Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


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



VIEWS Google and Chicago's segregated LGBTQ+ community
by Cris Villalonga-Vivoni

This article shared 285 times since Fri Nov 19, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

I was a little baby queer when I moved to Chicago last year.

I come from a traditional, cookie-cutter Connecticut town where Vineyard Vines and Sunday school were the standards. So, for a LatinX queer person—who existed exclusively in grungy, ripped jeans and Doc Martens—this environment was not very conducive to my mental health and personal growth. I also went to an all-girls Catholic high school and a Jesuit university. Yet, even with all of that straightness shoved down my throat, I was still (surprisingly) gay.

For me, moving to Chicago was one of the most liberating choices I made. Finally, I found a space to be myself fully. However, it didn't take long for me to notice the segregation in the city's LGBTQ+ community.

Before my arrival, I did some deep-dive research into Chicago's queer culture. Whenever I searched "Chicago LGBTQ+," most of the information that came up was about the North Side.

I learned about Boystown (obviously), Hamburger Mary's, the Center on Halsted, LGBTQ+ Legacy Walk, the Rogers Park area and Sidetrack nightclub. I saw how the Pride Parade route was mainly on the same street in Northalsted/Boystown and stopped just before Lincoln Park. The Google Image results about the Chicago LGBTQ+ community showed photo after photo of cis white men partying and I would sometimes come across a BIPOC drag queen, but those were few and far between.

Just from this Google search, I began to understand the inner, intersectional workings of the community as they were essentially laid out in front of me. It felt as if Google was trying to convince me that the only safe space for queer people in the entire city was on the North Side. In addition, many of these safe spaces were created by cis white gay men for other cis white gay men.

When I started reporting on LGBTQ+ issues in the city, I learned that I needed to specify the location if I wanted to research the community outside of Northalsted.

For example, I discovered Brave Space Alliance, one of the most well-known LGBTQ+ centers for queer people of color in Chicago, after I asked Google for "LGBTQ+ resources South Side."

Similarly, if I wanted to see Chicago's diverse Pride celebrations, I would have to use South Side as a keyword since a general search would lead me back to Northalsted. When I saw the photos and videos of South Side Pride, which began in 2019 and got canceled in 2020 because of COVID-19, it was all queer people of color dancing and partying. There were no cis white gay males in sight.

It was also easier to find information on the controversial renaming of Boystown than it was to find information on the numerous Black trans women who were murdered on the South and West sides.

For a community all about love, support and social justice, the Google results showed me otherwise.

To me, Chicago has two separate, segregated communities under the same rainbow flag, and the initial Google search makes it seem that white queer people are the best representatives of the city's diverse LGBTQ+ culture. The lack of Black and Brown bodies in a general search about Chicago's LGBTQ+ community shows how BIPOC queer people are othered and further pushes the narrative of segregation in the city.

It's something even a little new queer Chicago resident was able to piece together in a matter of a few clicks.

Cris Villalonga-Vivoni (they/them/theirs) is a queer, non-binary LatinX Chicago-based journalist focusing on LGBTQ+ social-justice issues. They have a bachelor's in English from Boston College and a master's in journalism from Northwestern University. They are an avid fan of video games, as they have clocked in more than 465 hours in Animal Crossing and 150 hours in Breath of the Wild. Cris is proud to have several animal nieces and nephews, and is affectionately known as "Zaza CV."

If you would like to contact them, email them at or slide into their DMs on Twitter @civillalonga.

Villalonga-Vivoni is one of the Field Foundation fellows writing for Windy City Times this fall.

This article shared 285 times since Fri Nov 19, 2021
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

LETTER TO THE EDITOR Thanksgiving is a time to reflect 2021-11-24
- Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for a God that created us and loves us. The sins of racism, sexism, ageism and classicism are neoclassic examples of how we have fallen short. We have come ...

Gay News

VIEWS Young people need to listen to LGBTQ elders' intergenerational experiences 2021-11-20
- For one of my first Windy City Times assignments, I was lucky enough to spend nearly three hours interviewing longtime LGBTQ+-rights activist Michael O'Connor. As queer individuals living in Chicago in 2021, we had plenty in ...

Gay News

VIEWS Reporting on queers of color needs to investigate absence as much as presence 2021-11-19
- Earlier this month, I pitched a Windy City Times article that sought to explore how role playing games (RPGs), such as Dungeons & Dragons, enable queer people of color (QPOC) to explore their gender and sexuality ...

Gay News

VIEWS In defense of the word 'lesbian' 2021-11-19
- When I decided to come out to my mom, I wanted to wait until I could say the word "lesbian" out loud. But as I sat her down, I tripped over the long string of letters. "Mom, I'm gay," I blurted ...

Gay News

OP-ED The Black church was one of R. Kelly's enablers 2021-10-13
- The long-awaited justice for R. Kelly's survivors finally came last month when a New York federal jury found him guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking. For nearly 30 years, underage Black girls and their families have ...

Gay News

VIEWS Finding the Crossroads 2021-10-08
By Martha Miller - The first time I saw a psychic, I was 19 and my friend Sandy and I drove to Jacksonville to see an old woman who read cards. We were young and it was fun going to her old house where a ...

Gay News

TRAVEL Conde Nast readers select The Gwen as Chicago's best hotel 2021-10-05
- Conde Nast Traveler's readers have spoken—and their views of Chicago's hotels are distinctly different from those of another top travel publication. While Viceroy Chicago topped Travel + Leisure's readers' list of local spots to stay, ...

Gay News

SAVOR South Branch Tavern & Grille 2021-08-19
- Before taking a bite of anything at South Branch Tavern & Grille (100 S. Wacker Dr.;, patrons are likely to be impressed. The reason lies in the picturesque views surrounding the spot. Ensconced near some ...

Gay News

VIEWS U.S. Senators: It's time to act against anti-LGBTQ discrimination 2021-07-28
- Georgia has had the eyes of the nation on it for some time now. It's just over five years since people across Georgia braced themselves as lawmakers sent sweeping anti-LGBTQ legislation to the desk of then-Governor ...

Gay News

OP-ED Foreign drug pricing puts America's most vulnerable patients last 2021-07-03
By Guy Anthony - It's no coincidence that American companies led the charge to develop COVID-19 vaccines. Numerous policies—from strong patent protections to a welcoming immigration system—help ensure that the world's smartest scientists can ...

Gay News

Op-Ed: Elevating 'T' in LGBTQ: State government, transgender equity in 21st century 2021-06-28
By Illinois state Sen. Sara Feigenholtz - In recent decades, our laws, pop culture and morality have shifted dramatically for same-sex couples. Our LGBTQ+ neighbors are interwoven into the fabric of our communities now more than ever. We celebrate this recognition and indeed ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT Pride at work 2021-06-23
- Pride Month is a chance for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ+) people to be proud and visible in a world that tells us not to be. Pride Month is a chance to celebrate and ...

Gay News

LETTER: Pride, a time for hope 2021-06-12
- Pride is so much more than a parade, a march or even a demonstration for the LGBTQAI community. In other words, this is an opportunity for us to celebrate our diversity among our various communities, and ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT Tulsa Race Massacre reparations would begin the healing 2021-05-31
- When HBO's 2019 Watchmen series opened with the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre, and HBO's 2020 Lovecraft Country series closed with scenes from the riots, most Americans had never heard of the event—even Tulsans. On May 19, ...

Gay News

Illinois Holocaust Museum makes statement on anti-Semitic attacks 2021-05-28
--From a press release - Dear Museum Community, At Illinois Holocaust Museum, we are appalled at the recent rise in worldwide anti-Semitic incidences. We cannot stand by while Jews and synagogues are violently attacked, including in Skokie, New York, Los Angeles, ...


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.