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 2019-09-18
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Transgender PFLAG inspiration killed in car accident
by Kate Sosin
2010-11-10

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Quinn Collins, the transgender man who inspired Chicago's first PFLAG ( Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays ) support group for parents of transgender kids, was buried last weekend by a family that set a community example by supporting him unequivocally through transition. Collins was killed in early hours of Nov. 1 in New Buffalo, Mich., when his stopped 2007 Honda Accord was rear-ended on I-94. He was 38.

Quinn "Q" Collins was born Nov. 17, 1971, on Long Island, N.Y. He was the fourth child in a family of five kids ( Thomas, Maureen, Kathleen and the late Michael, who passed away at a very young age ) . Described as a "typical middle child" by his mother, Arlene Collins, Quinn grew up playing tricks on teachers and friends. In high school, he got in trouble for cutting class and roller-skating through the hallways and for spiking the punch at a high school dance.

Collins spent much of his free time reading and writing. He loved music and foreign films. His family described him as a "fabulous dancer."

In 1992, Collins' family moved to Chicago. Collins lived between New York City and Chicago for years, but relocated to Chicago when his father, John H. Collins, became ill with a brain tumor and passed away.

A resident of the Andersonville neighborhood, Collins regularly attended "Formerly Known As," the queer Chicago dance party held monthly at Big Chicks in Uptown. In 2002, he came out to his mother as transgender and told her that he wanted to transition from female to male. She vowed to support him.

"He knew at a young age," Arlene Collins told Windy City Times. She regretted that she had failed to see her child wrestling with gender for years.

Quinn struggled through transition. He was self-conscious and feared for his safety. His family worried, too. Collins had reported being harassed by police and strangers.

Quinn wanted Arlene to have a community of parents who dealt with similar issues. After some convincing, Arlene attended a PFLAG meeting, but she found that most of the parents were dealing with having gay and lesbian kids, not transgender kids. Collins told his mother that there were countless transgender people whose parents had rejected them, and that there were many parents with transgender kids in need of spaces to talk.

Arlene decided to open her home to them. In January 2009, she held the first PFLAG group for parents of transgender children. "I thought I was going to be sitting here by myself for the first meeting," she said. But other parents came, and the meetings grew slowly. Arlene began speaking publicly about her son.

Heartened by his mother's effort, Quinn, too came regularly to the meetings. He educated parents who were afraid to ask their own kids about transgender issues and used his own experience to counsel them through difficult questions.

"He was such an inspiration to other parents because he was so open," Arlene said. "It wasn't that he was loud. It wasn't that he was boisterous. It was that when he spoke, he said something."

In June 2010, Quinn moved to New Buffalo in search of peace outside the city. He told very few people that he was transgender. One night while driving home from work, Quinn was randomly stopped by a police officer. The officer questioned Quinn about his identification until Quinn conceded that he was transgender. Quinn had not broken the law, so the officer let him go. But after that, Arlene said, Quinn worried for his safety. He feared that the officer might out him as trans in the community. Arlene said that Quinn was probably avoiding the road where he got pulled over when he took I-94 home on Halloween. But no one knows why he pulled his car over. The road was dark, and Quinn's car was black. A woman driving with her family in a van failed to see the car, which was partially sticking out into her lane. Quinn was killed on impact.

Quinn's sister, Maureen Piechaczek, said that her brother had only recently come into himself. "He was at his peak," she said.

Quinn was in the process of moving out of his family's house in Michigan into his own apartment. He was working a job he loved as a waiter. His transition had gone smoothly, and he was passing as male. He was confident for the first time, Arlene said.

Arlene Collins said she will continue the PFLAG transgender support group. She also said she intends to fight for transgender rights and speak out more. " [ People ] can't assume that a family is embarrassed because their kid is trans," she said. "That is unforgivable."

Occasionally, Quinn would lament that he was 38 years old and had yet to do the things he wanted in life, like write more and find a close community. But Arlene told him that he was actually young because he had only recently transitioned. "I told him, You just started your life,'" she said. "He was himself for the first time."


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.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

PASSAGES John Leonard Rent 2019-09-12 - John Leonard Rent passed away Sept. 9 after battling pancreatic cancer for two years—and, as many of you may be wondering, the money ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Disability rights advocate Bristo passes away 2019-09-11 - Chicagoan Marca Bristo, who was at the forefront of numerous causes relating to disability rights, passed away Sept. 8. She was 66. Bristo ...


Gay News

Foundation's ride/walk event about mental health, dedicated to late gay man 2019-09-04 - In honor of the late Michael James Dunlap, his family and friends created The Michael James Foundation to raise awareness for people with ...


Gay News

Remembering Michael Bauer, a call to pick up the baton 2019-09-03 - Remarks as prepared for delivery at the memorial service for community leader Mike Bauer, Sept. 3, 2019. I'm here to speak for ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Presidential candidates, 'Art After Stonewall,' activist dies 2019-09-03 - GLAAD announced that it will join One Iowa, The Gazette, and The Advocate as national partners for the upcoming LGBTQ Presidential Forum in ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Remembering AIDS activist/volunteer Gerald 'Jerry' Pagorek 2019-08-30 - Longtime community member and AIDS activist Gerald ( Jerry ) Pagorek died on Aug. 24 following a lengthy illness. He was 76. Born ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Political activist Michael Bauer passes away 2019-08-30 - Activist Michael Bauer passed away Aug. 29 after a long bout with cancer. Bauer, who was an attorney and executive, had been a ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Frank Rice 2019-08-27 - Frank Rice, Jr., 72, poet, of Chicago's uptown neighborhood, passed away unexpectedly at home August 15, 2019. Son of the late Frank Rice, ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Activist Gerald Pagorek passes away 2019-08-25 - Longtime Chicago activist Gerald Pagorek has passed away, Windy City Times has learned. Pagorek, who was especially active in HIV/AIDS-related causes, especially the ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Steven Ray Dobson, 70 2019-08-23 - Steven Ray Dobson, 70; of North Aurora, born in Pontiac, Michigan; former employee of Grand Trunk Railroad; passed away August 16, 2019. Steven ...


 



Copyright © 2019 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.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



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 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.