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 2018-12-12
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



OUTspoken! marks two years of community stories
by Matt Simonette

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

About 150 participants have, since 2014, taken to the stage at Sidetrack for OUTspoken!, the monthly storytelling program for members of the LGBT community, according to its co-emcee Kim Hunt.

August marked the two-year anniversary of OUTspoken! Hunt, who is executive director of Pride Action Tank, reflected on its significance in her opening remarks at the August 2 installment.

"They have shared with us not only their personal stories, but we have also heard LGBTQ history that you will not find in any history book anywhere in the United States," she said. "We have heard some amazing tales from individuals, and we've heard just how normal LGBTQ people are."

Sidetrack co-owner and co-emcee Art Johnston added that Hunt's "normal" remark shouldn't be construed as an insult: "Sometimes it's okay to be normal," he joked.

Writer and scholar M. Shelly Conner told about her visit to a friend in South Carolina, which resulted in an outrageous evening at a gentlemen's club—complete with buffet. Librarian Erin Marshall described how her pregnancy coincided with unwelcome attention that a much-younger friend began showering on her partner.

Four other storytellers used their recollections to address how society's perceptions of the LGBT community have evolved over the decades. Ella Nelson, a trans student at Von Steuben Metropolitan Science High School spoke about the fateful day she decided to come out as trans to her classmates. Most were supportive, and many were eager to create and give an award to Nelson for her courage; but each of their proposed names for the award was more awful than the next.

Realtor Brad Lippitz also told a school related-story, first describing how becoming was "the Bar Mitzvah Dance King of Glencoe" during his middle school years helped build his confidence, then relating how, attending a bar mitzvah recently, he saw an openly gay student ask a popular—and straight—boy to dance.

Hadeis Safi, who works in HIV prevention, presented two contrasting coming-out stories about his family, relating first how his father threatened him when his parents realized he was gay, then, years later, was quietly accepting when they found out Safi was HIV-positive.

Finally, Johnston recalled when he accidently stepped into the planning of, and fundraising for, transportation to a gay-rights demonstration in the 1980s, work that would ultimately lay the foundation for his co-founding of Illinois Federation for Equal Rights, now Equality Illinois.

OUTspoken! takes place the first Tuesday of every month. It is the brainchild of David Fink of Three Oaks, Michigan-based Acorn Theatre, who curates the program each month, as well as Johnston. Sidetrack's Brad Balof is the stage manager.

Shortly before the intermission, Hunt marveled that Nelson, a high school student, felt empowered enough to take to the stage that night.

"Reflect on the fact that we had a high school sophomore who shared her story with us here tonight, and that's what OUTspoken! is all about," said Hunt. She then turned to Nelson and said, "We're doing this for you."

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

Sidetrack's OUTspoken! Series: December's featured storytellers 2018-11-27 - The December edition of OUTspoken! LGBTQ storyteller series takes place Tuesday, December 4, at Sidetrack, 3349 N. Halsted St. Doors open at 6 ...

Gay News

Nia & Ness use dance, poetry to tell story, analyze identity 2018-11-26 - Brooklyn-based dancer-poet duo Nia & Ness will bring their unique storytelling experience, run., to Chicago in four shows during the first week of ...

Gay News

Reese Witherspoon, Cameron Esposito and more at storytelling event 2018-11-18 - A diverse line-up of women-identified speakers took to the stage at the Hello Sunshine X Together Live storytelling tour Nov. 12 at the ...

Gay News

Cole Escola, from Craigslist to the Park West 2018-10-31 - The home page of Cole Escola's website features an irreverent commercial parody. Decked out in a brunette wig, pink lipstick and a sensible ...

Gay News

Quilt + Resist: Art, Politics, Storytelling at Woman Made Gallery 2018-10-30 - CHICAGO — Woman Made Gallery ( WMG ) is pleased to present 'Quilt + Resist: Art, Politics, Storytelling,' an exhibition juried by Marcia ...

Gay News

Sidetrack's OUTspoken! Series, October's featured storytellers 2018-09-26 - The September edition of OUTspoken! LGBTQ storyteller series takes place Tuesday, October 2, at Sidetrack, 3349 N. Halsted St. Doors open at 6 ...

Gay News

Blythe Baird, young and hungry 2018-09-19 - Blythe Baird, a "mostly lesbian" author, spoken word performer and unstoppable creative force, is the poster child for successful, young artists. Originally from ...

Gay News

Writer/performer R.C. Riley on queer identity, #MeToo 2018-09-19 - Writer and performer R. C. Riley's journey toward full acceptance of her queer woman identity has gone through many stages and now she ...

Gay News

David Cale unearths tragedy, secrets in 'Short Time' 2018-09-10 - Imagine the worst thing that could possibly happen to you as a child. Now, imagine something worse. For groundbreaking multi-hyphenate David Cale ...

Gay News

Sidetrack's OUTspoken! Series names September's featured storytellers 2018-08-29 - The September edition of OUTspoken! LGBTQ storyteller series takes place Tuesday, September 4, at Sidetrack, 3349 N. Halsted St. Doors open at 6 ...


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.