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 2018-02-21
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Center on Halsted, museum host 'Boystown' event
by Molly Sprayregen
2017-05-24

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


On May 18, the Chicago History Museum held an event at the Center on Halsted ( "The Center" ) that both explored the development of Boystown and debated the positive and negative ramifications of the changes the neighborhood has undergone throughout the gay rights movement.

This particular event, the first ever held outside the museum, featured speaker Jason Orne, author of Boystown: Sex and Community in Chicago and an assistant sociology professor at Drexel University. Orne's presentation, titled "The Consequences of Heritage Commodification in Boystown," explored the social and economic tensions that have arisen in Boystown as a result of an increasing ability for LGBTQ people to live, work and play outside of what he calls "gayborhoods."

Orne explained why Boystown has endured as a gay village despite the fact that it has undergone gentrification and a large majority of gay young people have moved away from the neighborhood. One major reason, he said, was the City of Chicago's formal declaration of the area as an LGBTQ space. The Center's size and role in the LGBTQ community has also helped Boystown last. The Center's CEO, Modesto "Tico" Valle, who spoke at the event, said The Center has served 3.5 million people since opening its doors 10 years ago.

Orne explained, however, that LGBTQ young people's decisions to live elsewhere has required Boystown businesses to partake in what he calls "heritage commodification," making Boystown a destination for LGBTQ and straight people alike who are interested in experiencing a taste of gay culture. Boystown is no longer necessarily a place people desire for daily life and identity, but rather a fun place to explore for a day or night out.

Orne did acknowledge one blatantly negative consequence of gentrification in Boystown: the feeling by many new inhabitants that queer youth of color are out of place and not welcome. Although few have lived in Boystown, queer youth of color have always traveled to the neighborhood to spend time in a safe, accepting environment—yet now it is they who are seen as outsiders.

In a conversation preceding this event, Valle explained that the way homeless queer youth in the neighborhood have recently been treated was an issue he hoped would be prioritized during the talk. He said he is appalled when he hears people saying that these youth do not belong in Boystown when they have been coming to the neighborhood for 30 years to, as Valle said, "celebrate who they are." This is their neighborhood, Valle emphasized.

Following Orne's presentation was a panel discussion, moderated by queer femme activist, photographer and historian Andie Meadows. The panel was made up of a diverse range of voices: Art Johnston, co-owner of Boystown nightspot Sidetrack; Pat Cummings, a lesbian photographer who currently lives in the Town Hall apartments and also lived in Boystown as a young woman; Lucy Stoole, a drag performer who calls herself "Chicago's Black, Bearded Beauty;" and Orne.

The panel discussed issues such as their feelings about the word "queer," the changes they have seen in the neighborhood over the past few decades and the various forms of activism in which one can partake. Another important discussion throughout the evening centered on whether Boystown is truly an inclusive space or if it is mostly a haven for gay white males.

One large issue the panel debated was the effects of the exchange the LGBTQ community has had to make: becoming more mainstream in order to gain legal rights. They also discussed the current necessity of LGBTQ neighborhoods—a point with which Johnston strongly said was needed. The reason LGBTQ people are gaining important rights like healthcare, he said, are because the community is perceived as a powerful minority, and a neighborhood to call our own is vital to maintaining that power.


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.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

IN THE LIFE Lea Selley 2018-02-21 - Artist Lea Selley's infectiousness about Chicago and the surrounding suburbs is evident right off the bat. Selley said driving from Vancouver ( where ...


Gay News

Point notes community college program to hold event 2018-02-20 - Point Foundation ( Point ) encourages LGBTQ community-college students who are planning to transfer to a four-year degree program to apply for its ...


Gay News

ELECTIONS Candidate Profile: Sol Flores 2018-02-18 - Sol Flores, the longtime head of La Casa Norte, which assists young people experiencing homeless in Chicago, says that her "fierce tenaciousness" is ...


Gay News

Clarence Darrow Symposium to mark 80 years since Darrow's death March 13 2018-02-17 - Tuesday, March 13, the Clarence Darrow Commemorative Committee marks two contributions by famed "attorney for the damned" Clarence Darrow: marking the 80th anniversary ...


Gay News

Point Foundation helps LGBTQ community college students, applications open soon 2018-02-16 - Students accepted into the program receive a financial award, transfer coaching, and academic planning guidance at the Point Community College Transfer Symposium in ...


Gay News

Bill introduced for school curriculum including LGBTQ history 2018-02-16 - SPRINGFIELD—Students in Illinois would learn about the significant historical events and contributions by LGBTQ people under the Inclusive Curriculum Bill introduced in the ...


Gay News

Holocaust museum official on making a difference 2018-02-14 - For Matthew Sackel, who manages the education team at the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center in Skokie, the most important aspect of ...


Gay News

Soulforce board member talks spiritual evolution 2018-02-13 - Casimiro Pena applies his passion for activism and community organizing to his role as a Soulforce board member. Soulforce is an organization ...


Gay News

STAYCATION REVIEW Millennium Knickerbocker, History, and a bit more 2018-02-13 - The Millennium Knickerbocker hotel ( 163 E. Walton Pl.; https://www.millenniumhotels.com/en/chicago/millennium-knickerbocker-hotel-chicago/ ) has been open since 1927, and has entertained everyone from Al Capone ...


Gay News

History Lezon fest, nine short plays for Women's History Month 2018-02-12 - Chicago - March has officially been Women's History Month in the U.S. since 1987. In 2018, Pride Films and Plays will celebrate its ...


 



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.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

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.