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 2018-03-21
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



BOOK REVIEW On Christopher Street: Transgender Stories
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Terri Schlichenmeyer

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Everybody, as they say, has a story to tell.

An ancestor was captured in an early war. Parents overcame adversity in a new country. A health scare, a welcome blessing, a lucky streak, a chance meeting, we all have our tales to share. And in On Christopher Street: Transgender Stories, with photographs by Mark Seliger, you'll read a few.

Where would you go if you just wanted to be yourself?

If you are transgender and living in or near Manhattan, you'd go to Christopher Street in the West Village. There, you could find support, advice, community, or family, if you needed it. Recently, you might have also run into photographer Seliger, who says in a brief statement that he noticed the "freedom of expression and gender identity" that was once abundant is "vanishing" from the area. High-end condos, cafes, and restaurants are moving in and the trans community is being pushed aside; here, Seliger put a marker on it before it's gone.

"I realize that everybody has a trans story, that being trans is something that affects all of us," he says, using his camera as storyteller.

Being in prison as a trans woman, says one photo subject, is like being "caged." You don't belong with the men. They won't put you in the women's lock-down. Everybody knows what's going on and sometimes, the guards have one more slap-down in store for you just before you're released.

Many stories begin with "I was four" or 5 or 8 when the teller realized that they were in the "wrong body." Families were supportive ( or not ), transitioning "is not easy," and the decision for or against surgery is deeply personal but ultimately, it's the "inner peace" that matters. Still, lying about being trans can backfire and even if nobody knows, there's a "constant state of paranoia and fear" that may yet linger.

And then there's the place itself: Christopher Street has "a dark side," with drugs, prostitution, and harassment. That means that for LGBTQ youth, which comprise 40 percent of the nation's street kids, it isn't always safe…

And so there I was, quietly reading On Christopher Street: Transgender Stories, when it suddenly … ended! The surprise was not that it did so, but that I was so wrapped up in the inside this book that I didn't notice the last pages looming.

Yes, it's that kind of thing, filled with photographical portraits that are worth the clichéd thousand words, and then some. Photographer Seliger's subjects seem mostly well-at-ease in snapshots that feel random but natural; some people are identified, some are not, and not all of them weigh in, verbally. Those that do, tell tales that hit hard, in part because they leave readers with the sense that there's more, but that it's too difficult to speak.

This large-size, elegantly presented coffee-table book is one you'll return to again and again because what's inside is so compelling. If it is, indeed, true what they say about everyone having a story, On Christopher Street is filled with good ones.

Want more? Then look for Physiognomy: The Mark Seliger Photographs, or Listen: Photographs, by Mark Seliger.

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

BOOKS With 'The List,' Amy Siskind documents democracy's downfall 2018-03-20 - Like so many others, Amy Siskind was shocked by 2016's presidential outcome, and felt that President Trump's election thrust U.S. democracy into great ...

Gay News

FAIRY GARDENER Free Library boxes, spring growth, recipes 2018-03-14 - Good God, Gertie! What is that three-and-a-half-foot-tall package on my front porch? It is wrapped in soggy cardboard and covered in plastic wrapping ...

Gay News

MOMBIAN LGBTQ-inclusive kids' books: Resources, actions 2018-03-14 - One of the most common questions I see from new LGBTQ parents is "Where can I find LGBTQ-inclusive books for my kids?" Here's ...

Gay News

BOOKS 'Sisters in the Life' spotlights Black lesbian filmmakers 2018-03-13 - Anyone who has seen Cheryl Dunye's The Watermelon Woman might remember it as a charming, unusual film, a faux documentary set in Philadelphia ...

Gay News

An Evening with David Sedaris in Evanston April 23 2018-03-09 - An Evening with David Sedaris is coming to Evanston's Nichols Concert Hall, 1490 Chicago Ave., Evanston, on Monday, April 23 at 7:30 pm. ...

Gay News

BOOKS Gore's new tale a bewitching spin on fiction 2018-03-07 - Those who are unfamiliar with the writer Ariel Gore might think it defies all logic that she launched a stellar career from a ...

Gay News

30th Annual Lambda Literary Award Finalists Announced 2018-03-05 - Los Angeles, CA ( March 6, 2018 ) - Lambda Literary, the nation's oldest and largest literary arts organization advancing LGBTQ literature, announced ...

Gay News

BOOKS Talking with Joseph Cassara, author The House of Impossible Beauties 2018-03-03 - The House of Impossible Beauties is the fictionalized telling of the formation of the House of Xtravaganza, the Latinx house captured in the ...

Gay News

BOOK REVIEW Death Goes Overboard 2018-02-28 - By David S. Pederson $18.95; Bold Strokes Books; 237 pages Can you float me a loan? It's a common question when ...

Gay News

BOOKS Jane Mersky Leder gets 'Dead Serious' about ending teen suicide 2018-02-23 - When Jane Mersky Leder first published Dead Serious: Breaking the Cycle of Teen Suicide in the late '80s, the "cultural and social landscape ...


Copyright © 2018 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 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.