Bridging the Gap – LGBT Chicago Center Race Issue



I was listening to my favorite podcast, Feast of Fools,  and one of the topics brought up was the struggles of an LGBT center in Chicago between the gay youth of color attending the center and the affluent white elderly gays living in the surrounding area.  Gary and I were involved in a similar center when we lived in a small community in Oregon. 

Interestingly enough, it was in an affluent community and we faced some similar issues as the Halsted center. There is much to do to build bridges of understanding in our communities and to understand the great value of supporting these centers.  These are often ( and literally) the only lifelines for our queer youth.

I thought I include the podcast and some commentary on center. Remember to to take time to support your local LGBT Center.

Quote from Feast of Fools (  

Click on this link to listen to the podcast :    fof-784-2008-06-20

“The success of the Center on Halsted,Chicago’s LGBT Community Center, has been met with some difficult challenges. Some of the people that need a place like the Center the most are the queer youth of color who struggle to make their place in the increasingly affluent gay bubble of Halsted street.

The well-to-do neighborhood where the Center is located isn’t sure how to react to upwards of twenty or so young black queers who congregate outside the building. This brings out some racist feelings in the local community and awkwardness on the part of the youth on how to best to relate or adapt to the area.

Poor, queer, black teenage kids, meet your white, queer older neighbors.

This is an exciting opportunity for these two distinct groups to learn from each other and grow as a whole. After all, society is changing so quickly that the “establishment” folks need to turn to the young kids to see what’s happening. And of course, young people have much to learn from their elders. What is the community going to do? can we come together to bridge the divide”

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