An online petition launched late in June is demanding that the "Boystown" neighborhood designation be changed to a term that is more inclusive of the entire LGBTQ community.
The petitionwhich is on Change.org and was authored by activist Devlyn Campstates, "This is only the beginning of the many changes needed in the North Halsted area."
"The Castro, Greenwich Village, West Hollywood, and many more," wrote Camp. "LGBTQ neighborhoods exist for all intersections of queer identity. Chicago's is the only gendered nickname. Systemic transphobia, racism, and sexism have plagued our neighborhood for decades, and it begins at the top, with the all-male board of the Northalsted Business Alliance."
Indeed, the neighborhood has been at the center of numerous challenges for years, with numerous constituenciesamong them Black and Brown people, transgender people and youthsaying they've felt marginalized when visiting Lake View, a neighborhood many had initially relied on to feel at home amidst the LGBTQ community. In mid-2019, Chicagoans protested racism on the part of Progress Bar as well as the Center on Halsted's contracting of its security services to a firm owned by a police officer with a known history of racism.
"Many of our transgender siblings must visit the Center on Halsted to utilize necessary resources," said Camp. "Many of them have experienced transphobia in the North Halsted area. Our LGBTQ siblings of color looking for inclusive bars have been met with racism. Many women frequenting and working in North Halsted businesses have been met with sexism. When police shut down the bars early after Pride in 2018, many on the Northalsted Business Alliance praised the police.
" … North Halsted businesses and their board have tokenized people when it is convenient for their profits or image, while marketing their businesses to gay men only."
As of July 8, the petition, which is directed at the Northalsted Business Alliance, has 828 signatures, with a goal of 1,000.
The petition is at www.change.org/p/northalsted-business-alliance-northalsted-business-alliance-to-stop-promoting-boystown-nickname .