Monday, May 21, 2007

No room at the inn? And a "swellegant" time with Debbie and Iggy

A Chicago woman claims she was denied a bed at a homeless shelter last November because she's a lesbian. The women, Michelle Wang, had recently moved to Chicago from Indianapolis with her then-partner, and started a new retail job. The relationship went south and, with no savings, she ended up sleeping on the streets until finally deciding to go to a caseworker for help. She called the New Life Ministries shelter in Rogers Park and, after revealing she was a lesbian (she "didn't want to lie"), was put on hold and then told there were no beds available.

A complaint was filed with the ACLU and investigation turned up that there were two beds available the day Wang called. The director of the ministry that operates the shelter says that it was a clerical misunderstanding and not a case of discrimination, and also that he's a lifelong member of the ACLU.

This could be true--it certainly could have been an honest mistake. I sure hope so. And I know how chaotic it is in that environment. The Howard Street area is notorious for its seediness, even with all this "renewal" they have going on--waiting for a bus was always an adventure for me when I first came here years ago, especially before they rebuilt the CTA stops a few years ago. I think lesbians are the least of their worries.

(Oh, and Ms. Wang, happily, has found an apartment in Humboldt Park, according to the article. In case you wondered.)


For a Monday pick-me-up, check out this terrific little video from Debbie Harry and Iggy Pop. Released in 1991, "Well Did You Evah" is from the AIDS benefit album "Red Hot + Blue," a compilation of Cole Porter tribute covers. I'd heard the song many times, but hadn't seen the video before. Very funny and clever, and classically Debbie (she and Iggy pull a bank heist at one point, and are seen shopping for cheap dog food, all while discussing the ritzy places they go to).

This song also introduced me to the word "swellegant." I think that's my favorite made-up word, after "craptastic."


Blogger Yesenia said...

Hi! Thanks for blogging about this story. I'm not a lawyer, I just think it's important to start bringing to light what GLBT youth have to deal with on a daily basis.

2:47 PM  
Blogger Stephen Rader said...

Ok, I'm saying in advance this is crass, but... a lesbian... named Wang... there's a good joke in there somewhere, right?

4:48 PM  
Anonymous Ed said...

Swellegant craptastic, great words here's another, Shitaco, love it.
Here in small town USA lesbians seem to be tolerated quite well. It is the gay guys they can't stand. The hyopcrites can't get past anal sex because it is so demeaning. Yet, they often expect there women to submit to it. Double standard?

8:22 PM  
Blogger Aaron said...

Stephen: I wasn't going to go there. Thank you for forcing me. :-)

Ed: It IS the anal sex thing that bothers them, plus they tolerate lesbeans a little better because a part of those stupid fucking men STILL fantasize about being a "third" if you catch my drift. I wonder how many of them happened upon Aileen Wuornos and her one-toothed friend.

12:06 AM  

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