Northalsted Business Alliance to Stop Promoting "Boystown" Nickname

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The Castro, Greenwich Village, West Hollywood, and many more. LGBTQ neighborhoods exist for all intersections of queer identity. Chicago's is the only gendered nickname. Systemic transphobia, racism, and sexism have plagued our neighborhood for decades, and it begins at the top, with the all-male board of the Northalsted Business Alliance. It begins with the BOYSTOWN signs down our street announcing that this neighborhood is "for the boys," though the signs hang above our diverse Legacy Walk of several LGBTQ icons in our history.

The "Boystown" nickname began in the 1990s as a joke and it is now a marketing tool used by the Northalsted Business Alliance, and perpetuates the existing social issues that deter many LGBTQ people from the neighborhood. As we all grow and reconsider our roles in perpetuating bigotry, we ask that this board reflect on the growing number of incidents in our LGBTQ spaces. One form of bigotry perpetuates others. 

Many of our transgender siblings must visit the Center on Halsted to utilize necessary resources. Many of them have experienced transphobia in the North Halsted area. Our LGBTQ siblings of color looking for inclusive bars have been met with racism. Many women frequenting and working in North Halsted businesses have been met with sexism. When police shut down the bars early after Pride in 2018, many on the Northalsted Business Alliance praised the police.

We must take measures to protect ALL of our LGBTQ siblings.

As representatives for the Brave Space Alliance said today upon withdrawing from the Activate: Chi march for Black trans lives (sponsored by the Northalsted Business Alliance and in collaboration with the Chicago Police Department), these are “white-owned businesses and institutions in Chicago that have historically upheld anti-Blackness and transphobia in the queer and trans community, and across the city... it became clear to Brave Space Alliance that we were being tokenized at the event, and deployed for clout by the organizers." North Halsted businesses and their board have tokenized people when it is convenient for their profits or image, while marketing their businesses to gay men only.

To promote the inclusion of transgender, nonbinary, lesbian, and intersex individuals, we submit this petition for the Northalsted Business Alliance to simply follow the other LGBTQ neighborhoods across the world by marketing the area based on its location, North Halsted, not the majority gender of those people who sit on the Northalsted Business Alliance board. 

This is only the beginning of the many changes needed in the North Halsted area.

Just a few recent examples of "Boystown" bigotry listed below:

https://blockclubchicago.org/2020/06/27/pride-protest-with-ties-to-boystown-businesses-canceled-after-black-and-trans-leaders-speak-out/

http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Center-on-Halsted-seeks-to-replace-Walsh-Security-after-community-pressure/67170.html

http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Progress-Bar-protesters-issue-statement-before-June-2-event/66187.html

https://blockclubchicago.org/2019/06/04/group-calls-for-beatnix-boycott-after-boystown-store-owner-called-cops-on-customers-who-complained-about-confederate-flag-vest/

https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/the-bumpy-road-from-the-stonewall-inn-to-pride-in-the-park/Content?oid=69400951

 



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