South Side Spotlight: Pride (June 2014)

SSS Larry

Each month, Ci3’s South Side Stories project will feature different digital stories in the South Side Spotlight.

In honor of Gay Pride Month, here is a rare glimpse into the lives of two young men living in Chicago.

First we feature Aaron’s story, “Black Rainbows”, in which he talks about the North Side gay community and the South Side African American community. The motif of the train is a powerful symbol of moving between separate worlds.  A number of issues arise through his words—Gay Pride, Black Pride, segregation, discrimination, belonging—as he asks “Why isn’t Black a color on the rainbow?”

The second is Larry’s story, “Inside/Out”, in which he talks about the relief and anxiety of disclosing one’s sexual orientation to parents and family. “Anticipation haunts me.” Sounds— long pauses, a phone ringing, a warm voice, a sigh of relief—illustrate how uneasiness and happiness coexist. Despite her kind reaction, Larry still states “no mother wants a gay son.”

Together, the stories highlight the importance of identity, resilience, and acceptance among African American gay youth and the larger LGBT community. We thank the authors for sharing their stories and honor their pride.

South Side Stories aims to raise the voices of African American youth ages 13-24 living on the South Side of Chicago, and create an innovative body of social science research and education to better inform community members who work with youth. South Side Stories is made possible through the generous support of the Ford Foundation.

For more about the project, visit


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