Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-05-20
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

VIEWS Boystown Is Burning: Prejudice takes root in the community
by Keith Ecker
2011-07-06

facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


Watch out Boystown! The Blacks are coming to get you! At least that's the message that some in the community seem to be broadcasting.

In response to violent criminal incidents in the gayborhood, Facebook users launched a page on June 28 called "Take Back Boystown." In one day, the group garnered more than 700 members. While some are thinking progressively by lobbying for increased citizen-led patrols and communication with police, others seem to be capitalizing on this issue to voice their racial prejudices.

For example, one fan of the page writes, "It's all of us innocent people that are being attacked by the blacks." Another echoes the words of many by placing blame on the Black GLBT youths that seek services at the Center on Halsted, posting that "We have a center full of 'kids' who don't live in the neighborhood just wandering around the streets because they lack the funds and/or age required to get into bars. So, what happens then? Well, I think we've all seen what happens..."

This ignorance reflects a growing schism that has taken root in Chicago's gay community. On one side are the mainstream gays. We are those who are portrayed in the mass and GLBT media and serve as the target audience for Lady Gaga and Glee. Politicians court us, and businesses cater to us. On the other side are the disenfranchised gay Black youths. These young adults have no public platform. Many come from extraordinarily intolerant communities. Some are homeless. Few have much money to their names. For the mainstreams, it gets better. For the others, not so much.

Have us gays really come so far as to have the "privilege" to look down on others with condescension? Have we achieved such "lofty" status as to completely trivialize the plights of others? I guess now that Ellen is the queen of daytime talk and Broadway isn't just for gays, we have the right to lump all Black people together as misfits and criminals.

Look, I get it. Boystown residents and bar patrons are scared. They feel as if the recent slew of violent attacks has jeopardized their safety, a belief that is not without reason. And it would be disingenuous of me to not disclose that I have been subjected to verbal harassment from some of the Black GLBT youths along Halsted. But there is a giant leap between verbal harassment and physical assault.

Bigotry merely represents a lack of understanding. And ignorance is fueled by fear. We of all people should know the harm that bigotry and ignorance can render. To think that Black GLBT youths are somehow separate from our community reflects this narrow-mindedness. The more we take an us-versus-them stance, the more we show ourselves to be hypocrites. These young adults have nowhere else to go, and here we trumpet Boystown as the urban oasis for Chicago's GLBT community, a safe space that welcomes all ... or should that be "all" with an asterisk?

So let's admit we have an information gap and correct the problem. I propose we organize a public forum where members of the young Black GLBT community and the mainstream Boystown community can come together and have an honest Q&A. The goal should be discussion, not arguing. From here, we can begin to build a bridge between these two seemingly disparate worlds. Perhaps from these talks we may jointly develop programs to empower GLBT youths, facilitate a mutual cultural understanding and create safe spaces where all, regardless of age and race, can safely convene at night.

Make no mistake. Crime is a problem in Boystown—and we should definitely aim to take back Boystown from those who threaten the safety of any resident or visitor.

However, to think that Boystown is the property of a largely white middle-class segment of the gay population is ridiculous. Boystown is ours, and when I say ours I mean it belongs to each and every oppressed and disenfranchised GLBT individual. The more we rail against our community's Black GLBT youth, the more we hinder the opportunity to begin a dialogue. Chicago has enough of a racial divide. Let's set an example for the entire city. The decision is ours: Do Boystown's rainbow pillars represent open doors or fortified walls?

Keith Ecker is a Chicago-based essayist, journalist, comedian and activist. Read his blog at www.keithecker.com .


facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg 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

Amendment to hate crimes law clears General Assembly 2015-05-24
Homeless youth and reproductive justice 2015-05-20
Relationships & the Law Today: Possible Supreme Court marriage outcomes 2015-05-13
ASK LAMBDA LEGAL Stop prison rape 2015-05-13
MARK MY WORDS Most important LGBT history column you'll ever read 2015-05-13
VIEWS Getting married 2015-05-13
Open To Thinking: Rand Paul, Libertarian!? 2015-05-06
VIEWS Victory is at hand 2015-05-06
VIEWS: Peeing in Peace 2015-04-29
LETTERS Issues and answers 2015-04-22
VIEWS Conversion therapy's deadly outcomes 2015-04-22
VIEWS Writing For Justice: The dangerous myth of individualism 2015-04-15
VIEWS: MOMBIAN New edition enlivens 'Two Mommies' for families today 2015-04-15
Transforming Gender: The Edge of the Knife 2015-04-08
Larry Kramer: Thirty-four years and counting 2015-04-08
VIEWS In God we crust 2015-04-08
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Double standards 2015-04-07
Open To Thinking: On Religion 2015-04-01
VIEWS Paying tribute to Andrew Patner 2015-04-01
State's attorney's office launches hate-crimes council 2015-03-31
PASSAGES Former Chicagoan Stan Dale Boyer dies 2015-03-29
Reproductive Justice at the Intersections: Abortion access is an LGBT issue 2015-03-25
VIEWS The love that dare not speak its name 2015-03-25
Letters: Going for Garcia 2015-03-25
VIEWS Discrimination is not religious freedom 2015-03-18
LETTERS: A matter of money 2015-03-18
VIEWS Stunned in Selma 2015-03-14
State's Attorney Alvarez steps up efforts on hate crimes 2015-03-12
Writing For Justice: Does voting actually matter? 2015-03-11
VIEWS Boston's forgotten role in the women's movement 2015-03-11
Open To Thinking: Remembering Selma 2015-03-04
VIEWS The second coming of the man who would be queen 2015-03-04
VIEWS Gay or not, polo harms horses 2015-03-04
VIEWS: MOMBIAN Equity in the doctor's office 2015-03-04
Transcending the Blacklist: Coalitions consist of distinct communities 2015-02-25
VIEWS A road map beyond Black History Month 2015-02-25
MARK MY WORDS Loss of a pioneer 2015-02-25
LETTERS Not cool for school 2015-02-18
Upcoming events: Internat'l Women's Dance; gays on 'Hate in America'; Knuckles film 2015-02-18
VIEWS LGBT parenting is a reproductive justice issue 2015-02-18
 



Copyright © 2015 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
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.