Thursday, April 06, 2006

Chicago Gets First LGBT City Guide

(Link) Just in time for the 7th International Gay Games, an enterprising guy/gal pair has written a field guide to queer Chicago that's based on human opinions of what's actually queer-friendly rather than ads by businesses who just want gay dollars in the till.

1 comment:

LNewsEditor said...

JIC Post:
From Gay Wired

Every year thousands of gay and travelers visit Chicago for annual events such as the gay and lesbian pride parade (which attracted 440,000 participants and spectators in 2005), Northalsted Street Market Days, the International Mr. Leather competition and the Coming Out Against Cancer lesbian ball.

This year, more then ever, gays and lesbians from around the world will be flocking to Chicago when the Windy City hosts the 7th quadrennial International Gay Games in July 2006. Up until now, no single guide book has existed serving the specific needs and interests of thousands of gay and lesbian travelers to the Windy City.

The Field Guide to Gay and Lesbian Chicago, by Kathie Bergquist and Robert McDonald, (Lake Claremont Press, $15.95) is the first book to tell gay and lesbian visitors and residents where to go and what to do in the Windy City.

Field Guide Offers Opinions, Not Just Listings

Written by two long-time Chicagoans who earned their field experience while working on the information frontlines of Chicago's gay and lesbian community, The Field Guide to Gay and Lesbian Chicago offers readers more than dry listings and advertising-based content. It is a chatty, opinionated guide that tells gay and lesbians (and their friends and family) where to stay, where to go, where to play, where to pray, where to two-step and where to twelve-step in the Windy City.

The authors explain, "Chicago's gay and lesbian cultural scene has so much to offer the visitor (or resident, for that matter)... Besides two neighborhoods that are so strongly gay identified that even straight denizens admit that they live in a gay 'hood, gay life and culture in the city spreads from the farthest reaches on the north and northwest sides to the South Shore and far southwest sides of the city. This includes numerous churches encompassing virtually every denomination, a comprehensive health center, several gay weekly papers, two competitive sports leagues, a chamber of commerce and a marching band."

Nonetheless, according to the authors, the city has gotten short shrift on the national scene.

"Chicago is mentioned in all the major national gay travel guides, but we have often found these resources inaccurate, misleading, or so slanted to advertisers as to be fairly useless for anything other than leveling a crooked table. 'Who compiled that information?' we'd ask, 'And do they live on Uranus?'"

Bergquist and McDonald have lived, worked, and played in the gay midst and queer fringes of Chicago for more than thirty collective years (although you'd never guess it by looking at them!). Their experiences in Chicago include many years behind the counters of gay and lesbian identified bookstores, serving at the information front lines for gay and lesbian visitors to the city.

Combining their years of experience with more than a year of concentrated effort, The Field Guide to Gay and Lesbian Chicago is their love letter to rich and diverse gay and lesbian communities of Chicago.