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 2019-07-10
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Author launches 'Semi Queer' book with reading
by Vern Hester

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

On Sept. 28, author Anne Balay presented a reading and discussion of her new book Semi Queer at Women and Children First, 5233 N. Clark St., as part of its nationwide launch. The reading also featured a round table discussion with several LGBTQI individuals who shared their stories of working in the trucking industry in the book. Semi Queer follows Balay's 2014 book Steel Closets, which focused on queer steel mill workers in Indiana.

Semi Queer, which focuses on first-person narratives and experiences of LGBTQI and African American Truckers, coincidentally came about as the industry saw an enormous increase in queer and African American drivers. Balay originally started writing the book with the intention of shattering stereotypes about both truckers and other working-class people as being politically conservative, anti-gay and anti-feminist ,and the assumption that the majority of queer people are economically prosperous. As she conducted the interviews and met more queer truckers, she found an entirely different perspective from what she expected.

Balay said that the industry has suddenly mushroomed in part because of financial incentives from trucking companies in recent years, and that the presence of queer and African American truckers has increased as well. In an earlier interview with Windy City Times," she said, "Any trucker space you go to, there's lesbians, there's gay men, there's trans people … they're everywhere and they're happy to talk about it. That's one of the reasons I wanted to write about it; it came as such a shock to me after my steel mill experience."

In Steel Closets, participants kept their identities hidden to avoid harassment and violence in the work place.

"The people who talked to me as I was writing [Semi Queer] were women, gay men and trans individuals. ( Straight ) Men wouldn't talk to me … They couldn't understand what I wanted."

On the subject of financial rewards, queer trucker Shelle Licht spoke about how she had to take her twins, who were two at the time, on her routes because as a single mother that was the only option. She added, "The check we got for welfare was five dollars short of the rent … So where was I supposed to get money for diapers or food? I knew where, I had to find a way to make it work."

When a "good neighbor" reported her situation to child-welfare authorities, an agent investigated and was dumbstruck when Lichti asked during her investigation, "If I were a man would we be having this conversation?"

A major focus of the discussion and the book was how things have improved for LGBTQI individuals in regard to visibility, acceptance and insurance. Balay said, "The culture in the trucking industry can be very dangerous, but the older truckers are retiring and younger people are coming in, and there's a lot of change going on."

Answering a question from the audience about social media trans trucker Keaira Finlay, Balay further noted, "It's a double-edged sword, but it helps an awful lot. With social media you're never alone … There's a lot of crap online, but there's also an awful lot of support out there as well."

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

Feminist theologian Dr. Mary E. Hunt kicks off DignityUSA conference 2019-07-11 - Feminist theologian Dr. Mary E. Hunt kicked off DignityUSA's three day conference, "True to the Spirit, True to Ourselves," with a keynote address ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Court briefs, flag burned, Amazon books removed 2019-07-10 - The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ), Lambda Legal, Out & Equal, Out Leadership and Freedom for All Americans announced that 206 major ...

Gay News

Historians discuss 'Tell Me About It' 2019-07-08 - On June 27, LGBTQ historians Owen Keehnen and St. Sukie de la Croix discussed their literary collaboration, Tell Me About It: LGBTQ Secrets, ...

Gay News

Activist/author Urvashi Vaid keynotes DignityUSA event 2019-07-07 - Attorney, author and advocate Urvashi Vaid gave a keynote address at DignityUSA's three day conference, "True to the Spirit, True to Ourselves," July ...

Gay News

Lesbian tennis player: More athletes should 'come forward' 2019-07-07 - Professional tennis player Alison Van Uytvanck told The Guardian that more of her fellow athletes should come out of the closet, according to ...

Gay News

ACS to honor Judge Pat Logue on July 23 2019-07-03 - The Chicago lawyer chapter of the progressive organization known as the American Constitutional Society (ACS) will honor several individuals at its 2019 Legal ...

Gay News

Back Lot Bash returns to A'ville, has family-friendly event 2019-07-02 - The woman-focused Back Lot Bash returned to the Cheetah Gym parking lot for two days of entertainment on June 29-30. On June ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Orange Is the New Black,' Jake Shears, Bob the Drag Queen, Mika 2019-07-02 - The seventh and final season of Orange Is the New Black will debut on Netflix on July 26—and it's being celebrated in a ...

Gay News

Poets for Reproductive Justice among July events at Women & Children First 2019-07-01 - Among summer events coming up at Women and Children First Books are the annual Used Book Sale, a Where's Waldo Scavenger Hunt and ...

Gay News

PRIDE WEEKEND 2019 Chicago Dyke March spreads Pride through Little Village 2019-06-30 - Pride filled the streets of Little Village as Chicago Dyke March Collective led its 23rd annual Dyke March on June 29. According ...


Copyright © 2019 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.