Young, gay and black in Auburn Gresham

December 13, 2011

By Bill Healy

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The trip on public transportation from Auburn Gresham on the South Side to North Side Boystown can be long and tedious. But as Terrence Chappell rides from 79th Street to Belmont and back home again, he uses the time to think.

Chappell is a nightlife and society columnist for ChicagoPride.com. He travels this route frequently – between his apartment in Auburn Gresham and the gay nightlife in Boystown. But in both places, he feels misunderstood.

In Auburn Gresham, he says, there are no bars that he would hang out at more than once. And in Boystown, he can sometimes feel like an outsider because of the stereotypes he hears from people about the South Side.

A few months back, a woman, upon learning where he was from, asked him, “Are you from one of those ghetto families?” Chappell laughs as he recounts the story now. But it’s not the first time someone has had a notion about Auburn Gresham, where he grew up and still lives.

“People are very scared of what they don’t know about,” he says.

All this week we're spending time in Auburn Gresham, getting to know a few of the people who live, work, and play there. Our series Auburn Gresham, Chicago continues today with Terrence Chappell and his mother Marilyn talking about what it's like to be young, gay, and black there.

Auburn Gresham, Chicago received support from the Chicago Community Trust's Local Reporting Initiative.

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