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 2020-05-27
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Trans scientist kicks off TGNC-affirming symposium
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Transgender climate scientist, humanist and activist Dr. Mika Tosca's keynote kicked off the day-long "Being a Stronger Ally: A Trans/GNC Affirming Symposium" Feb. 22 at the Chicago Waldorf School in Andersonville. Andersonville Chamber of Commerce's Trans/GNC Affirming Task Force hosted the event.

Tosca is a School of the Art Institute of Chicago assistant professor and Jet Propulsion Laboratory climate researcher who was featured on WTTW's Chicago Tonight show last summer to talk about her work combining art and science. Her research focuses on how human activities and climate change intersects.

Andersonville Chamber of Commerce Community and Events Manager Laura Austin welcomed approximately 80 people and spoke about the formation of the chamber's Trans/GNC Affirming Task Force in the fall of 2018.

"[The task force was created] in response to feedback that our transgender and gender nonconforming residents and visitors were being misgendered and mistreated frequently at our businesses," said Austin. "They felt unrepresented and unseen. Andersonville has always been a safe and welcoming community so we asked ourselves how and why this was happening, what changes needed to be made and what does an inclusive LGBTQ neighborhood and city look like."

Austin reminded the audience about the first "Being a Stronger Ally" workshop they held last February that helped more than 70 businesses with the tools to create safe and welcoming spaces for their transgender and gender nonconforming ( GNC ) customers. She also spoke about being the mother of a transgender child and wanting a better world for them.

Tosca asked audience members if they have ever misgendered someone or been misgendered themselves—and almost all raised their hands. She also asked how that made people feel afterward, adding that everyone should keep that in mind during her talk.

Speaking about her work as a climate scientist, Tosca said the proclamations people have made that the world is ending really mean to her "No, the world is not ending—just this world is ending. But, we have an unprecedented opportunity to make the next world better, and more equitable."

Tosca added that her journey as a transgender woman has shown her the "important parallels between the existential crisis facing the planet and the existential crisis that confronts many transgender folks as we begin to reckon with and acknowledge our own gender."

In terms of the high rates of transgender people who have attempted suicide, Tosca said she is among that percentage because of instances in her adolescence where she "was hopeless and confused and dreaded the idea of transition."

Tosca said her thoughts at that time were centered on being disowned, not having any friends or not living a "normal" life. She spoke about the journey transgender people go on from realizing their gender identity to needing allies and support because they are vulnerable and scared to needing access to things like healthcare, jobs and public spaces including bathrooms.

When Tosca moved to Chicago two years ago, she said she was a "newly hatched egg" and chose to live in Andersonville because of the inclusiveness of the neighborhood where LGBTQ people were able to live their lives openly—although that has not stopped her from being misgendered even there.

"[That incident] sent me into a spiral. 'I am not passing. I will never pass. Nobody sees me as a woman. Am I unsafe using the bathroom,'" said Tosca about an incident in a neighborhood Starbucks. "The fantasy was ruined."

Tosca said the best way she thinks cisgender people can be better allies is to stop using gendered pronouns and instead use they/them or to not use pronouns at all. She added that being a better ally also means hiring transgender and gender-nonconforming people and treating them with respect among many other actions.

Following Tosca's remarks, About Face Theatre's Education Manager Amy Sheahan introduced troupe members Nico Quinn, Angelíca Grace and Aimy Tien, who performed their Power in Pride spoken-word act and answered audience member's questions.

Chicago Therapy Collective trainers facilitated each session—Trans 101 with Chicago Counseling Associate's Blue, Trans-Inclusive Customer Service with The Care Plan's Jackie Boyd and Well Intentioned Organizations and Hostile Work Environments with University of Chicago's Dr. S. Simmons and Youth Empowerment Performance Project's Bonsai Bermudez.

Brave Space Alliance's Stephanie Skora and composer Allie Stephens led a civic engagement panel featuring Ald. Andre Vasquez ( 40th Ward ), Cook County Circuit Court judicial candidate and attorney Jill Rose Quinn, community activist Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth, Helix Cafe's Caitlin Botsios and Big Jones Chef Paul Fehribach.

Among the symposium sponsors were Chicago Waldorf School,Women & Children First, Pet Food Experts, First Midwest Bank, state Rep. Kelly Cassidy ( 14th District ) and Total Wellness Chiropractic Clinic's Dr. Kimberly Beith.

See and .

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

Chicago artists virtually unveil mural honoring LGBTQ community 2020-05-27 - CHICAGO, IL — Chicago artists Andy Bellomo and Sandra Antongiorgi have virtually unveiled a new mural that highlights queer artists of color who ...

Gay News

WORLD New HIV news, Catholic event, conversion therapy, Hungary anti-trans bill 2020-05-27 - A global trial stated that a new HIV drug injected every two months effectively reduces the rate of infection, and provides longer and ...

Gay News

U.S. Supreme Court backs Idaho trans woman's reassignment surgery 2020-05-22 - The United States Supreme Court denied Idaho's application to stop a transgender inmate's reassignment surgery, East Idaho News reported. The court order ...

Gay News

Brave Space Alliance announces board of directors 2020-05-21 - Brave Space Alliance—a Black- and trans-led "LGBTQ center on the South Side of Chicago that is dedicated to creating and providing affirming, culturally ...

Gay News

Trevor Project releases report on mental health of trans, non-binary youth 2020-05-21 - The Trevor Project's research team has published a new peer-reviewed article titled "Understanding the Mental Health of Transgender and Nonbinary Youth" in the ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Harvey Milk, trans woman killed, 'Queer the Census,' NYC Pride 2020-05-18 - LGBTQ-rights icon Harvey Milk would have turned 90 on May 22—and San Francisco is coming together ( virtually ) that day, a press ...

Gay News

VIEWS LGBTQ discrimination is a disgrace 2020-05-18 - Re the New York Times article, "Aimee Stephens, 59, Plaintiff in Transgender Rights Case" ( obituary, May 14 ): Our world has long ...

Gay News

Report: HHS rule will negatively affect 1.5M transgender Americans 2020-05-18 - The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is expected to announce a final rule in the coming weeks that reverses federal ...

Gay News

'Matrix' co-creator cites Chicago LGBTQ organization in tweet 2020-05-18 - Matrix co-creator Lilly Wachowski cited Chicago LGBTQ organization Brave Space Alliance in a tweet, Variety noted. The transgender director was not happy ...

Gay News

Navy grants first waiver for trans service member 2020-05-15 - The U.S. Navy granted a waiver allowing a transgender service member to serve "in their preferred gender" for the first time since the ...


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.