WBEZ | gay and lesbian http://www.wbez.org/tags/gay-and-lesbian Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Young man finds new hope after HIV diagnosis http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/young-man-finds-new-hope-after-hiv-diagnosis-109312 <p><p>When Justin Kelly came out to his adoptive mother, she sent him away.</p><p>But after he found out he was HIV positive two years ago, he finally found support&mdash;and a new outlook&mdash;through Chicago House, a social services agency for those affected by HIV and AIDS.</p><p>Kelly&mdash;who&rsquo;s also known by his drag moniker, Amber St. James&mdash;shared his story at Chicago House with friend Michelle Dunigan.</p><p>&quot;When I turned 12, I was starting to come to the conclusion that I was gay,&quot; Kelly said. &quot;So what my mother did, she asked me, &#39;So do you like men?&#39; she just asked me. I said, &#39;I don&rsquo;t know.&#39; So she sent me away. She sent me to an all-boys Christian camp to hide me away.&quot;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/amber st. james.jpg" style="width: 200px; height: 267px; float: right;" title="Amber St. James does drag at the Jackhammer in Rogers Park." /></p><div><p>Kelly said he didn&rsquo;t learn the lesson his adoptive mother intended. He became even more sure he liked boys, and picked up some handy survival skills to boot. Then his mother sent him to foster care.&nbsp;</p><p>A few years ago, he learned he was HIV positive.</p><p>&quot;I cried the entire way home, bawling out, crying like I found out someone was shot,&quot; he said.&nbsp;</p><p><em>To find out how Kelly&rsquo;s mother reacted, and about his hopes for his future, listen to the audio above.</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F6250422" width="100%"></iframe></p><p><em>Katie Mingle is a producer for WBEZ and the Third Coast Festival. Follow her on Twitter @katiemingle.</em></p></div><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 06 Dec 2013 08:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/young-man-finds-new-hope-after-hiv-diagnosis-109312 Happy National Coming Out Day http://www.wbez.org/blog/achy-obejas/2011-10-11/happy-national-coming-out-day-93059 <p><p>A curious thing happened when I came out a million years ago: The process repeated itself over and over, a gizillion times.</p><p>This is the thing about coming out as queer: Because most of society still defaults heterosexually, it usually means that, if we don’t say otherwise, we’re assumed straight. In other words, for those of us who are LGBTQ, the burden is on us to make clear who we are. It can really get old sometimes.</p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-11/296174_10150414722066110_702006109_10579173_1393178_n.jpg" title="" height="479" width="472"></p><p>I have been out so long and so publicly that, for the most part, I ended up coming out mostly to cab drivers making small talk who asked me if I’m married or have kids. Before last year, I’d say no to both questions and become mesmerized by my smartphone and that was that.</p><p>But I got married -- totally legally -- in August 2010 and now my answer is yes, and that brings a series of assumptions that I then feel compelled to correct.</p><p>I know, I don’t really have to. But the fact is, saying I’m married has been a distinctly surprising pleasure. I like to tell it -- a sentiment I suspect is pretty universal. And so suddenly I’m coming out a lot more.</p><p>“Yes, I am married.” <em>Wow.</em></p><p>And suddenly I’m talking about my wife -- my wife! It wasn’t a word I ever used before without irony in relation to my partners. And yet, to my amazement, it feels right. And here’s the best part: nobody blinks.</p><p>Sure, I live in Chicago, I hang out with arty and groovy folks, but I also teach at a Catholic university, have Muslim and Orthodox Jewish friends (I honest to God do) and, even if it’s out of amusement, everybody just rolls.</p><p>“My wife and I are having a son in November.”</p><p>And there’s a shower of congratulations, of kisses and best wishes. My students anxiously query about delivery dates, ask about my wife, about my family.</p><p>It’s 2011. I’m a 55 year old woman, married to a woman I adore, about to extend our queer little family.</p><p>This National Coming Out Day is the sweetest yet.</p></p> Tue, 11 Oct 2011 20:09:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/achy-obejas/2011-10-11/happy-national-coming-out-day-93059 Elmhurst College identifies sexual orientation as an opportunity to diversify http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-29/elmhurst-college-identifies-sexual-orientation-opportunity-diversify-911 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-August/2011-08-29/2995477845_8f615238d7_b.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483672-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/sites/default/files/higher ed diversity.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p>An additional box was added to student applications to<a href="http://public.elmhurst.edu/" target="_blank"> Elmhurst College</a>. Applicants can opt to answer whether they consider themselves to be a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender community. The small west suburban liberal arts school is reportedly the first college in the nation to ask applicants about their sexual orientation. The college said the move was aimed to advance diversity. So, <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> wondered how institutions of higher education measure and think about diversity nowadays. <a href="http://chronicle.com/article/Eric-Hoover/48528/" target="_blank">Eric Hoover,</a> a senior writer for <em>The Chronicle of Higher Education</em>, joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> to take a closer look at the decision.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 29 Aug 2011 13:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-29/elmhurst-college-identifies-sexual-orientation-opportunity-diversify-911 A new choice for freshman at Elmhurst College http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-29/new-choice-freshman-elmhurst-college-91174 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-August/2011-08-29/2995477845_8f615238d7_b.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Students applying to<a href="http://public.elmhurst.edu/" target="_blank"> Elmhurst College</a> now have another box to check on their applications. Applicants can opt to answer whether they consider themselves a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender community. The small west suburban liberal arts school is reported to be the first college in the nation to ask applicants about their sexual orientation. The college says this move is aimed at advancing diversity. So how are institutions of higher education measuring and thinking about diversity these days?&nbsp; <a href="http://chronicle.com/article/Eric-Hoover/48528/" target="_blank">Eric Hoover</a> joined Eight Forty-Eight to take a closer look at the decision. Hoover is a senior writer at <em><a href="http://chronicle.com/section/Home/5" target="_blank">The Chronicle of Higher Education</a></em>.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 29 Aug 2011 13:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-08-29/new-choice-freshman-elmhurst-college-91174 Indiana House could vote on amendment banning gay marriage http://www.wbez.org/story/constitution/indiana-house-could-vote-amendment-banning-gay-marriage <p><p>The Republican-controlled Indiana House could vote as early as Monday on a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage.<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br />Opponents say the amendment isn't needed because Indiana law already bans gay marriage, but supporters worry that courts could overturn that law.<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br />An amendment banning gay marriage passed the General Assembly in 2005 when Republicans controlled the House and Senate, but constitutional amendments must go through two separate Legislatures before being put to a public vote. Democrats won control of the House in 2006 and the proposal never cleared that chamber that year.<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br />The proposal has a better shot of passing now that Republicans again control both chambers. If it clears the Legislature this year, it would have to pass again in 2013 or 2014 before getting on the ballot.</p></p> Sun, 13 Feb 2011 16:16:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/constitution/indiana-house-could-vote-amendment-banning-gay-marriage County clerks begin prepping for civil unions http://www.wbez.org/story/cdata/county-clerks-begin-prepping-civil-unions <p><p>County clerks throughout Illinois are preparing to issue civil union licenses later this year. DuPage County Clerk Gary King and Lake County Clerk Willard Helander both said they're still waiting to see the specifics of the civil unions bill signed Monday by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn.</p><p>But Helander said she's already been in discussions about creating a new electronic data file to produce civil union documents.</p><p>&quot;And, as well as we do whenever we offer new or expanded services, we will revise our website, our printed brochures, our message on our telephone greeting,&quot; Helander said.</p><p>She said the cost of making these changes is nominal.<br /><br />Helander said she suspects there is some &quot;pent-up demand&quot; for civil unions and expects strong activity during the first month the law is in effect. Gay or straight couples in Illinois can enter into civil unions beginning June 1.</p></p> Tue, 01 Feb 2011 11:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/cdata/county-clerks-begin-prepping-civil-unions Senate votes to repeal DADT; DREAM Act falls short http://www.wbez.org/story/dick-durbin/repeal-dadt-moves-forward-dream-act-falls-short <p><p><em>Updated at: 10:30 a.m. on 12/19/2010</em></p><p>The Senate passed legislation Saturday that would overturn the military's 17-year-old ban on openly gay troops - a policy known as &quot;don't ask, don't tell.&quot;<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br />The final vote of 65-31 moves the bill to President Barack Obama, who says he'll sign it into law.</p><p>Both of Illinois' U.S. Senators, Democrat Dick Durbin and Republican Mark Kirk, voted in favor of repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell.</p><p>In a statement, Kirk said, &quot;I very carefully read the Joint Chiefs of Staff report and met at length with Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Gary Roughead. Following their exhaustive and considered military judgment, I&nbsp;support the Joint Chief's recommendation to implement the repeal of the current policy once the battle effectiveness of the forces is certified and proper preparations are complete.&quot;<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br />Republicans had blocked previous votes on the bill on procedural grounds. But with a major tax bill finished and a Pentagon study released in favor of repealing the ban, eight Republicans joined 55 Democrats and two independents in supporting the bill.<br /><br />Meanwhile, Senate Republicans blocked a bill to grant hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children a chance to gain legal status if they enroll in college or join the military.<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br />Sponsors of what they call the DREAM Act needed 60 Senate votes for it, but fell five short. The House passed the bill last week.<br /><br />It was a last-ditch effort to enact it before it Republicans take control of the House from Democrats in January.<br />&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp;<br />Immigrant advocates viewed the measure as a step toward providing a path to legal status for up to 12 million illegal immigrants by focusing on the most sympathetic among them first. Critics called it a back-door grant of amnesty that would encourage more illegal immigration.</p><p>Kirk joined a Republican filibuster to block the DREAM Act, legislation which is strongly supported by Durbin, the bill's chief proponent.</p></p> Sat, 18 Dec 2010 17:11:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/dick-durbin/repeal-dadt-moves-forward-dream-act-falls-short Biggert joins Illinois Democrats to repeal Don't Ask, Don't Tell http://www.wbez.org/story/news/politics/biggert-joins-illinois-democrats-repeal-dont-ask-dont-tell <p><p>The bill to repeal the Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy has passed in the U.S. House of Representatives. The plan would allow gays to serve openly in the military.<br /><br />Illinois Representative Judy Biggert was one of only 15 Republicans in the House to vote in favor of the repeal. She was the only Illinois Republican to do so.<br /><br />Biggert said she didn't look at the measure as a partisan issue.<br /><br />&quot;I think that our commanders recommended repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell because it was the right thing to do. Our goal should be to put the best soldiers possible in the field, and not just the best white soldiers or straight soldiers or brown eyed soldiers, but the best soldiers period,&quot; Biggert said.<br /><br />Fifteen House Democrats voted against the measure, but all Illinois Democrats voted with the party in support of the repeal.<br /><br />The bill still has yet to be called up for a vote in the Senate.</p></p> Thu, 16 Dec 2010 20:36:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/news/politics/biggert-joins-illinois-democrats-repeal-dont-ask-dont-tell Daley praises General Assembly for civil unions bill http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago/daley-praises-general-assembly-civil-unions-bill <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/Daley civil unions.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Mayor Richard Daley thanked the Illinois General Assembly for passing a bill authorizing civil unions in the state.<br /><br />The legislation passed this week by both the House and Senate offers gay and lesbian couples many of the same legal rights as married couples in Illinois.</p><p>&quot;I'm very happy with that,&quot; Daley said. &quot;I think finally they realized that they should have the same rights under state law which is really important, and eventually marriage will take place, it has to be. I'm very happy and pleased. I hope the governor signs it as quickly as possible. These are great citizens.&quot;</p><p>Illinois Governor Pat Quinn has said he supports civil unions.<br /><br />The measure passed by a narrow margin in both chambers.</p></p> Thu, 02 Dec 2010 19:43:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago/daley-praises-general-assembly-civil-unions-bill Meeks explains "no" vote on civil unions bill http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago/meeks-explains-no-vote-civil-unions-bill <p><p>Democratic state Sen. James Meeks, D-Chicago, said he stands by his &quot;no&quot; vote on civil unions.</p><p>Pundits say it could hurt his bid to be Chicago's next mayor because of a possible backlash from Chicago's politically-active gay and lesbian community.</p><p>&ldquo;You know, I don&rsquo;t think that a person should vote on a bill of this magnitude based on the next office,&rdquo; Meeks said. &ldquo;I think they should base their vote on what they believe. And I believe that this is a bill about marriage, and I believe that the sanctity of marriage should be protected, and it should be between a man and a woman.&rdquo;</p><p>Meeks said his stance may help win him support from voters who share his beliefs. Meeks is also a reverend who heads the Salem Baptist Church of Chicago.</p></p> Thu, 02 Dec 2010 14:05:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/chicago/meeks-explains-no-vote-civil-unions-bill