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 Windy City Times 2023-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Men's group alleges unfair removal from Center on Halsted
by Matt Simonette
2014-10-20

This article shared 3331 times since Mon Oct 20, 2014
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


A men's discussion group that had long met at Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted St., says it was unfairly evicted from the community center because of what the center called "alignment issues" with the facility's other mental-health programming.

The group, known as "Middle Men," was geared at gay men who are middle-aged or older, and had been meeting at the center since January 2012, according to its facilitator, Marvin Evans, LCPC, who volunteered his services. Middle Men was a support group addressing "existential issues" facing gay males.

But Evans was informed by the center officials in August that the group would have to be out of the facility by the end of September. He was befuddled by the decision, as Middle Men was well-attended, with each member paying about about $15 a session. Evans also said that he was recognized as the center's "Volunteer of the Year" in 2013.

"I was given total autonomy," Evans said. "My only thing was, I had to keep open enrollment every 10 weeks."

He initially approached Claudia Mosier, the center's former director of mental health and youth services, about his idea for the group. At the time, Evans added, "There was no specific therapy milieu for men in our age cohort."

Mosier was an enthusiastic proponent of the idea. "I thought it was an excellent idea for a group," she said. "It was a safe space for discussion, and Marvin's clinical insights were excellent."

Evans said that the group ran smoothly until Mosier left the center. "Under her administration the group was congratulated and commended. That all changed once this administration came on board."

The group's problem began when Director of Community Behavioral Services William Farrand and Director of Behavioral Health Training Crystal Kannankeril took over, he noted. "[The center] became a lot more involved in the running and the maintenance of the group. Bill wanted to sit in and observe the running of the group. I was not open to anyone coming in to observe and supervise. It was not conducive to maintaining the cohesion of the group."

Evans and other group members also objected when the center wanted an intern to be able to sit in on sessions. Members felt that would be an invasion of privacy.

One such member, Ed ( who did not want his last name used ), said, "By that time, we had been functioning so well. This group was vital to me. The hours, my investment of time and cash—this was my time. I did not want it interfered with."

"They were changing the operational model," said Evans. "They were becoming invested in training interns, and it wasn't appropriate for a group with an established history."

He nevertheless polled the group on the matter, saying, "I questioned the necessity and intrusiveness, but we decided that we would be open to a male intern in our age cohort." Evans took that suggested compromise to the center officials, but nothing more was ever said about the matter.

Another problem the center expressed concern over was the running time of the Middle Men sessions, which were scheduled to be 90 minutes long. Mosier said that she had also discussed that with Evans occasionally when she was working at the center. But Evans contended that the group usually needed more time in order for all members to be able to speak. Some sessions lasted as long as three hours, but Evans said the meetings never interfered with the center's other planned uses for their meeting space.

Finally, Center on Halsted officials mentioned concerns about "liability," Evans said, but never addressed what those specific concerns were. He speculated they were related to the center's intake process.

"After the center would publish information informing the public the 10-week group was open to new referrals, individuals interested in joining would usually go through the center's intake process before attending a group meeting," he noted. "However, from time to time walk-in referrals would join and I didn't make an issue of it, especially after making my own assessment of a potential member's appropriateness for the group. I knew this to be an issue for the center; I did mention it to the group but did not push members to be subjected to an intake process that was after the fact, for all intent and purposes.

"There is an element of legitimacy to their concern. As a professional, I recognize this. However, it is not enough, in my opinion, to warrant terminating the group," Evans added.

Once the discord between Evans and the center began, he said officials demonstrated "passive-aggressive behavior" towards the group. For example, an unknown woman at one point entered the room during a session and began looking around, without acknowledging their presence. "There was clearly something wrong," he said.

Member Rick Newbury said that the ongoing problems with the center contributed to a sense of unease amongst members.

"The men in our group are from the Gen X and [baby] boomer age groups," he said. "Many of us spent years in the closet. I know there are ethical standards, but the cardinal rule of counseling is 'do no harm,' and we felt bullied."

Evans had a "heated and contentious" meeting with Farrand and Kannankeril after he received notice of their removal. He brought up the possibility of simply renting a space in the Center, but officials supposedly refused.

Center on Halsted officials did not respond to requests for comment on the situation. But Newbury wrote to Center on Halsted CEO Modesto "Tico" Valle about the matter. Valle responded to Newbury's inquiry with a letter that outlined changes the center was implementing.

"Over the summer the Behavioral Health Department at the center has refined the SOGI ( Sexual Orientation and Gender Institute ) training program," Valle wrote. "This program is designed to give new professionals hands-on training to become LGBTQ competent clinicians. We have changed our practice for hosting non-staff run clinical groups. We now provide opportunities for interns to be part of facilitating groups."

Valle continued by outlining three key changes: groups would be offered in cycles, with a beginning, middle and end; sessions would last 90 minutes or less; and groups would be led by co-facilitators.

According to Valle, "These adjustments allow for a standardized training experience for all trainees. Additionally, a clear and consistent model helps when communicating our standards and practices to clients and funding sources."

Valle invited Newbury and other members to "join a new group that will be offered in the very near future." He further stressed that the center contractual and volunteer therapists would take part in trainings and discussions that "provide support to clinicians and ensure Behavioral Health programming is delivered in a consistent manner that supports the LGBTQ community."

The Middle Men are for now meeting in a local church while they look for a permanent location, a solution that has made some of them unhappy.

Newbury said, "For some of our men, a church is not the most comfortable space."

Ed called the situation "tragic," adding, "I don't know what my future relationship with the Center is going to be."


This article shared 3331 times since Mon Oct 20, 2014
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

David E. Munar reflects on Howard Brown leadership and new Columbus, Ohio post 2024-04-11
- On April 1, David E. Munar started his tenure as CEO of the Columbus, Ohio-based non-profit health system Equitas. The date marked the latest chapter for Munar, who previously helmed AIDS Foundation Chicago and, most recently, ...


Gay News

Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame seeks nominations for 2024 induction 2024-04-09
--From a press release - The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame has announced a call for nominations for the 2024 class of inductees into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame. Those wishing to may nominate individuals, organizations, businesses, or "Friends of ...


Gay News

Tiny Home Summit 2.0 convenes experts to explore affordable, small-scale housing June 13 2024-04-09
--From a press release - CHICAGO—A gathering of more than 250 elected officials, developers, advocates, philanthropists, community members, and people with lived experience will take place June 13, 2024 to discuss and strategize around the ...


Gay News

HRC president responds to NAIA vote to ban transgender women from playing sports 2024-04-08
--From a press release - WASHINGTON —Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ+) civil rights organization, responded to the National Association of ...


Gay News

Lambda Legal: NAIA proposed transgender sports ban disappointing, harmful reversal 2024-04-08
- Lambda Legal: NAIA Proposed Transgender Sports Ban a Disappointing and Harmful Reversal "The NAIA announcement sends a dangerous message, is inconsistent with the law and science, and undercuts the organization's ...


Gay News

Lighthouse Foundation releases first Black Queer Equity Index report card 2024-04-02
- After three years of working with a small group of Chicago LGBTQ+ organizations, Lighthouse Foundation released its inaugural Black Queer Equity Index (BQEI) report this past week, ranking how each organization supports five areas of support ...


Gay News

Munar starts as head of Columbus LGBTQ+ health organization 2024-04-02
- Former Howard Brown Health CEO and President David Munar will now head the Columbus, Ohio-based LGBTQ+ health provider Equitas. Munar began his new position as Equitas CEO on April 1, Columbus Dispatch reported. "I am honored ...


Gay News

Lambda Legal Launches "Speak OUT" awareness campaign uplifting trans, nonbinary voices 2024-03-28
--From a press release. VIDEO BELOW - (NEW YORK, NY — March 28, 2024) In advance of Transgender Day of Visibility, Lambda Legal, the nation's oldest and largest legal nonprofit working to achieve full equal rights for LGBTQ people and everyone living with ...


Gay News

Brown Elephant returns to Northalsted 2024-03-26
- Brown Elephant's Lake View location is moving to Northalsted and already accepting donations. Howard Brown Health, the largest LGBTQ+ health center in the midwest, operates three Brown Elephant resale shops in the Chicagoland area to help ...


Gay News

Be here, be queer, play polo: Gay Polo League creates safe athletic space for LGBTQ community 2024-03-26
- LGBTQ+ athletic clubs aren't too hard to come by, offering a variety of sports such as softball, soccer and more in cities across the country. But LGBTQ+ athletes would be harder pressed to find someplace to ...


Gay News

After 30 Under 30: MAP Executive Director Naomi Goldberg 2024-03-25
- NOTE: In this series, Windy City Times will profile some of its past 30 Under 30 honorees. Windy City Times started its 30 Under 30 Awards in 2001, presenting them each year through 2019. This year, ...


Gay News

Former Chicago Girl Scouts CEO Brooke Wiseman to receive Luminary Award 2024-03-22
- Brooke Wiseman, a now-retired nonprofit leader in the Chicago area, spent most of her career creating leadership development opportunities for girls and women—and making sure that hungry children could be fed. While leading Girl Scouts of ...


Gay News

Affinity celebrates Burning Bowl while looking toward the future 2024-03-19
- On March 17, Affinity Community Services held its annual Burning Bowl ceremony even as it already sets its organizational sights on 2025. The event, titled Burning Bowl 2024 Evolution, was held at Studio Imani, 5917 N. ...


Gay News

Howard Brown experts discuss advocacy and allyship for Chicago's trans community 2024-03-14
By Alec Karam - Howard Brown Health's Trans & Gender Diverse People's Rights & Patient Care panel convened March 12 to discuss both resources for—and opportunities to provide allyship to—the city's trans and gender diverse communities. The event hos ...


Gay News

Howard Brown Health faces October trial if settlement isn't reached with union 2024-03-13
- Howard Brown Health could go to trial over unfair labor practice allegations if the LGBTQ+ health center doesn't reach a settlement with its agreement soon. Chicago's regional director of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) filed ...


 


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
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.