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Ideas, Place »

c. Julie Michelle (http://iliveheresf.com/?p=1988)

“I also want to go to Boystown while I’m here,” was my next suggestion.

“The neighborhood has changed,” Adia, a Boystown resident, told me in a cautious, you-better-watch-out tone.

“I know,” I replied. “It’s in every local paper.” On Independence Day eve, a man was stabbed on Halsted right between Roscoe Street and Belmont. The incident involved a horde of African-Americans, dashing and shouting, and a bystander catching it on tape and posting it on YouTube. It seems social media is not a cure for Genovese syndrome.

“I grew up there, my mom still lives there, and as an African-American, it just makes me sad to see it all go down in my neighborhood,” Whitney said.

The video rekindled tensions, racial or otherwise, and launched another round of finger pointing in the gay community. On one side, the mostly white local residents and business owners who cited crime as the main concern and went insofar as to creating a Facebook page, Take Back Boystown. On the other side, the urban youth advocates who defend the Center on Halsted’s community services for queer kids of color.

Ideas, Zack's Ramblings »


Well, folks, I’m done. After ten days of heart palpitations, sleepless nights and scraping my bowls for resin because near-unemployment (and living in DC) leaves me unable and unwilling to just buy more weed, I’m finally hitting the ol’ dusty trail. I wanted this post to be in before the weekend started and I wanted it to be long and poignant. I wanted it excepted in “Chicken Soup for the Alt-Fag Soul.” I wanted it to make you weep. But none of that ended up being possible, so I’m just going to tell you my final thoughts as I leave TNG.

Politics »


To be sure, acting out is unhealthy and oftentimes illegal. However, it is understandable in this context. It is the responsibility of those with resources, not only money but common sense and decency, to make all areas welcoming to our gay kids. It is also our responsibility to let all community members know that illegal acts, particularly violence, can result in jail, prison, and sometimes even disability or death. People who violate these shared social norms against violence have to face the penalty, whether the violence occurs on the south side or the north side and this must be made clear in a healthy way. A healthy way in this instance would be an avenue that lets these kids know that if they think it is bad here, it is even worse in jail and that the inequality they experience now will be much worse with a criminal record. These are the facts. We need to take an honest inventory of our city and our gay community and confront the social problems we see head on with common sense and inclusivity. We are all a part of that sometimes silly rainbow, made up of a diversity of colors, cultures and voices. Let’s take care of our own wherever they live in order to make our entire community a safer, healthier environment and make racism and homophobia relics of the past.

Ideas, In Case You Missed It »

c. Wikimedia Commons

The Week in Review is usually marks the time in the publishing schedule when we escape, however briefly, the deadening gravity of queer self-analysis to comment on broader, more lighthearted subjects: war, political violence, hate speech, the apocalypse. This week we can afford no such levity: Zack Rosen, TheNewGay’s Co-founder and Editor-in-Chief, announced this Wednesday that he’ll be stepping down from his post after more than four years of dedicated service. From all of us who have struggled and sweated underneath you for hours on end, often into the small hours of morning, fueled by nothing but cheap stimulants and the magnetism of your personality: Thank you Zack. You will be greatly fucking missed. Incidentally it was an honor to work for you at the blog.

Columns, Not Your Average Prom Queen, Place »

Photo Credit: Wiki Commons

The area of Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood nicknamed Boystown has evolved over time into a gay Mecca. It is a part of the city where men holding hands on the street is commonplace, and most businesses proudly display HRC or rainbow stickers in the windows. It is the home to the annual Chicago Gay Pride Parade. Gay bars and clubs are a part of the draw, but the neighborhood is also home to a beautiful LGBT community center that offers meeting space, programming and events. Unfortunately, for the same reasons that make Boystown a great place to visit, this gay watering hole is host to much more serious LGBT related issues.

Ideas »


My real concern is about how our community defines violence and who we label as criminals. Boystown residents are scared for their lives, but many of them have instant access to safety. For instance, has anyone spoke about the fact that this highly-circulated video of the public Boystown stabbing was shot on a small camera, by the owners standing on their private balcony. They weren’t in any harm’s way. But if you read most news reports, it would seem that the residents of Boystown were under direct attack. While robberies and muggings occur, a majority of the fighting is not only black on black, but gay on gay crime. I reluctantly share that a lot of illegal activity happens all the time in Boystown (and in most gay spaces in general.) Who is able to get away with it is a different story, and there’s a big difference on the types of bodies policed.

Music, TNG, TNG TV »

Kitchen-sink indie pop band Go! Team is a TNG favorite for many reasons. Most have to do with frontwoman/rapper/human-energizer-bunny Ninja. A frenetic, compelling live performer akin to Gallagher having a PCP freakout and taking his hammer to a Meerkat den, Ninja’s ability to engage a crowd is staggering. Her charm and personality are staggering too, as displayed here, but what you don’t know is that the woman is toned to the point where she makes Madonna look like a used condom full of rice pudding. Seriously: If I could do a second interview that consisted entirely of me grating cheese on her abs, I’d do it.

Politics »


What this means in the context of this post, and hopefully to real world situations is that the queer community was born out of the diversity and out of riot and against oppression and patriarchy. But during times of war or massive upheavel, there are pretty unnoticeable things that people proclaim under the banner of Patriotism that is both deeply classed, racialized and sexualized. And during those times, homonormativity is asked by the queer community to be considered as good queer citizens. But homornortamvity is standing room only and the word can only encompass so few people deemed worthy of national recogntion.

Pride »

c. Shando Davis, TNG Flikr

At this point in your journey you think the hardest part about being a gay kid in an exclusively straight environment is that you don’t have a template to model your life after. There is no one to show you what you can hope for or what you should steer away from. No one to take you by the hand and assure you that everything will turn out fine. Blind and unguided, you’re left to fend for yourself, to piece together a good life when you have no idea what a good life is supposed to be for a gay black man.

Action »


On March 16th I had the amazing pleasure of being part of a truly organic and spontaneous rally against a republican fundraiser for Scott Walker. If you havent heard, we spilled out into the streets and decided to march to the White House, and then to the US Chamber of Commerce. For a short period of time we occupied both the building housing the fundraiser and the USCC. Quite simply, this is an incredible time for progressives and people even further left (such as myself).