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 2016-08-24
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


Former Marine, leading gay college activist
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Bradley Setter was at the end of his rope. He had endured all he could while in the U.S. Marine Corps while trying to silence rumors that he was gay in 2010 during the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" era. He even faced death threats.

"I was so depressed that I was tying a noose to no longer feel the pain of my internal battles," Setter admitted. "I remember, I did a Google search to find the correct way to tie that noose."

But as fate had it, while researching a chosen suicide option, Setter spotted an ad that truly changed his life. It said: Never let go of the things you love so much for they will keep you alive.

"My thoughts came to my family and everything they have ever made me to be," Setter said. "One thing they never taught was quitting and letting go. As I laid there, crying, I made a promise to myself to be a positive inspiration for those in need."

A few months later, Setter was honorably discharged—and within a month, he came out to his mom, and then his entire family.

Setter told his mom that he is gay—or more specifically, gender non-conforming/queer, which is his chosen orientation—in an empty apartment in Avondale, Ariz., in 2011.

Within weeks, he came out to the world, and "I might as well went to the [tallest] building in Phoenix and screamed it [from] the roof."

Setter, 24, who now lives in suburban Westmont, is a strong, outspoken LGBT activist, crossing into many areas and leading many attacks, so to speak. He is the president of external relations for the Pride Alliance at College of DuPage, the school's gay-straight alliance ( GSA ). And this year alone, Setter and the Pride Alliance have been involved with numerous LGBT agendas, including Illinois Unites for Marriage phone banks; the March on Springfield; and the You've Got a Friend Movement, an anti-bullying panel.

"The Marine Corps was the best and worst of times," Setter said. "It created the motivation of helping people through love and how violence creates nothing but more violence. During my years of service, I traveled to Guam, Thailand, Africa, Malaysia, and Afghanistan. During my time in service, DADT was in effect so I could not come out and be queer. But [still], I told a person I confided in—and it spread, [thus, I] hid farther in the closet. I had to hide so far because I didn't want to be kicked out for being queer.

"The last six months were harder than anything I endured in my life."

After leaving the Corps, he landed in Phoenix, working at a gay bar.

Setter moved to Chicago in 2012 to attend College of DuPage.

"The objective of Pride Alliance is to provide an open and safe atmosphere in which members can discuss issues of sexuality and gender identification/expression in relation to themselves, family, friends, and society. The group places a focus on open discussions, group participation in political discussions, events, and conscientiously working to achieve full equality for individuals regardless of differences," Setter said.

"Pride Alliance became part of my life from the first time I saw a flyer hanging in the Health Science Building [on campus]. I remember going to the first meeting where I found many like minds, but the best part was the first time I found family in the LGBTQ community outside of the bar. It is when I found that place to be myself and to find myself. It helped, and continues to help me, talking to like-minded people, to find ways to define myself without society's eyes."

Setter has been dating Patrick McLennand for about a year, "and he really brings out my intellectual side. I have never opened up to anyone as much as I have with him, including my own family."

Setter is originally from suburban Detroit, where he lived until age 17 when he joined the Marine Corps.

"To me, activism isn't merely just an act. Activism is not just your voice being heard. Activism is not only a fundamental additive to bringing about change. Activism in itself is, change," Setter said. "To me, activism is looking for the darkness and bringing it to light; activism is liberation; activism is educating our society. I believe that activism is a human right and duty.

"I don't identify with being proud [of accomplishments] because that means 'having or showing a high or excessively high opinion of oneself or one's importance.' I am of no more importance than the person standing to my left or right. Never has anything of great importance been done alone. So, all the events happening around me are of equal importance and no one of these events are more important than the other."

Still, Setter has been set in many. Just consider:

—HIV prevention through Pride Alliance: "We not only have educated ourselves, but also continue to go to classes to give HIV/AIDS presentations and show movies, such as Positive Youth, on how to survive a plague, supporting people living with HIV and reducing the stigma and discrimination against people living with HIV."

—TRIBE is a community-based organization dedicated to empowering one's self and one another through educational workshops, volunteering and other community-building activities, as well as distribution of safe sex material and free HIV testing. Geared for gay men, age 25 and older, TRIBE is run by Chicago-based Project VIDA, Inc.

"TRIBE is a place where I can talk with gay men about the efforts to bringing equality across the board, and also discuss LGBTQ literature."

—March on Springfield: "Through Illinois Unites for Marriage I went around DuPage getting postcards signed, phone-banking weekly, and meeting with State Representatives in [the] district and in Springfield. Martin McAlpin, organizer at Illinois Unites for Marriage, brought me to his team [by] reaching out to the College of DuPage and asking for people to help his areas.

"At first, my plate was completely full with working on posting up posters throughout the DuPage area for the March on Springfield, TRIBE, Pride Alliance, and most importantly, school itself. In the end, once I heard his story of being a straight man fighting for his brother's rights, I knew to not make any more excuses and just do it."

—Gender-neutral bathrooms on campus is a topic that will be discussed in 2014, Setter said. "Now, [the focus] is about creating the context for gender identity/expression to be included in the school's non-discrimination policies, [and] explaining to the Board how important it is to add this community of people. I challenge the college to add these terms to the pre-existing policies and show all community colleges that the biggest community college in the nation is proactive.

"The main focus is showing that gender identity is the process of the mind which the individual person identifies as a man, genderqueer, or woman. Gender expression is how you express yourself as feminine, androgynous, or masculine. The reason these are so important is the fact that sex or sexual orientation simply are not these things."

facebook twitter 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.


Welcome for Daniel-McCarter Aug. 25 2016-08-24
MOMBIAN Hope and help for back-to-school time 2016-08-24
U.S. juvenile, criminal justice systems endanger lives, futures of LGBTQ youth 2016-08-23
UIC among top 30 LGBTQ-friendly campuses 2016-08-22
Judge hears District 211 injunction arguments on trans student 2016-08-16
CDC: LGBTQ youth face high rates of violence and bullying 2016-08-11
Tiny Homes model tours in August 2016-08-10
Covenant House hires Illinois director 2016-08-07
Kenosha trans student alleges school bias 2016-07-27
Youth center supporting LGBT young adults, changing workspaces 2016-07-27
Upcoming: Trans youth group, Catholic retreat, Health Symposium 2016-07-27
National PTA Adopts Res on Recognition of LGBTQ Individuals as a Protected Class 2016-07-21
HRC Foundation Video Features Proud Dads of Transgender Children 2016-07-21
CA Education Board Adopts LGBT-Inclusive History-Social Science Guidelines 2016-07-14
Event focuses on foster care and adoption in LGBTQ community 2016-07-11
TRANS JUSTICE Owen Daniel-McCarter takes helm of Illinois Safe Schools 2016-07-06
Local news briefs 2016-07-05
About Face Youth Theatre AD HOC [HOME] opens soon 2016-07-02
Activist Janae Bonsu talks BYP100, queer Black identity 2016-06-29
BOOK REVIEW Being Jazz 2016-06-28
Windy City Times 30 Under 30 Honors event held 2016-06-22
17th Annual 30 Under 30 to honor youth June 22 2016-06-22
Groups Call on Legislators to Reject Appalling Attacks on Trans Children 2016-06-19
Transgender Youth Employment Toolkit released 2016-06-18
PRIDE Day at Brookfield Zoo 2016-06-17
Foster care seminar July 9 has special LGBTQ focus 2016-06-10
Event to look at NY LGBTQ youth and survival sex 2016-06-01
Event to look at NY LGBTQ youth and survival sex 2016-05-25
23 civil-rights groups back Title IX moves trans students 2016-05-22
Queer Youth Exploring Spirituality Holds Fundraiser in Pilsen May 14 2016-05-11
Chicago Filmmakers Announces Digital Media Scholarships for LGBTQ+ Youth 2016-05-10
Filmmakers Sets Digital Media Scholarships for LGBTQ+ Youth 2016-05-10
LGBT life front and center on historically black college campuses 2016-05-08
LGBTQ prom takes place in Lake View 2016-05-08
Storage project gears up to help youth experiencing homelessness 2016-05-04
Chicago Public Schools Guidelines Support Trans Students, Employees, Adults 2016-05-03
Dept. of Ed Publishes Names of Schools Receiving Right To Discriminate Against LGBTs 2016-04-29
Center on Halsted starts housing initiative 2016-04-27
Storage project gears up to help youth experiencing homelessness 2016-04-25
Cross-country hiker raises awareness for foster youth 2016-04-20

Copyright © 2016 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.
[email protected]  •  [email protected]  •  [email protected]

Website Powered by