Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 28+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2014-04-16
Download Issue
  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

Boy George on St. Patrick's Day, Easter Lady Bunny Boy George on St. Patrick's Day, Easter Lady Bunny
For over 30 years, out musician Boy George has entertained fans as ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Windy City Times

Erica Demarest, Windy City Times AIDS: History panel looks at healthcare and identity issues
by Erica Demarest, Windy City Times
2012-01-18

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

Judith Houck and John Goins. Photos by Erica Demarest


The American Historical Association ( AHA ) 's Committee on LGBT History continued its conference programming Jan. 7 with a panel discussion on the relationship between identity and LGBT-related healthcare.

Judith Houck ( University of Wisconsin-Madison ) kicked things off with a look back at Lyon-Martin's complicated history. Founded in San Francisco in 1979 "by lesbians, for lesbians," and named after Phyllis Lyon and Del Martin, feminists and well-known lesbian-rights activists, the famed healthcare clinic was originally designed to cater solely to needs of queer women. But as cultural dynamics shifted and the AIDS epidemic hit, Lyon-Martin's clientele changed dramatically.

"By donating their time and money to the clinic, lesbians believed they were taking care of their own," Houck said. "As AIDS hit, however, a new set of women desperately needed affordable and culturally sensitive healthcare. Many people associated with Lyon-Martin eagerly shifted their focus … . Others, however, resented and resisted the turn away from lesbian services."

Fairly rapidly, Lyon-Martin moved from serving predominantly white lesbians to splitting its attention with lower-income, straight women of color. Many traditional donors felt isolated, and fundraising suffered.

"They did not embrace HIV/AIDS treatment as their own cause," Houck said. "Women who had thought they'd built [ a space ] for their own community found 12 years a later a facility they no longer felt connected to or responsible for."

Ironically enough, that very shift helped Lyon-Martin expand its operations. HIV grants paid for the clinic's first full-time doctor, and today, HIV/AIDS and homelessness grants account for half the organization's budget.

The question of identity continues to be problematic for Lyon-Martin, which has faced possible closure several times. But for one reason or another, Houck said, the queer community continually mobilizes to keep the clinic, now known as Lyon-Martin Health Services, afloat.

While identity politics have been a source of strife for Lyon-Martin in San Francisco, they helped bring together Chicago's Howard Brown Health Center in the 1970s.

Catherine Batza from the University of Illinois at Chicago presented a paper titled "'I Want You for a Free VD Test': Making Sexual Health Part of Gay Identity in Chicago, 1974-81." Batza illustrated how identity served as a catalyst for positive sexual health practices among Chicago's LGBT community.

In 1973, then-medical student David Ostrow founded the Gay Medical Students Group as a response to the largely insensitive, overcrowded and incompetent care people were often subjected to in clinics. Ostrow realized many LGBT Chicagoans weren't visiting clinics, so he brought clinical care to the community.

With the help of social services organization Gay Horizons, the fledgling group provided HIV testing and other medical services in a local coffee shop. Ostrow and his team also partnered with local bars and bathhouses to disseminate information and provide testing.

"Howard Brown Memorial Clinic's interest in outreach contributed to the bars and baths of Chicago becoming visible, if somewhat improbable, venues for gay sexual health in the 1970s," Batza said.

Howard Brown soon started a 'VD van' that traveled to LGBT hot spots and offered free testing. But on its first run, only four people agreed to be tested.

"The lackluster turnout reflected the distrust that the gay community had for mainstream medicine based on decades of persecution and mistreatment," Batza said.

Realizing that looking like mainstream medical providers would continue to be a detriment, Howard Brown hired popular local drag queen Wanda Lust as a spokesperson. Armed with campy humor and an Uncle Sam-inspired "I Want You … for a Free VD Test" poster, Wanda Lust enticed record numbers of people to the van.

"She really symbolizes gay liberation," Batza said. "There is no shame here: I am out here doing what I'm doing, having a great time … . It's a fun thing. We're all going to acknowledge that this is a problem within our community."

As participation increased, VD rates in the city dropped, illustrating how effective a tool identity can be in addressing medical issues.

John Goins from the University of Houston also presented his paper "Politiking the Gay Cancer: Electoral Intransigence and the AIDS Response in Houston." Goins detailed gay activism in Houston during Louie Welch's reign as mayor. Welch famously suggested that one way to curb the AIDS epidemic would be to "shoot the queers."

Leisa Meyer from the College of William and Mary emceed the panel and presented commentary. Houck's paper was titled "Treating Men at a Lesbian Clinic: Identity Politics, Feminist Organizing, and Health Care Provision, 1979 to the Present."

The 126th meeting of the American Historical Conference convened Jan. 5-8 in the Chicago Marriott Downtown, 540 N. Michigan Ave.

This story is part of the Local Reporting Initiative, supported in part by The Chicago Community Trust.


facebook twitter pin it 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.

Lambda sues for denial of care to Illinois trans woman 2014-04-16
UIC delves into trans* healthcare policy with film 2014-04-15
LGBT health group holds bourbon tasting 2014-04-15
Fourth Circuit looks at rights of intersex child 2014-04-11
Conversion therapy bill falls in state House 2014-04-11
Community forum to include first person cured of HIV 2014-04-10
Women's health center moves to Uptown 2014-04-09
Area officials monitoring L.A. meningitis scare 2014-04-05
Community forum to checks up UIC trans* health policies 2014-04-03
HHS: Some same-sex couples now equal status for Medicare 2014-04-03
Photographic fundraiser to support Ride For AIDS Chicago 2014-04-02
'Extreme Weight Loss' looking for couples 2014-04-02
Quigley speaks on blood ban 2014-04-02
As Munar leaves, John Peller discusses taking over AFC 2014-04-02
The AIDS Generation: Stories of Survival and Resilience 2014-04-01
Center on Halsted marks LGBT Health Week with forum 2014-04-01
VIEWS How media criminalizes HIV and how to change it 2014-04-01
Factor 75 features healthful meal delivery 2014-04-01
Report highlights less documented LGB health risks 2014-03-30
Sebelius on LGBT Health Awareness Week 2014-03-26
Conversion therapy ban advances to House floor 2014-03-26
HIV-medication guide for med plans available 2014-03-26
Tissue is the issue 2014-03-26
Outgoing ALCC director reflects on life in public service 2014-03-26
Budget bite: Dental care, Medicaid and HIV 2014-03-26
President Obama names director, Office of Nat'l AIDS Policy 2014-03-24
AFC offers guide to HIV meds in Marketplace Plans 2014-03-20
Radio service for the disabled includes LGBT news 2014-03-19
AIDS Legal Council names new executive director 2014-03-18
Trans*Health @ UIC, A Community Forum April 9 2014-03-18
Registration opens for Iowa HIV is Not a Crime June 2-5 2014-03-17
TPAN has new interim CEO 2014-03-17
Strub reflects on past and present AIDS activism 2014-03-13
DIFFA holds winter ball at Center on Halsted 2014-03-12
Get Covered Illinois brings tour to Humboldt Park 2014-03-12
Sean Strub to make two Chicago appearances 2014-03-12
Arizona lawmaker comes out; mag gets HIV/AIDS patient lists 2014-03-12
Eating disorders more likely to affect LGBTs 2014-03-12
NMAC, women of color fight to end HIV/AIDS epidemic 2014-03-10
Iowa court hears Lambda Legal case on HIV-based conviction 2014-03-10





Copyright © 2014 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
the 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.

 

 

 



 

Gay-owned B&B offers warmth in Rogers Park
 
'This Is What It Feels Like' to be Armin van Buuren
 
BENT NIGHTS Sharon Corr; Dum Dum Girls; Landmarks
 
New Evanston independent bookstore to open in June
 
Prop 8 opponents set wedding date; trans teacher's return
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now








  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime



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      News Videos      Nightspots Videos      Entertainment Videos      Queercast Videos      Comedy Videos     
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.