WBEZ | lesbian http://www.wbez.org/tags/lesbian Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Gay advocacy group wants Chicago to suspend sister city program with Moscow http://www.wbez.org/news/gay-advocacy-group-wants-chicago-suspend-sister-city-program-moscow-108236 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Moscow Sister City_130731.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>LGBT advocacy group Equality Illinois wants Chicago to suspend its sister city program with the Russian capital of Moscow.</p><p>The <a href="http://chicagosistercities.com/sister-cities/moscow/">program</a> organizes local events, such as the Russia Day celebrations and the Russian-American Business Forum, to help strengthen cultural and commercial ties between the two cities.</p><p>Russia recently passed a law that bans people from holding gay pride rallies and informing minors about the LGBT community.</p><p>Equality Illinois also calls for Illinoisans to cancel business dealings with or travel plans to the eastern European country.</p><p>Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov says some local businesses have already stopped selling Russian products.</p><p>&ldquo;We live in a city that is very conscious of treating everyone with equal dignity and respect, and by us partnering with Moscow, a city that&rsquo;s... the opposite of where Chicago stands, I think we&rsquo;re going to send a strong message by saying that enough is enough.&rdquo; Cherkasov said.</p><p>Chicago Sister Cities International says they must continue the program so LGBT Russians might still feel welcome here. A statement from the organization also noted that it&rsquo;s important to keep the lines of communication open.</p><p><em>Lee Jian Chung is a WBEZ arts and culture intern. Follow him <a href="http://www.twitter.com/jclee89">@jclee89</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 30 Jul 2013 17:11:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/gay-advocacy-group-wants-chicago-suspend-sister-city-program-moscow-108236 Construction begins on Midwest’s first affordable housing for LGBTQ seniors http://www.wbez.org/news/construction-begins-midwest%E2%80%99s-first-affordable-housing-lgbtq-seniors-107501 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/photo (1)(1).JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Construction vehicles knocked down walls at a building in Lakeview Monday to prepare for what will soon become the region&rsquo;s first LGBTQ-friendly senior affordable housing development.</p><p>The $26 million dollar development will occupy a part of the old 23rd district Town Hall police station on Halsted and Addison streets, as well as the now-vacant space next to it. The building will be home to 79 studio and one-bedroom apartments, as well as a space for community programming run by <a href="http://www.centeronhalsted.org/" target="_blank">The Center on Halsted</a>.</p><p>The development has been in the works for a while. By Lakeview Ald. Tom Tunney&rsquo;s count, he&rsquo;s been working on the issue for at least 10 years. Tunney, one of the first openly gay Chicago aldermen, says the work won&rsquo;t stop once the center opens.</p><p>&ldquo;The selection process is going to be interesting because the demand is gonna be amazing,&rdquo; Tunney said. &ldquo;And getting it open and learning in general how to integrate the community center with the housing component, I think there&rsquo;s gonna be a few challenges there.&rdquo;</p><p>Some Chicagoans have already voiced interest in living in the building. Tom Genley said the senior center would be a safe zone, and thus he was eyeing one of the apartments.</p><p>&ldquo;Here, because I can be me, an out gay man. Here, because I do not have to hide my true self,&rdquo; Genley said. &ldquo;Here, because the closet is for clothes.&rdquo;</p><p>But alongside the celebration and hard-hat photo-ops was an air of disappointment over the Illinois House of Representatives&rsquo; decision not to call a vote on a bill to legalize same-sex marriage. During her remarks about the housing project, Representative Sara Feigenholtz called the last weekend of the legislative session one where a lot of &ldquo;broken dreams happened.&rdquo;</p><p>&ldquo;We just didn&rsquo;t quite get it done yet,&rdquo; Feigenholtz said. &ldquo;But we&rsquo;re gonna go back and we&rsquo;re gonna get it done.&rdquo;</p><p>Democratic state Rep. Greg Harris of Chicago decided not to call a House floor vote on the bill that would&#39;ve made Illinois the 13th state to allow gay marriage. Harris said he didn&#39;t have the votes but also vowed to bring back the issue.</p><p>The Center on Halsted has been working with <a href="http://www.heartlandalliance.org/" target="_blank">The Heartland Alliance</a>, a local anti-poverty organization, state and city officials on the financing and construction for the affordable housing development.&nbsp; All 79 units will be subsidized, and will cost no more than 30 percent of a given resident&rsquo;s income. Construction on the building is scheduled to be completed by the fall of 2014.</p><p><em>Lauren Chooljian is WBEZ&rsquo;s Morning Producer/Reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/laurenchooljian" target="_blank">@laurenchooljian</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 03 Jun 2013 16:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/construction-begins-midwest%E2%80%99s-first-affordable-housing-lgbtq-seniors-107501 A trip to the Pleasure Palace: Why Chicago needs bathhouses for women http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-05/trip-pleasure-palace-why-chicago-needs-bathhouses-women-107151 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/28382_118595761501142_2202481_n.jpg" style="height: 208px; width: 300px; float: left;" title="Cassandra Avenatti attends Queerer Park event in 2010. (A/S/L Media/Leon Andrew Hensley)" />If you are a gay man looking to go out in Chicago on a Saturday night, a spider web of events spin out from Boystown. Lakeview has Sidetrack and Spin. Rogers Park offers Mayne Stage and Jackhammer. Edgewater boasts Big Chicks and the Granville Anvil. If you&rsquo;re downtown, check out Second Story and the aptly named Downtown Bar. The South Side offers Jeffery Pub, Club Escape and InnExile.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">But where are the lesbian spaces? In recent years, many queer and lesbi-friendly bars have closed up shop in Chicago, including T&rsquo;s, which abruptly announced closure in March. Many Andersonville residents were shocked, as the bar was one of the last remnants of &quot;<a href="http://www.dykediva.com/columnists/clare_andersonville.php" target="_blank">Girls&rsquo; Town</a>,&quot; the neighborhood carved out during the late &#39;80s and &#39;90s.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Chicago&rsquo;s last full-time lesbian bar went under in 2009. Last month, West Hollywood&rsquo;s The Palms shut down after 50 years of business and the West Village&rsquo;s Rubyfruit Bar and Grille <a href="http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E04E6DB1439F937A35754C0A96E9C8B63" target="_blank">closed in 2008</a>. When Michigan&rsquo;s The Chrome Cat settled its tabs one last time, it was one of the last lesbian bars in <a href="http://www.mlive.com/living/index.ssf/2011/04/chrome_cat_in_lansing_one_of_m.html" target="_blank">the whole state</a>. The site <a href="http://lostwomynsspace.blogspot.com/" target="_blank">Lost Womyn&rsquo;s Space</a> tracks the disappearance of lesbian spaces across the country, a graveyard of empty buildings and lost histories.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">T&rsquo;s closure forced <em>AfterEllen</em> editor <a href="http://www.afterellen.com/people/are-lesbian-bars-going-extinct" target="_blank">Trish Bendix</a> to ask what many were thinking, &ldquo;Is this the end of an era?&rdquo;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">There is certainly a &ldquo;<a href="http://femmesdelaville.tumblr.com/post/46770599323/ts-is-gone-why-should-i-stay" target="_blank">gaping hole</a>&rdquo; where the scene used to be. Like many formerly lesbian-centric neighborhoods, Andersonville is increasingly gay male and yuppie-dominated.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Formerly lady friendly bars The Closet and Big Chicks have seen an influx of male clientele crowd out the womenfolk, although Big Chicks offers nights to give feminine and queer-identified folks an inclusive space to dance and feel safe.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Doll House and Joie de Vine offer lady-centric events for queer Chicagoans, and inclusive events like Slo Mo and Chances Dances create programming for folks across gender expressions and sexualities.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Rogers Park&rsquo;s Parlour may go the furthest, The queer bar offers events ranging from hip-hop nights to events for lipstick femmes.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">In an interview with <em><a href="http://thelstop.org/2012/01/the-women-behind-parlour/" target="_blank">The L Stop</a></em>, Parlour co-owner Jennifer Murphy stated that her goal is to &ldquo;impact [not just] the lesbian community but the GLBT community as a whole.&rdquo;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">As a response to the transphobia and marginalization reported in spaces like the Michigan Womyn&rsquo;s Festival, Murphy hopes to rethink female space.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&ldquo;It has been our intention not to create boundaries within genders and sexuality,&rdquo; Murphy said. &ldquo;Parlour is here to explore and open minds to new and exciting experiences.&rdquo;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Slo Mo&rsquo;s Kristen Kaza argued that roller derby leagues, meetup events and concerts have taken the place of the traditional bar scene.&nbsp; Kaza <a href="http://www.timeoutchicago.com/restaurants-bars/74870/where-the-girls-are" target="_blank">told <em>Time Out Chicago</em></a> that bars aren&rsquo;t as &ldquo;relevant&rdquo; for modern women as they were their queer predecessors or the same way they are men.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&ldquo;Gay male bars receive significantly higher traffic because the men are usually there for the main purpose of meeting and possibly hooking up, and gay women often need an additional, or just alternative, motivation,&rdquo; she said.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Cassandra Avenatti, an influential organizer cited as one of <em>The L Stop</em>&rsquo;s &ldquo;<a href="http://thelstop.org/2013/03/top-ten-chicago-lesbians-to-look-out-for-in-2013-2/" target="_blank">lesbians to watch out for</a>,&rdquo; argued that changing views on LGBT folks might be a factor in lesbian bars&rsquo; relevance too.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&ldquo;With the increased acceptance of queerness in mainstream culture, some queer folks might feel less compelled to frequent gay social spaces,&rdquo; Avenatti said. &ldquo;There may be less of a feeling of necessity or urgency around queer bars.&rdquo;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">In a piece published last month on <em>The L Stop</em>, Avenatti argued that while queer women have been more active in the public sphere as organizers and activists, the lack of community spaces for women has moved female sex into the margins.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Avenatti said, &ldquo;I can&rsquo;t count how many times I&rsquo;ve been asked [...], &ldquo;What do women do in bed?&rsquo;&rdquo;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Avenatti said terms like &ldquo;lesbian bed death&rdquo; give folks the mistaken impression that women &ldquo;hold hands and talk about puppies.&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">She worries that even health providers have a profound lack of knowledge when it comes to lesbian intercourse, often feeling they don&rsquo;t have to address safer sex practices with queer female patients.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&ldquo;If health care providers have little to no knowledge about the ways in which queer women have sex, they cannot appropriately counsel women on risk reduction,&rdquo; she said.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Women who have sex with women (WSW) are <a href="http://std.about.com/od/stdsspecificcommunities/a/lesbiansafesex.htm" target="_blank">at risk of STDs</a>, and although some resources exist, there isn&rsquo;t the same community solidarity around sexual health issues there is for gay men. According to Avenatti, questions on &ldquo;women&rsquo;s sexual health practices have remained largely unaddressed.&rdquo;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Avenatti argues more sex websites or bathhouses in the community could improve the conversation on female sex.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">For gay men, websites like Grindr and Scruff allow users to connect with each other in a space that allows them to express their sexuality. But among queer women, Avenatti said&nbsp; &ldquo;the pervading idea [is] that if you are interested in casual or anonymous sex, you are that kind of girl.&rdquo;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&ldquo;Many women are socialized to view their sexual desire (and bodies) as negative or dangerous, and are instructed to keep their longing private, suppressed,&rdquo; Avenatti said. &ldquo;We are not allowed space to unapologetically explore our needs and claim sexual liberty, and many of us have internalized a degree of shame about our sexuality and our bodies.&rdquo;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">A first step to change that? Avenatti believes women need a bathhouse for public sex.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">For the past two decades, a bathhouse for queer women and transfolks has operated in Toronto&rsquo;s gayborhood, <a href="http://contests.eyeweekly.com/eye/issue/issue_12.10.98/music/CCbruce10.php" target="_blank">known as</a> the &ldquo;bathhouse capital of the world.&rdquo; Called the Pleasure Palace (or &ldquo;Pussy Palace&rdquo;), organizers <a href="http://www.academia.edu/579384/Reclaiming_raunch_Spatializing_queer_identities_at_Toronto_womens_bathhouse_events" target="_blank">saw the event</a> as a way to address the dearth of opportunities for &ldquo;women to develop a sexual imagination, literature, techniques, art or knowledge.&rdquo;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">In a study of the Pleasure Palace, Catherine Nash and Alison Bain argue it&rsquo;s about more than sex.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&ldquo;The bathhouse is more than just a building, a space or an &lsquo;event&rsquo;. It can be interpreted as a sexual sanctuary, a safe-haven, a second-home to some, a hiding place to others,&rdquo; they wrote.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Similar <a href="http://older.unews.ca/story/item/shedogs-bathhouse-an-experiment-in-loving-our-bodies/" target="_blank">events in Halifax</a>, like She Dogs, offer female attendees workshops on sex practices including how-to demonstrations.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Gay male bathhouses often act as spaces of exclusion, throwing out trans visitors if patrons complain. Pleasure Palace has a zero tolerance policy for transphobia, and Avenatti feels that is crucial to its success.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&ldquo;Many of the &lsquo;women only&rsquo; spaces that exist have organizers that define what they feel a woman is and allow attendance only by those who fit their definition,&rdquo; Avenatti said. &ldquo;A queer women&rsquo;s bathhouse event [should] be open to anyone who [identifies] as a woman, period.&rdquo;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Although many in the queer community feel that female-centric spaces affirm the binary, dismissing those who don&rsquo;t fit the ricategories, Avenatti &ldquo;wholeheartedly&rdquo; disagrees.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&ldquo;Women-positive, women-centric spaces can be incredibly powerful and healing,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Spaces in which women, all women, can finally exhale, not worry about street harassment and other gender-based violence and exist in a space that affirms their experiences are essential.&rdquo;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">As female spaces rapidly disappear, Avenatti believes that these kinds of experiences for women are as &ldquo;important and relevant&rdquo; as ever. She said she would love to see a Pleasure Palace event spring up in Chicago as a way to celebrate a new era of sex-positive community building by giving folks a safe space to explore and challenge sexuality.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&ldquo;I have had incredibly positive experiences with public spaces where nudity was required, like saunas,&rdquo; Avenatti said. &ldquo;Being in spaces where people did not react to nakedness or the thousand different, beautifully strange bodies was so life and body-affirming. I want everyone to have the opportunity to feel this way.&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>Nico Lang writes about LGBTQ life in Chicago. You can find Nico on<a href="http://www.facebook.com/nicorlang"> Facebook</a>,<a href="http://www.twitter.com/nico_lang"> Twitter</a> and<a href="http://achatwithnicolang.tumblr.com"> Tumblr</a>.</em></div></p> Tue, 14 May 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-05/trip-pleasure-palace-why-chicago-needs-bathhouses-women-107151 What gay sounds like: The linguistics of LGBTQ communities http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/what-gay-sounds-linguistics-lgbtq-communities-99994 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/GaysTheWord.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>There are no language markers common to all homosexual or same-sex identified individuals. But just as ethnic communities have ways of using language that tie them together, so too do many in the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) communities.</p><p>Many also find it beneficial to code switch - adapt the way they speak and the language they use - depending on their surroundings.</p><p>William Leap, an anthropology professor at American University in Washington, D.C., coined the term &quot;Lavender Linguistics&quot; to describe the study of language used by LGBTQ speakers.</p><p>He is one of the organizers of an annual <a href="http://www.american.edu/cas/anthropology/lavender-languages/" target="_blank">Lavender Languages and Linguistics Conference</a> on the subject of how sexuality and gender identity relate to language.</p><p>Host Richard Steele interviewed Leap last week about who decides what gay sounds like and why the words we use to identify ourselves and others are so important.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 11 Jun 2012 14:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/front-center/what-gay-sounds-linguistics-lgbtq-communities-99994 Film series at Chicago Filmmakers focuses on lesbian films http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/film-series-chicago-filmmakers-focuses-lesbian-films <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Coquie Hughes.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Dyke Delicious Screening Series starts Saturday at <a target="_blank" href="http://chicagofilmmakers.org/cf/index.php">Chicago Filmmakers</a> with some films by local independent filmmaker <a target="_blank" href="http://seetruepeace.com/">Coquie Hughes</a>, including her latest, &quot;<a target="_blank" href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1774499/">My Mama Says Yo Mama&rsquo;s a Dyke</a>.&quot; Hughes makes films covering a range of topics: lesbian love, motherhood, even the difference between good and evil. And, she does it all on a shoestring budget.</p><p>Hughes joined &quot;Eight Forty-Eight's&quot; Alison Cuddy to explain how she does all <br />&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 06 Jan 2011 16:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/film-series-chicago-filmmakers-focuses-lesbian-films Mell plans to marry in Iowa, despite civil unions bill http://www.wbez.org/story/civil-unions/deb-mell-gay-marriage-vs-civil-unions <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/gay cake toppers_0.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Illinois State Representative Deb Mell says she plans to marry fiancée Christin Baker in Iowa, despite the likely passage of a civil unions bill next year.</p> <div>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re thrilled and grateful, obviously,&rdquo; Mell said about the law. &ldquo;But we really want that marriage license.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="../../../../../../story/civil-unions/civil-unions-bill-heads-illinois-senate">The Illinois Senate passed a bill</a> last week that would approve civil unions for gay and lesbian couples. Governor Quinn has said he will sign the bill, which is expected to land on his desk sometime in January of 2011.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Mell comes from one of Illinois&rsquo; political dynasties; her father is 33rd Ward Alderman Dick Mell and her sister is Patti Mell Blagojevich. She is also a lesbian who has openly discussed her personal stake in the issue of gay marriage. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m not even thrilled about civil unions,&rdquo; said Mell during <a href="../../../../../../story/culture/lifestyle/know-gay-marriage-debate">a talk at the Chicago History Museum in September</a>. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ll be quite honest - I want access to the institution of marriage.&rdquo; Mell got engaged to her girlfriend Christin this year, and announced the engagement from the House floor.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Some gay rights advocates are celebrating the likely passage of the law, calling the bill a practical compromise in a political climate that may not have produced a gay marriage bill. Others, like WBEZ.org&rsquo;s Vocalo blogger Achy Obejas, <a href="../../../../../../blog/achy-obejas/civil-unions-some-kinda-legal">call the victory bittersweet</a>, arguing that the new law will grant gay couples &ldquo;all the rights of marriage except one: the ability to call their union what it really is.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><a href="../../../../../../blog/justin-kaufmann/roll-call-how-your-lawmaker-voted-civil-unions">Mell voted in favor</a> of the civil unions bill, despite whatever reservations she may have had. Speaking with great emotion in her voice, she urged her colleagues to vote &ldquo;yes&rdquo; for the measure during the debate on the floor of the Illinois House.&nbsp;&ldquo;I assure you we are a family and we deserve the same rights that you enjoy,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Today with your yes vote, Christin and I can become family under the law.&rdquo;</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div>Mell says she and Baker plan to marry in Iowa, where she went to college and where gay marriage became legal in 2009. And in the audio excerpt posted above, Mell explains why marriage is fundamentally different to her, her partner and their families, and shares the story of their engagement. The story is taken from her September talk at the <a href="http://www.chicagohs.org/">Chicago History Museum</a>, which was moderated by Laura Washington. The protagonists may be unorthodox, but it&rsquo;s a classic proposal story, right down to the part where she hides the ring in the crème brulee.</div> <div>&nbsp;</div> <div><em><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range">Dynamic Range</a> showcases hidden gems unearthed from Chicago Amplified's vast archive of public events and appears on weekends. Rep. Mell's talk at the </em><a href="http://www.chicagohs.org/"><em>Chicago History Museum</em></a><em> took place in September of 2010 and was recorded by </em><a href="../../../../../../amplified"><em>Chicago Amplified</em></a><em>. Click </em><a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/wbez/id364380278" target="_blank"><em>here</em></a><em> to subscribe to the Dynamic Range podcast, and click </em><a href="../../../../../../story/culture/lifestyle/know-gay-marriage-debate"><em>here</em></a><em> for the full conversation with Rep. Mell. </em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Correction: an earlier version of this story misspelled Ms. Baker's name.</em></div> <p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 10 Dec 2010 22:46:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/civil-unions/deb-mell-gay-marriage-vs-civil-unions Life in rural communities for gay youth http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/life-rural-communities-gay-youth <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2010-October/2010-10-28/rainbow flag.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A neighborhood like Chicago&rsquo;s Boystown is a fairly safe--even welcoming--urban space for gay youth. But, not all gay, lesbian, transgender, bisexual and questioning teens are eager to flee the farm for life in the big city.</p><p>Mary Gray is a sociologist and associate professor <a href="http://www.indiana.edu/~cmcl/faculty/gray.shtml">Indiana University in Bloomington</a>. She spent time with rural gay youth for her She documents their experiences in her book <em><a href="http://www.queercountry.fromthesquare.org/">Out in the Country: Youth, Media and Queer Visibility in Rural America</a>.</em> Gray learned that city life doesn&rsquo;t always equal easy life for gay teens. We spoke with her about her findings.</p></p> Thu, 28 Oct 2010 13:38:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/life-rural-communities-gay-youth Understanding what gay students face on and off school grounds http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/understanding-what-gay-students-face-and-school-grounds <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2010-October/2010-10-28/gay pride_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people.</p><p>The day to day trials of adolescence prove too much for some. For those feeling marginalized or even targeted because of their sexual identity, the pressure can be even greater.</p><p>Over the past few months there have been a number of cases where young students &ndash; either gay or thought to be gay - killed themselves, reportedly after being bullied by their peers.</p><p>So, what should we be doing to help? And what is life like for gay teens locally?</p><p>Now to find out what resources are available, we spoke with a few people who work directly to combat harassment of gay youth.&nbsp; Shannon Sullivan is executive director of the <a href="http://www.illinoissafeschools.org/">Illinois Safe Schools Alliance</a>. The group works with schools across the state to provide a safe environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trangender and questioning youth.</p><p>We also talked with two students involved in their schools&rsquo; <a target="_blank" href="http://www.gsanetwork.org/">gay straight alliances</a>: Anna Rangos is a senior at <a href="http://www.south.maine207.org/">Maine South High School</a> and Britney Fryer is a senior at <a href="http://www.wpcp.org/dnn/">Walter Peyton College Prep</a>.</p></p> Thu, 28 Oct 2010 13:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/understanding-what-gay-students-face-and-school-grounds