Last week, I discussed the first of two emerging themes that relate to the changing status of queer people in American society. The first is that Boystown is a commercial destination, not a community, or at least it is perceived that way by some. The second that I am going to discuss today is “be careful what you wish for.”
Queer people have been fighting for acceptance and equal rights for decades. What does acceptance mean though? Do we assimilate or do we maintain a separate community? Are we just like everyone else or is there something special to being queer?
Adam and I were stuffed into a small booth in a local greasy spoon. The waitress in her oversized grey T-shirt sauntered over to ask us if we wanted anymore coffee. Against my better judgment, I took another cup, although Adam waved it away.
“It’s like a mall.” He told me. “You go to shop at the mall. You go to hang out at the mall. You don’t live at the mall.”
Once Debby and her fiancé finally parked their car—somehow, even though we were the ones that walked, Jay and I beat them there—the four of us busted into the club. Circuit was hosting Urbano, the self-described “hottest Black and Latino Gay (LGBT/ SGL) parties in Chicago.” They had all been here before, and I was excited to be there for the first time. I paid my 10 dollar cover—the most expensive on the strip—and walked quickly to catch up with Jay and the others who had already started to march towards the back of the club.
Chicago can be an expensive city. Especially in an area that’s in late-stage gentrification (a topic I shall take up in a post soon), apartment prices, restaurants, and even groceries can be more expensive than what I was used to living in Madison. Although we’re not talking about New York City prices, doing an ethnography in a gentrified area can be a challenge, especially if you want to live in the area.