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 2022-03-16
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

South Side's Village offers free legal clinic for sex workers
by Gretchen Rachel Hammond
2015-11-11

This article shared 7409 times since Wed Nov 11, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


In April, University of Chicago's Departments of Medicine & Public Health Sciences Associated Professor and Chicago Center for HIV Elimination Director Dr. John Schneider, MD, MPH, created a village on the city's South Side as a response to the dearth of social services available to the LGBTQ community there.

Schneider secured commercial space at 1525 E. 55th St. in Hyde Park. Then, a five-member staff immediately set about transforming The Village into a welcoming and accessible hub for linking LGBTQ people infected with or at risk from HIV to access supportive services.

The lobby area has a smart TV for individuals to be able to watch movies or play Xbox. The facility also includes a spacious conference room as well as three testing and counseling rooms. The staff have gone out of their way to make the setting more cozy than clinical, repainting the walls and raiding IKEA for its most comfortable couches.

Ricky Hill is the team lead for community outreach and engagement at The Chicago Center for HIV Elimination.

"Beyond HIV testing, treatment and prevention, we link folks into housing services," Hill explained. "We have partnerships with Chicago House and every Wednesday they have their TransSafe program out of our space for the transgender population. We have support groups for young men, transfeminine people, PrEP education and training and we're going to be launching a drop-in space. We're trying to build something really special down here."

"There really is a need for these kinds of services on the South Side because so many people go to the Howard Brown or the Center on Halsted on the North Side," Hill added. "This gives them something a little closer to home. We're trying to make it as community oriented as possible in terms of what the needs are."

To that end, The Village asked the Sex Workers Outreach Project of Chicago ( SWOP ) and the Community Activism Law Alliance ( CALA ) to hold a free legal clinic for individuals involved in sex work. The first of the clinics was held on Nov. 2.

Individuals who attend can safely and anonymously receive legal services ranging from advice and community legal education to representation if needed.

Timothy Myers is a staff attorney with CALA, which, according to its website, is dedicated to "community activism lawyering—a model of legal practice that brings lawyers and activists together in a collaborative pursuit to maximize their respective resources."

"Sex workers are not a geographically defined population," Myers told Windy City Times. "So while we have a walk-in clinic at a stable location with SWOP, we're also looking to have monthly outreach clinics where we go to different agencies or nonprofits around the city who we think may have a client base in need of our legal services. One of those organizations is The Village."

"In the eyes of the law, there is definitely a stigma attached to being a sex worker," Myers explained. "We see that there's a need for both criminal defense and civil law representation for this population. So the areas of laws that we practice with the SWOP clinic are criminal defense, police misconduct, criminal records, immigration, family law, housing, labor and employment and really any area in which we see that someone's sex worker status is affecting their case; we want to provide representation."

Hill agreed that the stigma attached to sex-work has made outreach indispensable for those who make their livings with it. "We want to be as consistent as we can so that people know they can come to a space that is really there to help them as best as we can," Hill asserted.

"Part of what CALA wants to do is educate the community," Myers said. "So we give 'know your rights presentations' for sex workers—how to invoke the right to remain silent, the necessity of affirmatively invoking the right to an attorney. We also give practical advice. 'If you get arrested do you have a plan in place? An attorney you can call?' On top of that, we advise people as to what happens during a court procedure—what a pretrial and trial look like, what potential offers are, what they mean and how they affect you. Can you expunge your records? We really walk them through the entire criminal process."

Myers noted a new diversion court for sex workers launched in Cook County in May 2015. "The idea is to focus less on incarceration and focus on alternative sentences that put sex workers into diversion programs that allow for expungement in criminal records," he said. "If you think of someone who is a transgender individual, there's already not enough resources for them. There are populations of people where these are survival situations. I don't know if the diversion program adequately recognizes that reality. From a legal perspective it's a great deal but from the perspective of addressing the problem, I don't know if it is all that effective."

Myers added that there was very little recourse for transgender individuals who are subject to police harassment or profiling of their gender identity in violation of the Chicago Police Department ( CPD )'s 2015 policy against that. "We still see a lot of horrifying treatment of transgender individuals by the police," he said. "The options for recourse are very slim unfortunately."

Beyond its research activities, The Village offers at least a temporary safe-haven for transgender sex workers and others from such treatment and the knowledge that someone has their backs.

"We believe that it takes an entire community to care for each other," Hill said. "We are all responsible for one another. That is within the framework of The Village."

For more information about The Village and the legal clinic, email rhill3@medicine.bsd.uchicago.edu . Info about CALA is at www.calachicago.org, and SWOP Chicago's website is redlightchicago.wordpress.com .


This article shared 7409 times since Wed Nov 11, 2015
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Lambda Legal discusses court decisions granting same-sex couples fair access to Social Security benefits
2022-05-27
Lambda Legal—a national organization committed to actualizing the rights of LGBTQ+ people through impact litigation, public policy work and education—hosted an event at Sidetrack May 26 discussing its work securing ...


Gay News

Jussie Smollett back to work; BET+ plans to show his directorial debut
2022-05-27
Embattled former Empire actor Jussie Smollett is back to work after being convicted of faking a hate crime in Chicago earlier this year, ABC 7 Chicago reported. Smollett, 39, makes his directorial debut in the movie ...


Gay News

Okla. governor signs anti-trans, strict abortion measures
2022-05-27
Oklahoma Gov. Kevin Stitt has recently signed a couple controversial measures into law. According to ABC News, Stitt has signed a bill requiring public school students to use only the bathroom of the sex listed on ...


Gay News

Kevin Spacey charged with sexual assault in the UK
2022-05-26
In the United Kingdom, embattled actor Kevin Spacey has been charged with four counts of sexual assault and one count of "causing a person to engage in penetrative sexual activity without consent," Variety reported. The decision ...


Gay News

Governor Pritzker, Lt. Governor Stratton comment on Texas tragedy
2022-05-25
-- From a press release - Chicago — In the wake of a mass shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, that killed at least 19 students and two adults, Governor JB Pritzker and Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton released the following ...


Gay News

The Museum of Public Relations to address wave of anti-LGBTQ legislation June 2
2022-05-25
-- From a press release - (New York, NY) - The Museum of Public Relations in New York City will host its fourth annual event focused on "The LGBTQ Experience in Public Relations" on June 2, 2022, from 6pm to 8pm ET. ...


Gay News

Indiana institutes anti-trans sports ban, overrides Holcomb's veto
2022-05-25
The Indiana General Assembly overturned Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb's veto of House Bill 1041, which prohibits transgender girls from playing girls school sports, according to the IndyStar. The House voted to override the veto 67-28; the ...


Gay News

NBA coach/former Chicago Bull pleads for gun control after Texas shootings
2022-05-25
Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr discussed something besides basketball in his pregame news conference heading into Game 4 of the Western Conference finals against the Dallas Mavericks on Many 24, ESPN noted. "Since we left ...


Gay News

Pritzker signs measure protecting Illinoisans with disabilities in housing, state government
2022-05-23
-- From a press release - Chicago— Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed HB2775 and SB180 into law today, expanding protections for Illinoisans with disabilities in state government and housing. HB2775 amends the Illinois Human Rights Act ...


Gay News

Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith named to Time100 List
2022-05-23
-- From a press release - St. Petersburg, FL — TIME named Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith to the 2022 TIME100, its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. The full list and related tributes appear in ...


Gay News

Report: Southern Baptist Convention leaders mishandled allegations of sexual abuse
2022-05-23
A bombshell report stated that leaders of the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) mishandled allegations of sexual abuse, intimidated victims and their advocates, and resisted attempts at reform over the course ...


Gay News

WORLD Nigeria protest, 'Flag in the Map,' Belgium, McDonald's
2022-05-22
Dressed in rainbow-colored vests, members of the LGBTQ+ community marched in a dangerous demonstration in Nigeria's capital, Abuja, to protest a bill introduced by lawmakers in Nigeria's lower house of parliament last month seeking to ban ...


Gay News

WORLD Eswatini ruling, Toronto deaths, Greece, blood donations
2022-05-15
The High Court in Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) rejected an appeal for legal recognition by the local LGBTQ+-rights group Eswatini Sexual & Gender Minorities, citing "laws … prevailing in the kingdom" ...


Gay News

Judge blocks part of Alabama law criminalizing care for trans youth
2022-05-14
On May 13, U.S. District Judge Liles Burke blocked part of an Alabama law that made it a felony to prescribe gender-affirming puberty blockers and hormones to transgender minors, USA Today reported. ...


Gay News

Report: Malta is the best European country regarding LGBTQ+ rights
2022-05-14
An annual report courtesy of ILGA-Europe stated that Malta remains the best country in Europe for LGBTQ+ rights, Euronews noted. The association said that Malta (which scored 92 out of a possible 100) has maintained the ...


 



Copyright © 2022 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
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.