LGBT

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Where and when to celebrate Pride in Chicago

Posted By on 06.15.16 at 08:00 AM

The 47th Annual Pride Parade kicks off at Montrose and Broadway on Sun 6/26. - LOGAN JAVAGE
  • Logan Javage
  • The 47th Annual Pride Parade kicks off at Montrose and Broadway on Sun 6/26.


Following the tragic nightclub shooting in Orlando, Chicago’s upcoming Pride Month celebrations feel more significant than ever. While it’s been difficult to find joy between vigils and crucial discussions about safety, the LGBTQ community has always known how to celebrate in spite of violence. Here’s a list of events happening around the city that offer solidarity, sun, sand, and some seriously good snackage.

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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Whether it’s in Orlando or Chicago, queer and trans people of color are more likely to face violence

Posted By on 06.14.16 at 06:30 PM

Orlando shooting survivor Angel Santiago points to the spot where his friend was shot in the chest as he speaks to the media from a Florida hospital Tuesday. - JOE RAEDLE/GETTY IMAGES
  • Joe Raedle/Getty Images
  • Orlando shooting survivor Angel Santiago points to the spot where his friend was shot in the chest as he speaks to the media from a Florida hospital Tuesday.

Many of the early reports and responses to the mass-casualty shooting at Orlando's Pulse Nightclub decry the tragedy as one fueled by anti-LGBTQ hate, or as murders committed by an ISIS sympathizer. With the news that the perpetrator reportedly attended the club on several occasions, and even may have used gay dating apps, internalized fear and hatred of LGBTQ people may even come into the fore. Indeed, these issues aren't mutually exclusive and are important areas of focus while trying to make sense of a senseless crime.

But there's another facet of this incident that cannot be overlooked: the shooting occurred during Pulse's Latin music night, and the vast majority of the victims were black and Latinx (the gender-neutral form of the adjective) people.

This aspect of the tragedy in Orlando unfortunately mirrors a larger issue: anti-LGBTQ violence has a disproportionate impact on black and brown people.

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On June 14, 1977 Chicago had its first big gay-rights protest

Posted By on 06.14.16 at 11:00 AM

A demonstrator is arrested in front of the Medinah Temple on June 14, 1977, while anti-gay crusader Anita Bryant gives at a concert inside. - JOHN H. WHITE/CHICAGO SUN-TIMES
  • John H. White/Chicago Sun-Times
  • A demonstrator is arrested in front of the Medinah Temple on June 14, 1977, while anti-gay crusader Anita Bryant gives at a concert inside.

June 14 marks a turning point in the history of Chicago's LGBTQ rights movement—one worth remembering in the wake of Sunday's mass shooting at a gay club in Orlando, the worst mass shooting in American history.

On this day in 1977, singer, orange-juice industry spokeswoman, and former Miss America Anita Bryant arrived in Chicago for a concert at the historic Medinah Temple (now a Bloomingdale's outlet at Wabash and Ohio). The concert had been booked months earlier, before Bryant achieved a new national notoriety as leader of an anti-LGBTQ initiative in Dade County, Florida, where citizens voted to overturn an antidiscrimination ordinance that had been passed by the county commission earlier that year. The law prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in employment, public service, and accommodations. The vote to repeal the law happened on June 7, 1977.

So a group of Chicago LGBTQ activists, including me, decided to organize a picket of the June 14 concert in Chicago. We were warned by gay establishment leaders that it would be an embarrassing failure. Back then, it seemed, the only time LGBTQ people turned out en masse was for the Pride Parade.

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Monday, June 13, 2016

After Orlando, is America capable of lifting a finger?

Posted By on 06.13.16 at 06:46 PM

Mourners gather in Orlando Monday. - JOE RAEDLE/GETTY IMAGES
  • Joe Raedle/Getty Images
  • Mourners gather in Orlando Monday.
I was driving into Chicago Monday morning, as WBEZ tried to bring as much light as heat to the slaughter in Orlando. A caller named Ben came on the air to speak to the host of Morning Shift, Tony Sarabia, and I recognized light.

"I just wonder when people are going to get tired of praying," said Ben. "You know these things happen, and we pray, and, you know, it doesn't work. If we pray and act, then we've acted, but if we pray and continue to do nothing, then all we've done is nothing. Praying does not help us solve problems. We can feel better but it doesn't result in any consequences."

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‘We'll always be here for you’: Top cop vows to protect Chicago’s LGBTQ community in wake of Orlando shooting

Posted By on 06.13.16 at 02:23 PM

Chicagoans held vigil Sunday for the victims of the Orlando shooting. - ASHLEE REZIN/SUN-TIMES
  • Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times
  • Chicagoans held vigil Sunday for the victims of the Orlando shooting.

Chicago's LGBTQ community reacted to news of the shooting that killed at least 50 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando early Sunday morning with an outpouring of support, solidarity, and grief. As the city woke Monday, plans for numerous vigils were already in place, following up on one that took place Sunday evening. 

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Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What the Obama administration’s transgender policy means for bathroom bills in Illinois

Posted By on 05.31.16 at 06:00 AM

A gender-neutral bathroom in Durham, North Carolina. - SARA D. DAVIS/GETTY IMAGES
  • Sara D. Davis/Getty Images
  • A gender-neutral bathroom in Durham, North Carolina.

When the Obama administration announced May 13 that it would be taking groundbreaking steps toward transgender equality, the decision may have signaled the end of a controversial bill in Illinois.

House Bill 4474, drafted by Republican state rep Thomas Morrison, would limit the bathroom access of transgender students on the basis of biologically defined gender. According to the legislation, gender would be "determined by an individual's chromosomes and identified at birth by that individual's anatomy."

The bill, introduced in the General Assembly in January, made Illinois one of nine states—including Missouri, South Carolina, and Kansas—considering legislation that would bring the national bathroom debate to their state.

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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Transgender artists control their own narrative at Glass Curtain's 'Bring Your Own Body'

Posted By on 12.31.15 at 07:00 AM

Anonymous photographer, Louise Lawrence With Cigarette - COURTESY OF THE KINSEY INSTITUTE
  • Courtesy of the Kinsey Institute
  • Anonymous photographer, Louise Lawrence With Cigarette

"Bring Your Own Body," a showcase of historical documents and contemporary art at Columbia College's Glass Curtain Gallery, aims to highlight self-identified transgender histories as opposed to narratives by those outside the transgender community. In this show, trans artists decide how their community is documented, and they do it through various mediums.

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

What happened to Dane Tidwell?

Posted By on 11.03.15 at 07:00 AM

click image The creator of the gay website Opus Chicago disappeared and reemerged—but his troubles persist. - (GAY CHICAGO TV)
  • (Gay Chicago TV)
  • The creator of the gay website Opus Chicago disappeared and reemerged—but his troubles persist.

Dane Tidwell vanished
 August 13, which was his 40th birthday and also the day he and his roommate were evicted from their apartment on Magnolia Street. Fearing for his life, friends notified the police. Tidwell was the creator and operator of the gay website Opus Chicago, and Gerald Farinas, who edited the site for him, told DNAinfo that Tidwell "faced an intensifying sense of hopelessness."

Eight days after he disappeared, Tidwell contacted people close to him and told them he was alive and safe. On October 2, on a personal website, he posted a brief meditation that he called "Fail Forward—It's only the end if you stop trying." The post began, "I am the king of failure." On October 18 he wrote again, this time much more specifically about his troubles. "Here’s the story everyone’s been waiting to hear" was the headline of his post.

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Remembering God Is My Co-Pilot: 'We're here / We're queer / We're gonna fuck your children!'

Posted By on 10.29.15 at 12:00 PM

The back cover of God Is My Co-Pilot's first release, the 1991 seven-inch Songs of Praise - PHOTO BY EVE PRIME
  • Photo by Eve Prime
  • The back cover of God Is My Co-Pilot's first release, the 1991 seven-inch Songs of Praise

If you've read my recent posts on Gravitar and Star Pimp, you already know I was a college-radio weenie in the early 90s. Back then I was only dimly aware of the queer activism happening in punk, hardcore, and other forms of underground and avant-garde rock. I mean, I knew that Pansy Division, Team Dresch, Tribe 8, and Fifth Column existed, but did I understand that they were part of a deep-rooted movement? I doubt it. I was a mostly straight kid, still getting educated about all sorts of shit, and the Internet wasn't around to help me connect the dots.

Today, of course, I work in music journalism. It's part of my job to be aware of stuff. But to my ears, the current conversation around queer punk is missing something: Almost nobody seems to remember God Is My Co-Pilot.

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

A Kim Davis civil disobedience comparison—but not the one you think

Posted By on 09.10.15 at 07:30 AM

Kim Davis rejoices. - TIMOTHY D. EASLEY/AP PHOTOS
  • Timothy D. Easley/AP Photos
  • Kim Davis rejoices.

The crusade for same-sex marriage was in part a heady debate over constitutional principles. In June the struggle reached its climax as the U.S. Supreme Court ruled laws forbidding same-sex marriage unconstitutional. Now only bitter-enders such as Kim Davis refuse to live with the results. In some eyes Davis is a hero, but she’s not to me or to anyone I know, or to anyone in that vast circle of distant acquaintances speaking their piece on Facebook. In this crowd she's a reviled hypocrite, a mischief-making county clerk in Kentucky who’s been married umpteen times, picks and chooses among Scriptures, has a nose for advancing her own celebrity, and is none too bright. 

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