In 2012 I reported for four months on homeless and marginalized gay and transgender young people with Erica Demarest and Kate Sosin. The eight-week series ran in Chicago’s largest gay newspaper, The Windy City Times, under the direction of Tracy Baim, and won a Peter Lisagor Award from the Chicago Headline Club for Feature Writing. It was also nominated for an award for Outstanding Newspaper Series from the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD).
We interviewed more than 100 young people wandering around Boystown, the city’s gay neighborhood. Many had been kicked out of their homes for being gay. Others were precariously housed, living with friends, and doing sex work to keep a roof over their heads.
My contribution to the series included stories about gay teenagers who had been kicked out of their homes because of their sexuality, transgender sex workers, a church that believes homosexuality is a sin but offers hot meals to homeless LGBT youth, a homeless shelter specifically for young queer people, and a photo essay documenting the Boystown neighborhood on a weekend night from sundown to sunup. I also made regular visits to talk about the series on WBEZ’s Afternoon Shift when it was hosted by Rick Kogan.