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 2020-07-22
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Lesbian author/advocate Julie Justicz writes on 'Difficulty'
by Sarah Toce

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Chicago attorney/social justice advocate Julie Justicz has a history of fostering an affinity for the written word. Her first novel, Degrees of Difficulty, was a 20-year process—but it's finally available wherever books are sold.

"I'm an attorney and an advocate who's been working in the Chicago community for many years, but my passion has also been fiction and creative writing," Justicz said. "While I was working in legal services, I did [the book] on a part-time basis and I've continued to write when I can around work and raising two kids and family life."

Raising two kids and the pressures and joys of family life are relatable elements that go into what makes this lesbian author's writing so immediately profound for all the same-sex moms out there. Another one is, perhaps, the more prominent storyline in the novel.

"I grew up with several siblings and one of whom was born with profound disabilities," she told Windy City Times. "And I realized as I grew older how that had significant impact in every one of our lives, not just my brother Robert, who was the one with the disabilities, but also on each of us, his siblings."

Justicz colors her storytelling with stories of being raised with her six brothers. The genesis of "Degrees of Difficulty" came about when she recalled "the impact of living with Robert and loving Robert and learning about the sort of limitations on services and care for him - and what that meant for our family over the decades as he grew older."

Degrees of Difficulty is a deeply personal retelling of events that are sometimes, but not always, rooted in her own experiences. Still, the experiences stand on their own merits.

"I decided I wanted to fictionalize it because I wanted a bit more freedom to work out some of the emotions behind all of that," she recalled.

One of the through lines she worked out was the intertwining of her own personal life in the real-life narrative.

"I'm a lesbian," she said. "My partner and I have two kids together and one of the characters in the book, who would be very loosely based on me…is a lesbian who lives in Chicago. She's a prominent point of view character in the novel. And she's in her 30s in the second section of the novel—grown up and living independently now, but dealing with the memories and repercussions of a childhood that was marked by some trauma around the medical needs of her younger brother and his death."

It's a much needed perspective; to depict a woman, who happens to be a member of the LGBTQ community, living life. Period. Justicz presents her and her partner and in a way that doesn't make their lesbianism the key feature.

"They are living their lives and they're going about their work as any other characters would do," she shared. "I think for me personally being a lesbian growing up when I did, it gave me a sort of perspective on difference that I think was always helpful in working with people with disabilities and knowing what my brother's life was like."

Regarding the big picture, Degrees of Difficulty is an emotionally raw depiction of everyday life, which includes love, loss, independence—and the lack thereof.

"When you dig a little bit beneath the surface, there are issues of pain and trauma and emotional complexity that you don't always see," she said. "I hope readers from all kinds of backgrounds will be able to relate to the book on that level—family members struggling to be their best selves, but sometimes coming up short. On a more focused analysis, I do think for LGBTQ community members and for people who have had siblings or family members with disabilities, [this book] lends a unique perspective on those issues, too. And I hope it speaks to those particular community members."

Degrees of Difficulty is available now; visit .

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

About Face Theatre names new associate artistic director 2020-07-29 - About Face Theatre (AFT) welcomes Mikael Burke to its staff in the role of associate artistic director to lead AFT's education and new ...

Gay News

Greenhouse Theater stops creating shows 2020-07-28 - Greenhouse Theater Center co-owner William Spatz said July 27 that he no longer intends to produce theater at the multi-space Lincoln Park venue ...

Gay News

Oil Lamp Theater hosting drive-in premiere Aug. 7 2020-07-25 - Oil Lamp Theater Executive Director Jay Pastucha and Associate Artistic Director Stephen Smith announced Bad Dates, which will premiere Friday, Aug. 7, 6 ...

Gay News

Ruth Bader Ginsburg exhibit extended 2020-07-24 - The Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center has extended the run of its exhibit "Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader ...

Gay News

'Women Take the Stage' concert event Aug. 26 2020-07-23 - On Wed., Aug. 26, at 8 p.m. CT, top musicians, activists and feminist icons will gather for "Women Take the Stage"—a free virtual ...

Gay News

STREAMING THEATER REVIEW Groups of Ten or More People 2020-07-21 - Playwright: Gaby Labotka and Zach Barr At: Littlebrain Theatre streaming online. Tickets: . Runs through: Open run The forays into ...

Gay News

'Christmas Bingo: Summer Edition' online through July 2020-07-21 - Christmas Bingo: Summer Edition—written by Vicki Quade, one of the creators of the hit comedy Late Nite Catechism—is streaming through Friday, July 31. ...

Gay News

Goodman reimagines summer education 2020-07-21 - Free programming for participants "aged eight to 80" is underway online, as Goodman Theatre's popular Education and Engagement summer offerings for multigenerational learners ...

Gay News

Fellowship for local Black theater artists announced 2020-07-16 - The League of Chicago Theatres announced The Samuel G. Roberson Jr. Resident Fellowship, a grant to fund a residency for early to mid-career ...

Gay News

Court's new season: 'Othello,' August Wilson, 'Theatre & Thought' series 2020-07-14 - Court Theatre—under the continuing leadership of Marilyn F. Vitale Artistic Director Charles Newell and Executive Director Angel Ysaguirre—announced updates to its 2020-21 season ...


Copyright © 2020 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  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar 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.