Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2015-04-22
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


  WINDY CITY TIMES

Youth builds new family in Lakeview
LGBTQ Youth Series from Windy City Times
by Erica Demarest
2013-01-02

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


When Ilene Cameron first visited Boystown four years ago, she was hoping to find acceptance. What she got was a family.

The then-18-year-old had been living in a group home following a litany of family issues.

"My [biological] family—they're not very accepting of the fact I'm bisexual," Cameron said. "They call me names, make fun of me, say a lot of things that I really don't like. My mom calls me a faggot. I'm downright dirty to have a relationship with a guy and a girl. I'm stupid, and I shouldn't be part of the family."

A good friend told Cameron about Boystown, the city's LGBT-designated corridor, and promised to show her around. Cameron soon met dozens of youth just like her. Many identified as LGBT; some were homeless or precariously housed; still others had been disowned after coming out to their families.

For the first time in years, Cameron felt at home.

"I always felt very alone," she said. "I was in middle school and high school, and nobody liked me because I would always try out for the boys' teams—football, basketball. They used to judge me, make fun of me, for how I dressed and everything. I had nobody I could depend on. I'd go home to my mom or my foster parents, and I'd still get judged."

Before she knew it, the lifelong South Sider had built a 'chosen family' in Lakeview—designating certain friends as siblings, aunties or parents.

"They've been with me through my rough ages—when I was drinking because I felt bad about my family. They helped me with a lot of things out here, took me into [their apartments] when I didn't have one… Out here, we're all respectful to each other. We count on one another. We don't argue that much. If someone gets hurt, we'll be at the hospital until they get better."

Cameron recalls hitting a rough patch about a year-and-a-half ago. She was just coming out of an abusive relationship and had suffered a miscarriage. Her health was poor, her asthma had been acting up, and though she has a GED, Cameron couldn't find work.

"Everybody came up with money so I could buy my inhaler, my iron pills and my vitamins," Cameron said. "They bought it for me and everything."

Cameron beams when talking about her chosen family, but says life can be tough in Lakeview.

"Mostly every night we have trouble with the police because some of the LGBTQ kids are homeless, and some of us don't really have bus fare to get on the trains," said Cameron, who lives in a West Side transitional housing program. "We help each other on trains—put our money together to buy bus fares."

She said police often stop her for no reason or harass young people near CTA stations, having made assumptions about whether the youth are riding legally.

It's also common, Cameron said, for Lakeview residents to make snide comments as they walk past her and her family.

"I just want [people] to know that we're all the same people," she said. "We might be a little bit different from you with our sexuality or whatever, but we're just the same. We go to school together. We're all in the same community. We ride the same bus, trains, everything. You shouldn't judge us for what we like, what we do or how we act."


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.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Chicago Children's Museum shows commitment to LGBT families 2015-04-24
Upon entering school, LGBTs of color face lifelong risk of poverty 2015-04-23
Night of Noise puts LGBTQ youth issues on blast 2015-04-22
Nominations sought for 30 Under 30 Awards 2015-04-22
First apartment for youth adopted by 750 Club 2015-04-21
750 Club donors adopt first apartment 2015-04-21
YEPP marks fourth anniversary with 'ALIVE' 2015-04-15
Resolution asks states to protect LGBT youth from conversion therapy 2015-04-14
#BornPerfect event raises awareness of conversion therapy 2015-04-11
Surgeon General supports protecting LGBT youth from conversion therapy 2015-04-09
WIU survey includes LGBTQ info for students 2015-04-03
Camp Aranu'tiq: A place for transgender and gender-variant youth 2015-03-31
Equality Illinois summit ponders youth-related issues 2015-03-31
Illinois Safe Schools Alliance to host LGBTQA youth Night of Noise 2015-03-30
LGBTQ Poverty Collaborative hosts Chicago meeting 2015-03-26
Q-YES to host panel on Latin@ issues 2015-03-25
New BYC location among Howard Brown meeting announcements 2015-03-24
ALMA names recipients of Young Latino Leaders for Creating Change scholarship 2015-03-24
GLSEN releases Illinois data from National School Climate Survey 2015-03-20
D&G anger many; celebrities respond 2015-03-18
Rep. Cassidy moving bill to ban conversion therapy on children 2015-03-17
Online college fair March 19 to focus on LGBTQAs 2015-03-13
Illinois youth leaders lobby on conversion therapy ban 2015-03-12
LGBT club at Michigan university in rift with school 2015-03-10
Nominations sought for 30 Under 30 Awards 2015-03-10
Rauner cuts hit anti-bullying programs 2015-03-04
Parenting/teaching conference focuses on trans youth 2015-03-04
Latin School teacher devotes entire week to gay history 2015-03-03
Gay Wheaton College student makes waves 2015-03-03
Portal looks at gay parenting, conversion therapy 2015-03-03
Entrepreneurs event hosted for youth 2015-03-01
Alfre Woodard talks 'State of Affairs' before local benefit 2015-02-25
Youth homelessness behind teaming of AFC, Vida/SIDA 2015-02-25
ACLU urges federal court to force DCFS changes 2015-02-16
Muslim youth group condemns shooting in Copenhagen 2015-02-15
Black Youth Project 100, changing world one meeting at a time 2015-02-11
Study: Coming as LGBT in school contributes to well-beling 2015-02-10
PBS series includes 'Limited Partnership' and 'Homestretch' 2015-01-28
Apartment Adoption Projects starts for homeless Chicago youth 2015-01-28
Lambda Legal on nomination of Rev. Meeks as Chair, IL State Board of Education 2015-01-23
 



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.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
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 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.