EDITED BY KATHIE BERGQUIST AND OWEN KEEHNEN
Editing this year's Windy City Times Pride Literary Supplement was a tough but rewarding task. Once more we were fortunate enough to have received quality entries from LGBTQ folks worldwide. Our final selection was based on the combined considerations of merit as well as thematic relevance.
To celebrate the 40th anniversary of Stonewall we chose "Looking Out" as this year's theme. We specifically chose something that leant itself to broad interpretation. It was a theme that prompted perspective. Many interpreted it as taking a stand and looking out to see what has happened since that hot June night outside New York's Stonewall Inn when harassment and bigotry proved no longer tolerable and overnight the outcasts became the heroes. Others explored the idea of looking out in terms of not passing, as in physically representing your queer self to the public at large.
In the span of four decades we've made incredible strides as a community. We have struggled to be seen, to keep our jobs, and to be parents. We have struggled to declare our love, to display our lust, and to do so many things which most members of our society take for granted. In those forty years many survived a pandemic and many did not. Many were asked not to tell. Many mustered every ounce of courage to open the closet door, to push gender boundaries, and to cross gender lines. Many suffered violence and many did not survive it. Many suffered ridicule and harassment for choosing not to pass, for being queer and for "looking out." Our journey has been rife with struggle but it hasn't been in vain. We've become a part of the political dialogue, we've become media savvy, and we've made many friends in the straight world. We've made amazing progress and although full acceptance is nearer, it is by no means here.
Looking Out is not only about where we've been and how far we've come, it's also about where we're going. It looks to the future and asks where we need to be. It's clear we're still struggling with social and legislative inequality in this country and around the world, not to mention racial and gender bigotry within our own GLBTQ communities. If our struggles have taught us anything it is that a community at odds cannot stand together and that a community apart stands for nothing. Therefore, as we celebrate what unites us, we also strive to honor the diversity of the myriad communities that gather under the rainbow umbrella.
On the anniversary of that original uprising it's important to acknowledge progress as well as to realize that the journey continues. Rather than let this dampen our spirit we need to be proud of our determination to go even further. What better way to honor the past and the fallen than by asking more of ourselves as well as for ourselves.
It is with great love, great pride, and in this spirit of unity and continued progress that we present the 2009 Windy City Times Literary Supplement, "Stonewall 40: Looking Out."
Kathie Bergquist is co-author ( with Robert McDonald ) of the book, A Field Guide to Gay and Lesbian Chicago. She is adjunct faculty in the fiction department of Columbia College Chicago, and curates Women & Children First's monthly Sappho's Salon.
Owen Keehnen's fiction, reviews, erotica, essays and poetry have appeared in hundreds of periodicals and anthologies worldwide including Out and Proud in Chicago. He has had two pieces adapted for the stage and is the author of four books of interviews with gay porn stars—Starz, More Star, Ultimate Starz, and the upcoming Rising Starz. Keehnen also recently completed work on a humorous fictional memoir entitled I May Not Be Much But I'm All I Think About, a horror fantasy novel Doorway Unto Darkness, and is currently co-editing a book of Jon-Henri Damski's work entitled Men & Boys. He lives in Roger's Park with his partner, Carl, and dogs Flannery and Fitzgerald.