Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01



Mother of Eisha Love: Heartbreak and courage
by Gretchen Rachel Blickensderfer

This article shared 10322 times since Wed Sep 17, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Novelist and poet Barbara Kingsolver once wrote that "sometimes the strength of motherhood is greater than natural laws." For one Chicago mother raising a large family alone in the West Side neighborhood of Austin, her strength was tested without remission every single day.

In the two-and-a-half years since she received a panicked call from her eldest daughter on the morning of March 28, 2012, she has been forced to call upon every ounce of courage and stamina she has.

She is the mother of Eisha Love—a 25-year-old trans woman of color who was arrested that morning on initial charges of aggravated battery after fleeing a verbal and physical assault by two men at an Austin gas station, and then allegedly striking and injuring one of the men with her car. Love has since been held in protective custody in the maximum-security Division 9 of the Cook County Jail awaiting trial for attempted first-degree murder.

Love's mother agreed to an interview with Windy City Times. For her own protection and that of her children, she asked to be identified under an alias, "Callie." At the time of our interview, she had just returned from work to a meticulously kept home that is in stark contrast to the derelict, semi-abandoned street outside. She began by proudly sharing the achievements of each of her children, showing off their diplomas and pictures containing faces that were handsome, adorable and elegant.

When she displayed a picture of Love from a modeling photo session taken before the young woman's arrest, her eyes began to moisten. "Isn't she beautiful?" She smiled. Soft-spoken and with an unassuming nature often betrayed by a gentle laugh, there is an undeniable, straightforward sincerity about Callie's character. During the course of the conversation, this led to melancholy admissions about her mistakes in life. There are moments when, with the innate quality of a mother, she completely shoulders the blame for her daughter's predicament even though the story of Love's childhood lacks a key figure.

"Eisha's father was in her life financially," Callie said. "Anyway, he was a drug dealer and at the time I was maybe 18. He would take care of her and buy her clothes or whatever she needed but there [was] no time spent [with her] and that's the most important thing."

However, Callie also conceded to her own drug-related problems that had an effect on Love's early life. "I was messed up, too," Callie said. "So Eisha was like the babysitter who took care of my younger kids for me. As she grew older, I guess she developed some anger towards me—you know like talking back and being disrespectful—for what I put her through during my addiction. But I wasn't there like I should've been for my child and I hate that."

When Love came out at the age of 14, Callie said the child's father began to shy away completely. "At first Eisha came out as a gay boy," she said. "And then she came out as a transsexual, so it was like a double whammy. She was a good kid but I always felt something wasn't right because she used to play in my heels or my gowns. She played with mostly girls. She didn't spend a lot of time around guys but I was still hoping and praying that it wasn't true."

Eventually, Callie not only came to accept Love as an energetic, ambitious and outgoing young woman, but she also became proud of her. That appeared to have done wonders for Love's self esteem. "I was with it," Callie said with a smile. "I let everybody know 'that's my girl' because when Eisha was in the room, she was looking better than some of these real women out here. I mean, she liked to dress nice, she wanted to be a real lady and she was looking real good."

When Callie visits her daughter in the jail and sees her robbed of her make-up and an appearance in which Love invested so much time and energy, the memories of her flourishing young beauty take on a significance that is particularly agonizing. "When I go see her, it hurts me," Callie said. "I hate it so much because I know how my child likes to look."

As for the circumstances which lead to Love being locked in a 22-hour per-day cell in a male prison, Callie recalled being awoken on the morning of March 28, 2012 by her daughter's terrified voice on the other end of the phone. "She said 'Mom, come get me. These boys, they're trying to kill me!'"

At the time, Callie was living with her fiancé—a man who was active in each of his stepchildren's lives but who has since passed away from cancer. They hurriedly dressed, jumped into Callie's pick-up and frantically drove up and down Maypole Street—about a block and a half from where the incident occurred. After calling Love on her cell phone, Callie eventually found her daughter hiding between two buildings. "She was scared to death! For her life!" Callie remembered. "I kept telling her to calm down."

They immediately drove Love back to the scene of the accident. Less than 15 minutes had passed since her initial call. "The car was on the curb and there was one police car," Callie said. "There was an officer just sitting out there waiting for the tow truck to come and impound it."

She added that she didn't see any sign of the man Love allegedly struck, there was no ambulance or anything else that would signal a serious crime had been committed. There were only six or seven male bystanders on the corner of Washington and Kilbourn who began to walk toward her truck. "They must have spotted [Eisha] in the truck," Callie said. "They kept staring and saying some shit like 'We're going to get you.' I was thinking they were going to do something to me."

Even though Callie told the police officer that Love was in her truck, he did not place her under arrest. "He said, 'You need to take him up to Kedzie and Harrison.'" Callie recalled. "So that's exactly what I did. I told Eisha 'you ain't done nothing wrong' and I told her to call me when they were through questioning her. But when she did call me, she said, 'Mom, they're going to keep me.' I wasn't thinking she was going to stay in there. I thought they were going to question her and go over some things and then let her out. Ever since then, she's been locked up."

It was last year, Callie remembered, that somebody in the neighborhood told her the girl who was with Love in the car had been killed. "I am scared for my child's life," Callie said. "I mean when she gets out, I'm going to have to put her on a plane or a bus or something. She can't come this way. No way. Because they're not through with this."

Windy City Times asked Callie who she was referring to. "Them boys," she said, indicating to the men who were present when she drove Love back to the scene of the accident. "Them boys who were over there. I'm almost sure it was a gang. This ain't over with."

Callie had nobly maintained her composure throughout the entire conversation with Windy City Times. But, as she began to relate how frightened she is for her daughter's future, she gradually hunched over and a stream of agonized tears fell onto her dining room table. "I just want it to be over. It worries me a lot just knowing that she's in there. I just want it to be over," she repeated again and again, barely able to form words through her tears. "I didn't think it would be going on this long. It hurts so bad to see your child like that and I can't do nothing. I can't help her get out of there. I want her to get out of there so she can live the rest of her life, that's all."

Between visits to Love, all Callie has been able to do is helplessly watch the sporadic proceedings in court and try to make some sense of what is happening there. "There was a tape from the gas station," she recalled by way of example. "But they didn't let us see it that day. I never got a chance to see it. I don't think they said a reason. I don't know what's going on. I don't know what to say to these people."

Callie's spirits were lifted when one of her children showed her the recent petition that was started on Love's behalf. "It made me happy to see that," she said. "It's a good feeling to know that these people don't even know my child and they're with her."

During her visits to her daughter in Division 9, separated from her by a Plexiglass wall, Callie is only able to express her love through a small red grate. Summoning what remains of her strength and a dignity that is denied even the family members of inmates, Callie tries to keep Love safe from what she admits is her own temptation to just give up and accept the situation they have been handed.

"I just try to encourage her to be strong," Callie said. "She's my child and I love her just the same. They can't keep her in there forever. I just keep telling her that it's going to be all right."

NEXT WEEK: Windy City Times journeys to Love's neighborhood of Austin for an in-depth look at the lives of trans women of color who are on the streets, and the social workers who are trying to protect them. The story examines a disturbing and continuing trend of violence and intimidation, and a possible link between the incident involving Love and the subsequent murders of trans women Paige Clay and Tiffany Gooden—one that has led many to question what is being done by law enforcement and city leaders.

See related stories: . . .

This article shared 10322 times since Wed Sep 17, 2014
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.


Gay News

SOCCER Lloyd scores five goals as U.S. women rout Paraguay
Scoring five goals in a soccer match can be called a glut or even a "repoker." Whatever it's called, Carli Lloyd accomplished that incredible feat as the U.S. women's national team routed Paraguay 9-0 in Cleveland ...

Gay News

Stephen Amell, 'Outlander' star to be at Wizard World Chicago
Stephen Amell, known to millions as the crime-fighting vigilante lead in the hit TV series Arrow, will return to Wizard World Chicago on Saturday, Oct. 16. Amell—who also starred in DC Universe vehicles such as DC's ...

Gay News

WORLD False report, Indian activist dies, fashion exhibit, LGBT Awards
In Spain, a man who claimed eight hooded men carved an anti-gay slur on his butt using a knife in a horrific hate crime later said the act was consensual, according to According to police ...

Gay News

WORLD Trapped in Afghanistan, lesbian pioneer, anti-gay crimes, Valencia's bid
Among the Americans trapped in the suburban areas of Kabul, Afghanistan, under Taliban control was Josie Thomas, 32, a transgender government contractor for the U.S. State Department and former U.S. Air Force Sergeant, The Washington Blade ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Biden nominees, San Diego crime, HRC, Fox News contributor
President Joe Biden reappointed out lesbian Rabbi Sharon Kleinbaum as a commissioner of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), which is an advisory post pertaining to issues of religious freedom, Gay City News reported. ...

Gay News

Wis. man attacks trans couple but won't be charged with a hate crime
In Wisconsin, a La Crosse official said incomplete state laws prevented them from charging a man with a hate crime after he attacked a transgender couple in a public park, according to Wisconsin Public Radio. La ...

Gay News

Analysis of hate crime laws finds limitations, opportunities, rising hate violence
--From a Movement Advancement Project, National Center for Lesbian Rights press release - With a rise in hate violence across the country, a new report from the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) and 16 leading civil rights organizations provides a groundbreaking analysis of state and federal hate crime laws. The ...

Gay News

WORLD Anti-LGBTQ crimes, conversion therapy, out prime minister, Pakistan school
In England, police are treating the painting of a homophobic slur on an LGBTQ Pride mural as a hate crime, the BBC reported. The wall in St Helens, Merseyside, which was painted by volunteers and artists ...

Gay News

THEATER Goodman's 'I Hate It Here' to stream July 15-18
Goodman Theatre's streaming-in-real-time Live series will conclude with I Hate It Here, written by Ike Holter and directed by Lili-Anne Brown. I Hate It Here appears July 15, at 7:30 p.m.; July 16, at 7:30 p.m.; ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Panic defense, VP Kamala Harris, Black LGBTQ app, crime items
Four states and the nation's capital have taken action to ban the so-called LGBTQ "panic defense," which is a legal strategy used by defendants to cite a victim's sexual orientation or gender identity as an excuse ...

Gay News

Employee fired for using gay slur at Indiana Arby's
An employee at an Arby's restaurant in Lafayette, Indiana, was fired after writing a homophobic slur on the receipt of a gay couple, NBC News reported. Craig Gray and John Burns were dining at the restaurant ...

Gay News

When crime goes viral
Activists say Illinois's law that makes it illegal to expose others to HIV is racist and homophobic. Now they're close to changing it.
In early 2016, Jimmy Amutavi had what he considered a happy life. More ...

Gay News

Incarceration for HIV crimes in Georgia cost the state $9 million
--From a press release - Between 1999-2020, as many as 133 people were incarcerated in Georgia prisons for HIV-related crimes New analysis from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds that as many as 133 people have been incarcerated ...

Gay News

WORLD Myanmar activist, Cyprus official, brutal crimes, UK youth
In Myanmar, Equality Myanmar Executive Director Aung Myo Min broke another barrier, becoming the first LGBTQ person to become sworn in as a member of cabinet after being appointed by the National Unity Government as its ...

Gay News

President Biden signs historic hate crimes bill into law
WASHINGTON — Wade Henderson, interim president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, released the following statement after President Biden signed into law the COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act, which included the Khalid ...


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.








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.