Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2020-01-22
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



AIDS: Jose Love, youth activist tries to make a difference
by John J. Accrocco

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

In a country where an alarming amount of young people take their lives in response to bullying over sexual orientation, organizations like Chicago-based Youth Pride Services are vital.

For nearly a decade, this national program has provided leadership and hope to a generation of Black, queer, youth. "Youth at hope, not at risk," is the YPS slogan on their Facebook page. This member-driven initiative has helped shine light on issues of sexual orientation and HIV awareness within young, ethnic MSM ( men who have sex with men ) communities via outreach events, lectures and resources.

"They have been a heart to the youth in Chicago," said Michigan chapter leader Jose Love, 20. "From helping mold the mindset of the youth so that they can be good citizens and so much more. I am forever thankful that they put faith in me to be the bridge for Michigan, to do the same with my team here."

This year, YPS/Code Red are sending Jose Love to the Black Treatment of Advocates Network ( BTAN ) National Steering Committee. BTAN is being backed by the Black AIDS Institute and Jose Love will be part of a very public platform that will help initiate teams and services for getting all Black Americans living with HIV into treatment.

Love, along with another YPS member, were selected by their peers by election as a representative for YPS to the BTAN National Steering Committee.

Empowerment at large is what this service is all about. The national YPS collective, Code Red, is comprised of the top LGBT youth leaders in the country. Code Red members also act as the national faces and public voice of YPS and meet via teleconference to discuss issues facing their demographic.

"I am most grateful in being selected! I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would be on such a platform so soon in my life. God has something for me to do here and this is just the beginning," said Love.

Jose Love nee James Fergerson was born and raised in Detroit. He was born with strong connections to the church—he's the son of a pastor. "I'm a very optimistic person. … The church has been a big part of my life. I think it's helped form the foundation of my activism. I don't care if you're gay, straight, bi, Christian or Jewish, we all have the divine right to be treated equal," Love said.

Life as an openly gay man has not been particularly easy for Love. He attended a Detroit public high school that he recalls as being "full of machismo. In a predominantly Black high school it was so hard to be the first openly gay guy. It took me two difficult years to change most of their minds about homosexuality. And I try not to define myself as just gay. I'm human and I don't want me or anyone else to be treated like a leper for making our life decisions."

On coming out of the closet to his family, Love was met with more adversity: "Sweet Jesus it was hell. My mom took it so hard: we fought, cursed at each other and I was put out. My name was blackened in the family. However, my father's side handled it with grace. All he said was that it was between me and god. Were they happy? No, but in the end they wouldn't judge me for who I am. My mother's mindset has since changed because of how I carry myself and who I have become."

After graduating high school in 2010, Love got involved with Code Red when a friend told him about YPS. "The mission statement was something that I believed strongly in, so I got active." In his short time with YPS, Love became a part of the more administrative Code Red where he is a youth mentor and an open ear for the problems facing the YPS members he guides. "I tell my folks to show their true colors. When I show my true colors, I attract so many more people," he said.

"I believe I have always been an activist and not just for the LGBT community, but the world and what is right," Love said. "It pains me to see the things going on, and not just in the gay community. My problem with my specific community is how far apart we have become. As I look at documentaries about the struggles that so many have undergone so that we can be where we are today, it saddens me. People have lost their lives and in return we act uneducated. That's not who we are and that's why the world has such a negative viewpoint of us, because of the ignorance some people are displaying."

Now that Love is part of an even bigger committee, his guidance will be more important than ever as BTAN's National Steering Committee has much to accomplish. "I'm hoping through being on this platform that I can touch nations and be a voice for the people that don't know and don't have the resources to know."

In addition to Love's commitments with YPS and BTAN, he is studying psychology and counseling at Schoolcraft College in Michigan. "My life is headed in a very positive direction. As well as being a student, I just became a Balie Dai model. I'm on the right track I believe. My career goals are simple."

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

facebook twitter pin it 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.


Gay News

Study says 6% of sexual minority adults in the US identify as queer 2020-01-22 - The first study to examine queer identity in a U.S. nationally representative sample An estimated 6% of sexual minority adults in the U.S. ...

Gay News

Planned Parenthood, We Testify release "Ours to Tell" short film 2020-01-21 - New York, NY — Planned Parenthood Federation of America ( PPFA ) and We Testify, an organization dedicated to the leadership and representation ...

Gay News

Rush kicks off ambitious LGBT-health initiative 2020-01-21 - Officials from Rush University Medical Center marked the launch of their new LGBT-focused health program, Affirm: The Rush Center for Gender, Sexuality and ...

Gay News

WORLD Swiss votes, HIV+ pilot, Indonesian raids, Dutch beauty expert 2020-01-21 - On Feb. 9, Switzerland residents will decide on extending the scope of anti-racism legislation to include discrimination based on sexual orientation, according to ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Presidential candidates, HIV news, Seattle LGBTQ bars, Tom of Finland 2020-01-21 - Presidential candidate Tom Steyer was baffled by his own comments he previously made on protecting the health of LGBTQ asylum seekers when asked ...

Gay News

Indiana same-sex parents can list both names on children's birth certificates 2020-01-19 - On Jan. 17—after more than two and a half years—the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that married same-sex couples in Indiana ...

Gay News

Children Born Abroad to Married U.S. Same-Sex Parents Are U.S. Citizens 2020-01-17 - ( New York, NY — January 17, 2020 ) Lambda Legal, Immigration Equality and pro bono counsel Morgan Lewis this week urged federal ...

Gay News

Access Living names new CEO 2020-01-16 - Access Living's board of directors announced that Karen Tamley has been named the next president/CEO of Access Living. Tamley takes the role March ...

Gay News

IDPH welcomes new HIV section chief 2020-01-14 - The Illinois Department of Public Health ( IDPH ) announced its new HIV section chief, Andrea Perez. Perez will play a crucial ...

Gay News

SAGE stands with affiliate in Puerto Rico 2020-01-14 - Aid to LGBT elders vital during this crucial time [New York, NY] SAGE Puerto Rico, a SAGE affiliate since 2018, is rushing to ...


Copyright © 2020 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 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 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.