perfect campaign submitted a friend-of-the-court brief on Friday urging reversal of a recent decision by a three-judge federal panel validating the dangerous unethical practice known ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Trans acting challenge, NYE parties, Charlize Theron, Diana Ross 2020-12-14
- Michael D. Cohen, with support from Nickelodeon, is launching the Trans Youth Acting Challenge, according to a press release. Trans and non-binary kids can submit audition self-tapes online (preferably through their parents), and the top 12 ...


Gay News

Buffalo Grove LGBTQ+ teen named one of HRC's ambassadors 2020-12-09
- The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) announced that Buffalo Grove teen Molly Pinta (she/her)—a 14-year-old who identifies as bisexual—has been named a member of the 2021 class of HRC Foundation Youth ...


Gay News

THEATER Andre De Shields to help celebrate youth Dec. 9 2020-11-11
- Andre De Shields—a Grammy-, Emmy- and Tony-winning actor, director and educator, and the 2019 "Triple Crown" winner for his portrayal of Hermes in Hadestown—will be the keynote speaker of the Victory Gardens Theater event "Voices of ...


Gay News

Same-sex parents are 7X more likely to raise adopted, foster children 2020-10-27
--From a Williams Institute press release - A summary of data on same-sex parenting to inform reporting on Fulton v. City of Philadelphia On Nov. 5, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. The case will ...


Gay News

Inclusive curriculum tools offered to schools during LGBTQ History Month 2020-10-20
--From a press release - October is LGBTQ History Month, and a coalition of LGBTQ organizations are celebrating by making tools available to school administrators, educators, youth, and families to help implement the state's new Inclusive Curriculum Law. The Illinois Inclusiv ...


Gay News

About Face Theatre announces 25th season of new work, digital performances 2020-10-19
--From a press release - CHICAGO — About Face Theatre is excited to announce plans for its landmark 25th anniversary season. Featuring new and original works, the company will focus on using digital streaming and online tools for most of the ...


Gay News

WORLD French plan, 'gay panic' defense, trans youth case, Northern Triangle 2020-10-19
- The French government unveiled a national plan to combat hatred and discrimination against LGBTQ people, and the initiative emphasises the importance of inclusive education in stamping out homophobia, RFI.fr reported. The three-year plan aims to make ...


Gay News

Study shows young queer adults face high rates of discrimination 2020-10-18
- A new study from the progressive think tank the Center for American Progress (CAP) and the research group NORC at the University of Chicago reported that young queer adults face high rates of discrimination. The survey ...


Gay News

Campus Pride announces 2020 Best of the Best LGBTQ-friendly colleges, universities 2020-10-14
--From a press release - Campus Pride commemorates LGBTQ History Month and National Coming Out Day by releasing its 2020 BEST OF THE BEST LGBTQ-Friendly listing of colleges and universities. The announcement features forty campuses ...


Gay News

Victory Gardens Theater announces StudentsFirst Virtual Showcase 2020-10-07
--From a press release - Chicago, IL—Victory Gardens Theater announces the Voices of Tomorrow: Their World on Stagefundraising event on Dec. 9, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. The virtual event will showcase powerful and moving spoken word and artistic works created by ...


Gay News

VIEWPOINT As a gay bipolar man, I've learned to live with suicidal thoughts 2020-10-01
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 20. LGBTQ+ youth seriously contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate of heterosexual youth. In addition, LGBTQ+ youth are almost five ...


 



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
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.