Due to some of the backlash of this article I decided to include a small intro. I want to apologize immensely if I have or will offend anyone reading this article. I would hate for anyone to think that I have some sort of hollow fascination with the gay community. I want to open honest communication and understanding. What I want you to focus on is the issue of why it is o.k. to profile a group of people and thus deny them or wish to deny them entry into a specific area of Chicago? And try to put yourself in that group's shoes. How would it feel if you were outwardly told you don't belong in a certain part of town? I originally wanted to delete some of the post but felt as if it would be as if I spilled the paint and tried to hide my hands. So I left it up and instead struck out the things I would have chosen to be deleted.
I recently posted an article on one of my many visits to Chicago's Boystown. It all seemed so simple. I, mean, I've been there dozens of times through the years. I was merely putting it in print form. The article titled Babes in Boystown was catchy and clever to me. It had never occurred to me that the piece would be met with resistance. But I was rather shocked to see this message in my blog account email:
One of the scourges of Boystown is the gaggle of straight women touring the gay bars, perhaps as a bridal party, acting as they're at the zoo, staring and pointing when two guys are together, dancing, perhaps kissing, anything you'd see a straight couple doing at a straight bar.
Please, if you're not here with a gay man (or woman) -- and I've lived in the heart of Boystown for many years -- stick to the straight bars. Let us have OUR space.
BTW, I note your column has no way to post comments. Interesting.
Now, I won't play naive to the game. I know the climate of Chicago. I've been here all my life. We almost thrive off separation and the idea of true unification amongst the different blocks, neighborhoods, sides, barrios, towns and hoods is pretty much the highest form of optimism but I thought...I don't know... that there were some places that a big booming black woman could find some comfort, especially in Boystown.
The thing is I do understand the struggle. Unfortunately not everyone in the city is racially and culturally sensitive and don't always speak in PC term. There are a few of my kind ('straights') that come into Boystown like they own the damn place, act like complete idiots and ultimately act like they don't realize that it is perfectly alright for a grown man to publicly make out with another grown man. I for one as a single woman would feel nothing but envy really seeing as I haven't had a decent make out session since Obama started his first term.
Completely understanding of all this I still don't like the connotation that as a straight woman I am somehow barred from entry into Boystown or must be offered some sort of "gay pass" by accompanying a proper homosexual into that area of town. It just feels so antebellum South, so Jim Crow, so slave papers to me. And I know that might be a stretch, but think about it. If we took out "gay" and replaced it with "white" or "black" or any other race would it be any different? Would it still hurt? Would it still be trouncing on other people's rights? I don't know you make the call. I for one can say if you know me, I may like boys but I for one am just as gay on the inside as anyone else and you can't tell me I'm not. I attend PRIDE functions. I love my friends both gay and straight and I make sure I support ALL people. And I won't be run out of Boystown because one
"queen" decided to have a little fit.
Here was my response:
Whoa, whoa, whoa. First off, I do have a comments section you would have to log in with facebook. Secondly, everything you said in that message is complete garbage. I'm not some boozed up bride-to-be completely ignorant to gay culture. While I admit I am a straight woman there's no one including you who can tell me I don't share a common ground with the homosexual community. I fought alongside gay and lesbians to fight for equality for ALL people. I'm not some ditsy fangirl looking to stare at same sex loving people like a circus act. I go there because I feel comfortable being myself. And I thought that's what Boystown was about. People who share the same loves and ideals to come together and party. Do you realize that if you had based this on color it'd be the equivalent to racism? Yea, us straights should stick with our kind. Do you live in the stoneage? I just can't believe after all these years to fight for understanding I would receive an email like this.
One of the reasons I have such a strong connection to the gay culture is because when I was in college that was the first group of people to welcome me. My first mixer on campus was a PRIDE meeting and it felt so cool to have people that were into the same things as me like musicals and other obscure things that was deemed "uncool" for a black girl to like. Ever since then I've made it my business to support the gay community and my hope for my article was to get more people to support Boystown. I don't think Boystown needs the help of a lone straight woman to get acceptance but what's wrong with someone saying, "Hey, I'm straight but I love Boystown!" I can't change your mind if that's how you feel. But I assure you I don't back down from ignorance and I don't plan on it now. I'll keep going to Boystown and paying my money to do what I want. If anyone other than the staff has a problem with it then it's just that, their problem.
Again, I am aware and understanding of the sensitivity by the homosexual community at not being allowed the same rights to marriage and free expression. And I don't believe we as straight people should shove it in their faces. (So bridal parties, you might want to leave the streamers and banners at home) But when do we as humans stop looking at the differences and focus on the commonalities between us?
Where do you stand on this issue? Gay or straight we want to hear from you! Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and visit our Facebook page at facebook.com/4StarExplorer and don't forget to "like" us!