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 2015-11-25
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


VIEWPOINTS Queer street youth need OUR love
by Frank McAlpin

facebook twitter stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

As a queer person there is much to be proud of as 2013 begins. Last year was an unprecedented year of progress in the LGBT-rights movement, with greater LGBT visibility and support for marriage equality gaining huge momentum. And that momentum doesn't seem to be slowing, as it looks like the state Illinois will soon legalize same-sex marriage. Yes, in many respects, it's an exciting time for LGBT justice and things do seem to "get better."

Yet all this excitement and progress is greatly diminished by the hundreds of queer young people who are sleeping on the streets of Chicago every night. The truth is, for many queer street-based youth in Chicago, being queer isn't that exciting and things aren't "getting better."

For most of us, the daily reality that so many queer homeless youth experience is difficult to imagine. It is a reality of constant hunger. A reality of being physically and emotionally tired all the time. A reality of violence and abuse. A reality of rejection and stigma. A reality consumed with doing everything possible to survive. And these unimaginable realities are often compounded by racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ageism and other forms of oppression.

When trying to imagine these realities I can't help but think, "What kind of community allows young people—already marginalized because of their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression—to be homeless? To eat from the garbage? To be subject to police intimidation and abuse? To be denied services by community agencies? And to be targeted and discriminated against by local businesses and community members?"

Our collective acceptance of youth homelessness in our community is nothing short of child abuse and neglect. It is an injustice so horrific and painful, it disgraces our humanity. And its existence greatly stains the very equality and justice the LGBT-rights movement is accomplishing today.

Queer youth homelessness is, without question, an issue of equality and justice and must not be neglected in the broader LGBT-rights movement happening now. Queer youth are part of OUR LGBT family and we must care for them. If we, as LGBT folks, don't stand up for and with queer street-based youth, who will? If we don't recognize them, who will? If we don't love and support them, who will?

We, as the LGBT community, can no longer allow the gross realities of being young, queer and homeless to dominate these young people's lives. We must do something to make it better for these youth. Windy City Times recently highlighted many actions one could take that would help chip away at the injustice that is youth homelessness. I encourage you to read "Generation Halsted: Recommendations" and do something ( ).

But at the very least my hope for all of us, as individuals, is to change our own attitudes and behaviors towards queer street-based youth. We must recognize them. Smile at them. Talk with them. Because queer street-based youth are no different from you or me. They have interests, hopes and dreams—and love to kiki. Chicago's queer street-based youth are beautiful, creative, courageous, expressive, resourceful, passionate, determined, loving and resilient. Most of all, they are epically inspiring.

So become epically inspired! See Chicago's queer street-based youth, as important and valued members of our greater LGBT community. Care for them. Fight for them. Include them. Extend to them, what we, as LGBT folks have been working towards for decades: equality, justice and LOVE.

Frank McAlpin is a social worker and human-rights activist; he's on Twitter at FrankMcTalk.

facebook twitter 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.


Legacy Wall Traveling LGBT History Exhibit part of Youth Summit 2015-11-25
Chicago sex ed gets makeover; youth launch 'Chicago Wears Condoms' campaign 2015-11-25
SENIOR MOMENTS Gollums, Muppets and orcs 2015-11-25
VIEWS Where's Log Cabin Republican activism? 2015-11-25
A'ville shopping; Hilarity Davenport's; Oy to the World; youth talk; Transfluent 2015-11-25
The Chicago Youth Worker Collective hosts 'Friendsgiving' 2015-11-23
Hundreds attend Sleep Out for youth homelessness visibility, fundraising 2015-11-22
LGBTQ and long-term care: Caregiving 2015-11-18
Guest column: Larry Kramer's sour times 2015-11-18
Tiny Home Competition to launch in Chicago 2015-11-17
Safe Schools Alliance holds youth conference 2015-11-17
Speakers, performers announced for Sleep Out Nov. 20 2015-11-17
Tiny Homes Competition launches in Chicago 2015-11-17
ViiV Healthcare awards grants for HIV programs focused on MSM youth 2015-11-12
Report: Utah judge orders child removed from home of same-sex parents 2015-11-11
Sleep Out kick-off attracts top musical talent 2015-11-11
GUEST COLUMN Evolutions 2015-11-11
GUEST COLUMN LGBTQ and long-term care: What you need to know about housing 2015-11-11
VIEWS What should white LGBTQ groups do now? 2015-11-11
Task Force lauds Missouri students' courage, racial justice campaign 2015-11-10
Chicago homeless, advocates confront Ald. Cappleman 2015-11-10
Ka'Riel Gaiter talks new role at YEPP, social-justice activism 2015-11-10
THE AMAZON TRAIL Gen future 2015-11-10
Project Fierce celebrates new home at annual brunch 2015-11-09
Producer creates Exposure for Chicago's youth experiencing homelessness 2015-11-08
GUEST COLUMN: Sleeping out for youth 2015-11-04
Open To Thinking: PEN protests the rise of anti-LGBTQ legislation 2015-11-04
GUEST COLUMN LGBTQ and long-term care: What you need to know 2015-11-04
VIEWS Running through cancer while helping others 2015-11-04
Experts address homelessness among LGBT youth 2015-11-03
Upcoming: Trans Day of Remembrance; Alliance youth summit; Midwest Equality summit 2015-11-03
Youth, faith leaders, county commissioners call for funding for violence prevention 2015-11-03
HRC Foundation, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids join against LGBTQ teen substance abuse 2015-10-28
Northalsted Business Alliance's Ruby Red Relay to benefit AIDS Fdn, Out in Open Sleep Out 2015-10-28
VIEWS Creating Change 2016: Calling for community housing 2015-10-28
MOMBIAN LGBTQ families: Past, present and future 2015-10-26
Leadership of Black Youth Project 100 arrested at protest of police convention 2015-10-24
GUEST COLUMN: LGBT identity as big data 2015-10-23
Black Youth Project Chicago to announce call for end to police violence 2015-10-21
GUEST COLUMN Coming out on campus 2015-10-21

Copyright © 2015 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.