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 Pre-order Book!
Pre-order Book!
Donate

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 7177 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 7177 times since Wed Nov 11, 2015
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

Tennessee governor signs anti-trans 'bathroom bill'
2021-05-15
On May 14, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee signed House Bill 1233 (Senate Bill 1367)—an anti-transgender "bathroom bill"—into law, The Advocate reported. The statute will deny trans students and staff in ...


Gay News

Former Chicago Blackhawk files sexual-assault suit against team
2021-05-15
Attorney Susan E. Loggins—who represents a former Chicago Blackhawks player in a sexual-assault lawsuit against the team—told the Chicago Tribune that she intends to call a former teammate as a witness in the case. Loggins also ...


Gay News

Black Lives, Black Words Int'l Project, Writers Theatre to premier Ride Share
2021-05-13
--From a press release - Glencoe, IL— Black Lives, Black Words co-founders Reginald Edmund and Simeilia Hodge-Dallaway and Writers Theatre Artistic Director Michael Halberstam and Executive Director Kathryn M. Lipuma announce Ride Share, a new ...


Gay News

Federal judge hears incarcerated trans woman's motion
2021-05-13
On May 12, a federal judge heard an emergency motion in a case charging the Georgia Department of Corrections (GDC) with violating the constitutional rights of Ashley Diamond—a Black transgender woman currently incarcerated in a men's ...


Gay News

Ann Hampton Callaway releases 'Revelation'
2021-05-12
--From a press release - The latest in a string of singles, Ann Hampton Callaway, releases "Revelation", a song she composed to a Robert Frost poem which she kept in her jeans pocket when she was a teenager. Callaway wrote the ...


Gay News

LGBQ people six times more likely than general public to be stopped by police
2021-05-12
--From a Williams Institute press release - Nearly one in four LGBQ people say they are unlikely to call police in the future A new study by the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law finds more LGBQ adults than people in the general United States population have ...


Gay News

UK to ban conversion therapy
2021-05-11
Britain will move to ban conversion therapy and provide more support to those in the LGBT community who have undergone the treatment, as part of its post-pandemic government agenda, Reuters reported. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government ...


Gay News

Unprecedented 18 anti-LGBTQ bills enacted in 2021
2021-05-11
--From a Human Rights Campaign press release - WASHINGTON, D.C. — With an unprecedented number of anti-LGBTQ measures sweeping through state legislatures across the country, 2021 has officially surpassed 2015 as the worst year for anti-LGBTQ legislation in ...


Gay News

Biden administration restores anti-bias protections, groups comment
2021-05-10
--From a press release - The following statement is from Susan R. Bailey, M.D., President, American Medical Association "The Biden administration did the right thing by terminating a short-lived effort to allow discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation when seeking ...


Gay News

HHS: Prohibition on sex discrimination includes sexual orientation, gender identity
2021-05-10
--From a press release - Washington D.C. — Today, the Department of Health and Human Services announced that the Office for Civil Rights will interpret and enforce Section 1557 and Title IX's prohibitions on discrimination based on sex to include: (1) ...


Gay News

WORLD Parenting news, Tonga activist, pension fight, drag personality
2021-05-09
A Croatian court has ruled that same-sex partners can now adopt children, backing a same-sex couple in their five-year fight for the right to family life, Openly News reported. On April 21, Zagreb's Administrative Court ruled ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Military bill, LGBTQ teen, trans deaths, Pride items, children's book
2021-05-09
New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill that directs the Department of Military and Veterans' Affairs in the Garden State to assist former Armed Forces service members who were denied an honorable discharge due to ...


Gay News

Refugee Coalition of East Africa calls for attention to anti-queer violence
2021-05-07
--From a press release - On May 17, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia will be observed worldwide, followed by many celebrations of Pride in the month of June. We at the Refugee Coalition of East Africa will raise ...


Gay News

Utah Supreme Court upholds transgender rights
2021-05-06
--From a press release - Salt Lake City — On Thursday, May 6, the Utah Supreme Court ruled today In Re Gray and Rice (20170046) 2021 UT 13, and confirmed the right of transgender Utahns to change the name and gender ...


Gay News

The National Black Justice Coalition mourns death of Mikayla Miller
2021-05-06
--From a press release - MASSACHUSETTS — The National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) mourns the loss of Mikayla Miller, a Black 16-year-old girl and member of the LGBTQ+ community. Miller was found dead on April 18th in Hopkinton, Massachusetts one day ...


 



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.