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 2019-02-13
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Controversy brewing over pregnant boy ads
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

To a lot of transgender people, the ads first appear to be stunningly progressive images of transgender men, shirtless and pregnant, pasted on public transit. But in reality, some say, the ads are offensive.

In May, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) launched an edgy ad campaign featuring pregnant teen boys. "Unexpected?" the ads read. "Most teen pregnancies are."

The campaign aims to reduce teen pregnancy rates in Chicago, which remain higher than the national average despite a 33 percent drop over the last decade. The ads tell young men to wear condoms or wait to have intercourse.

The campaign follows a similar effort in Milwaukee, and they have attracted praise both locally and nationally.

But the Chicago ads, intended to shock and seemingly targeted at straight teenage boys, have sparked tension as some say the campaign stigmatizes transgender men.

Andrea Quijada, executive director of the Media Literacy Project (MLP), is among them.

Quijada argues that the campaign reinforces what it means to be "male," painting transgender men as abnormal.

"This idea of men being pregnant becomes a joke, and it creates an unsafe space for real trans people," said Quijada.

Quijada's organization turned the CDPH image on its head, releasing a play on that campaign that reads, "Trans men have babies too. All families, whether born of chosen, thrive on love, not shame."

Transgender men are able to give birth, a fact well-publicized in the U.S. by the 2007 pregnancy of Thomas Beatie, a transgender man.

Elizabeth Schroeder, executive director of Answer, a national organization that pushes for comprehensive sex education for youth, also has concerns about the CDPH ads. She laid out her thoughts in a post on RH Reality Check, a website with information and news on sexual and reproductive health issues.

But Schroeder also points out that there are redeeming factors in the campaign, most notably that it puts young men at the center of the discussion, something rarely done when it comes to sexual health and young people.

"How often do we hear boys and men mentioned, let alone visually represented, in materials relating to sexual and reproductive health?" Schroeder writes. "It has been great to see an increase in so-called male involvement programs and organizations working with boys and young men, so we are certainly making some progress here. But the vast majority of sexuality education curricula available to the general public, media stories about sexuality, and other interventions continue to focus first and foremost on girls and women."

According to CDPH spokesperson Brian Richardson, officials did consider trans people when deciding to launch the campaign. Richardson said that the department consulted with both LGBT and transgender advocates.

CDPH chose not to run with the tagline used in the Milwaukee ads, "It shouldn't be any less disturbing when it's a girl," which generated harsher criticism.

"Part of the ad concept was to be jarring and to challenge gender norms and behaviors and for people to understanding that teen births are not an issue that only female-identified teen moms are dealing with but an issue that we are all dealing with," said Richardson.

And if the ads have sparked debate, Richardson said, they have done what they were intended to.

"That's a good thing when you have local news discussing trans men's health issues," he said.

Indeed, the ads have cropped up in both local and national media. In recent days, the ads have been featured on Feministing and Colorlines, although both feature the MLP adbust.

Hale Thompson, a Ph.D. public health candidate at the University of Illinois at Chicago, argues that not all chatter around the ads is inevitably positive.

"I think we have set the bar very low if these effects constitute success," Thompson said.

"Creating a controversy based on stigma and shame generates conversation because adults—and perhaps youth too— are trying to figure out how to counter the negative impact this kind of campaign has. Other reports have said the images mainly incite laughter among cisgender teenage boys, and I imagine they reinforce silence among gender non-conforming youth."

Thompson also argues that the campaign puts the blame on youth, without interrupting the societal factors that contribute to teen birth rates—like access to resources, information and services. His thoughts are laid in a post on the Original Plumbing website, trans male magazine.

But Richardson contends that the ad campaign is but one part of "Healthy Chicago," the mayor's plan to improve wellness in the city. That, he said, does lay out plans to address the larger issues facing youth of all ages.

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

WORLD Trans Thai PM candidate, anti-LGBT attacks, intersex ruling 2019-02-20 - Pauline Ngarmpring—who has been a CEO and sports promoter—is pursuing a bid to become Thailand's first transgender prime minister, Bendigo Advertiser reported. She ...

Gay News

Gallery opening celebrates trans art 2019-02-17 - On Feb. 14—in commemoration of Valentine's Day—The Chicago Therapy Collective presented the final exhibition of its series "Trans Art Is." The show, ...

Gay News

10 questions with Vic: Ashlee Marie Preston 2019-02-13 - Ashlee Marie Preston is an award-winning Media Personality, Producer and Civil Rights Activist. She is historically the first trans woman to become Editor ...

Gay News

Trans art show launches Feb. 14 2019-02-13 - Chicago Therapy Collective is presenting the exhibit "Trans Art Is: Love & Liberation." An opening ceremony will take place at Andersonville Gallery, 5247 ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Trans military ban, Black icons, Edie Windsor, trans art exhibit 2019-02-13 - A high-ranking officer in the California National Guard said that the group will not comply with Donald Trump's transgender military ban, LGBTQ Nation ...

Gay News

Congressional resolution for open trans military service put forward, groups comment 2019-02-11 - WASHINGTON — Today, Congressman Joe Kennedy III ( D-MA,4 ) led efforts for a resolution opposing President Trump's ban on openly transgender service ...

Gay News

Business workshop held on being an ally of trans, GNC people 2019-02-11 - Andersonville Chamber of Commerce ( ACC ), Praxis Group and Upswing Advocates hosted "Being a Stronger Ally: Trans and GNC Affirming Business Workshop," ...

Gay News

Film on Chicago trans woman running Feb. 19 2019-02-10 - The ACLU of Illinois, Pride Action Tank and the Transformative Justice Law Project are hosting a special screening of Chicago Love, from the ...

Gay News

Trans military item to be heard Feb. 19 2019-02-09 - A public hearing involving a resolution about President Trump's anti-transgender military ban is slated to go before the Cook County Commissioners on Tuesday, ...

Gay News

Bipartisan Legislation Introduced to Support Trans Military Service, Groups Respond 2019-02-07 - ( Washington, D.C., Feb. 7, 2019 ) — Earlier today, in a joint and bipartisan effort, the Senate and the House of Representatives ...


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.