Windy City Media Group Frontpage News Home
CELEBRATING 28+ YEARS OF Lesbian Gay Bisexual and Transgender NEWS

Search Gay News Articles
Advanced Search
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2014-04-09
Download Issue
  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime

Peter and the Starcatcher Peter and the Starcatcher
Playwright: Rick Elice. At: Bank of America, 18 West Monroe. Tickets: 800-775-2000 ...

Browse Gay News Index   Browse Gay News Archives
  Windy City Times    Download PDF Issue

Reaching Beyond Chicago: YPS goes national
LGBTQ Youth Series from Windy City Times
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times
2012-12-05

facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


There are many reasons Chicago is a good launch pad for talking about the challenges facing LGBTQ youth of color nationally, and Frank Walker can name them: a high death rate this year, a chronic lack funding for LGBT programs in much of the city, and a fixation on HIV prevention that trumps other necessary conversations.

Youth Pride Services (YPS), the organization that Walker founded in 2003, has experienced all of these. But fundraising challenges and struggles at home have had an unexpected consequence for YPS: They've helped it grow.

Earlier this year, the once-local organization changed course to operate nationally. It has launched a nationwide survey of Black LGBT youth, begun a training process for young leaders in every state and booked a calendar that has YPS youth traveling two to three times a month, according to Walker.

He first got the idea to start YPS while working at Horizons Community Center (now Center on Halsted), a North Side LGBT community organization. While most of the Horizons staff members were white, the majority of the youth they served were Black.

"There was a huge influx of youth of color who had to go up to the North Side," Walker said. "I thought that it could lead to some problems down the line, that there was nobody that looks like them at the programming."

Over the years, YPS distinguished itself by emphasizing activism and organizing. The organization operated drop-in services similar to those found at other LGBT agencies, but leadership development was at its core.

While basic services such as hot meals were vital for many young people, Walker explained, others simply wanted gathering spaces and organized programming. YPS became an outlet for youth to learn about community leadership: Its members created programs for their peers, and youth leaders rose from within.

Those leadership roles extended into the city.

Walker points to the organization's positive relationship with the Northalsted Business Alliance, the Boystown-based retailers' association.

While tensions have sometimes flared between youth and Boystown business owners in the past, Walker said that YPS has tried to find common ground with the alliance.

"We all agree on one thing, and that is: There shouldn't be any violence," he said. "Youth on youth, youth on patrons…"

YPS youth have worked directly with business owners, Walker said, often discussing neighborhood problems that had arisen for each group.

Anshae Lorenzen, 21, said that his organizing with YPS taught him how to navigate issues that might come up in Lakeview.

"If I have any problems, I usually have the avenues and know what to go through," Lorenzen said, adding that he opts for writing letters over disparaging the neighborhood.

In recent years, however, leadership opportunities for YPS youth increasingly extended beyond Chicago. Organizations and government entities started to contact YPS seeking LGBTQ Black youth perspectives, Walker said, adding that YPS youth were slowly becoming national voices for Black LGBTQ youth.

In May 2011, the National Youth Advocacy Coalition (NYAC), which advocates for LGBTQ youth, closed its doors during hard financial times.

At the same time, YPS found itself struggling to fundraise.

"You can't really compete with the North Side when it comes to fundraising days," said Walker. "After being told 100 times, 'We would have helped you, but we gave out money to the Center [on Halsted] already,' after that, you just get tired of asking. We couldn't survive with a monopoly like that in the city."

Walker said he doesn't begrudge North Side organizations like the Center, but tough financial realities encouraged him to reevaluate YPS's future.

Noting the absence of a national organization like NYAC, YPS stopped its drop-in services and shifted its focus toward national consulting work.

It was a loss in certain ways, Walker conceded, as YPS had to start referring its youth to other service organizations.

But in 2012, YPS started fresh. It launched "A National Strategy for Black Gay Youth," which surveyed 2,500 youth nationally. The results will determine YPS priorities down the road; the organization currently travels two to three times per month.

A growing network of young people nationwide connects to YPS through a unique web login. It allows them to attend virtual meetings, message other youth, post discussion topics, survey their peers nationally and access information about services where they live.

Walker said that YPS has grown 200 percent this fall, an influx he attributes in part to a new generation of LGBT youth coming of age.

Next year, YPS will launch an initiative in the Midwest to address the realities facing Black LGBTQ youth in schools. In Chicago, that will mean pushing for more Gay/Straight Alliance clubs in South Side schools.

Additionally, YPS has started recording the reported number of Black LGBT youth who die in the U.S. each year. Chicago deaths, which total five for 2012, according to Walker, make up a third of those recorded thus far. (Walker points out that this number could be due to media coverage).

Significant work remains when it comes to conversations about Black LGBTQ youth, Walker said.

"We're working on bullying in the schools," he said. "We're working on bullying and police. But there is more bullying happening in the house, in the church, in their regular circle."

And many who work with Black LGBTQ youth throughout the country are consumed by efforts to curb HIV infections, which disproportionately impact youth of color.

That is one issue that Walker struggles to explain.

Earlier this year, San Francisco University published a study showing that Black gay couples were more likely than white gay couples to use condoms. Still, HIV rates among LGBTQ Black youth outpace the general population, a reality that has Walker scratching his head.

The impact has gone far beyond the spread of the virus, Walker noted. It often means that other issues facing LGBTQ youth of color go unaddressed.

"HIV is still more important than marriage equality, housing, or any other issue," he said.

Generation Halsted is an eight-week series that seeks to capture youth voices not typically represented in Windy City Times and other media. The young people portrayed have many housing situations, gender identities and sexual orientations. The series looks primarily, but not exclusively, at Boystown, where an influx of young LGBTQ people has been a source of controversy. Windy City Times will continue to explore the issues raised here beyond this series.


facebook twitter del.icio.us stumble upon digg 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.

WCT seeks nominations for 30 Under 30 Awards 2014-04-15
NEIU faculty, students ask for renaming of Walesa building 2014-04-14
Day of Silence broken with stories and celebration 2014-04-11
National Day of Silence, Chicago Night of Noise today 2014-04-11
Rep. Cassidy advances bullying bill 2014-04-10
LGBT prom to be held May 16 2014-04-10
Online media project shapes info on Black, LGBT youth 2014-04-09
Project Fierce goes online to finance LGBT youth housing 2014-04-07
'Night of Noise' in Loop on April 11 2014-04-03
Arizona student fights for right to walk while trans 2014-04-01
Get Us Home builds support for LGBTQ homeless youth 2014-04-01
Conversion therapy ban advances to House floor 2014-03-26
LGBTQ homeless youth project heals through performance 2014-03-26
LGBTQ Homeless Youth Summit May 2-5 in Chicago 2014-03-26
Oak Park LGBTQ group sponsors scholarships 2014-03-25
Rustin honored by Black LGBT Emerging Leaders Campaign 2014-03-22
Dialogues on the Black gay/bisexual male experience 2014-03-22
Roosevelt Univ. senior moves to Chicago and finds freedom 2014-03-18
Plan advanced to improve conditions in juvenile justice facilities 2014-03-17
LGBTQ Homeless Youth Summit May 2-5 in Chicago 2014-03-15
Campus Pride launches National LGBT Scholarship Database 2014-03-15
Chicago homeless teens depicted in 'The Homestretch' 2014-03-15
Online course to aid LGBTQ youth in coming out 2014-03-11
Youth to fight Parental Notification of Abortion law 2014-03-07
Opponents fail to force vote on pro-trans school sct 2014-02-24
Award to honor under 30s, seeks nominations 2014-02-19
Lakeview suicide awareness event offers Hope for the Day 2014-02-14
Search for missing gay FSU student continues 2014-02-13
Transgender Homecoming King fulfills dream 2014-02-12
30 Under 30 Awards seeks nominations for honorees 2014-02-12
McHenry County College to host Pride conference 2014-02-11
Oak Park LGBTQ group sponsors scholarships 2014-02-11
Safe Schools, suicide prevention report out 2014-02-08
High school senior going to prom as drag alter ego 2014-02-05
Suburban high school stages 'Laramie Project, raises discussion 2014-02-05
IMPACT to conduct first survey of LGBT youths and their parents 2014-02-04
McHenry County College to host Pride conference 2014-01-29
Broadway Youth Center wins zoning appeal 2014-01-21
IFI blasts Notre Dame for recognizing LGBT student group 2014-01-19
Broadway Youth Center has zoning hearing 2014-01-17





Copyright © 2014 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.

 

 

 



 

Halsted's Brown Elephant to move
 
Gay former college swimmer now a rising force in real estate
 
Gay men await baby girl, celebrate at Sidetrack
 
A mother reacts to gay son's marriage
 
Political Science Panel considers LGBT public policy
 
Windy City Times Current DownloadNightspots Current DownloadQueercast Current Download
Windy City Media Group BlogsJoin Our Email List!Donate Now



  News Index       Archives   About WCMG    Publications    Bars & Clubs     Calendar   Videos   Advertisers    OUT! Guide    Classifieds   AIDS @ 32
 Local | National | World | Politics | Obits | Profiles | Views | Entertainment | Theater | Dance | Music | Film | Art | Books | TV/Gossip
 Travel | History | Marriage | Youth | Trans | Lesbian | Celebrations | Food | Nightlife | Sports | Health | Real Estate | Autos | Pets | Crime



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      News Videos      Nightspots Videos      Entertainment Videos      Queercast Videos      Comedy Videos     
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.