Gender identity and drag performance: A personal video essay

Abby Parmelee, Thomas Ilalaole and Maxine Herndon

By Thomas Ilalaole Medill Reports For each queer person, our experiences and identities are as different and unique as we are. And each of us has a story about how we came to be who we are. Abby Parmelee, Maxine Herndon and I all discovered our gender identities through the power and art of drag […]

Queer fashion makes its way into the mainstream fashion market

Stevie Boi and Alexandra Merino (Photo by Michael Antonio)

By Thomas Ilalaole Medill Reports On this episode of Medill Newsmakers we take a closer look at the phenomenon that is queer fashion. Queer Fashion is fashion that exists outside the binary of fashion – it is simply fluid. Throughout history queer fashion has always had a narrative and perspective that challenges gender norms and […]

Transgender woman challenges South Africa to open a new conversation about LGBTQ+ discrimination

Photos courtesy of Nicole's Instagram (@nicole_louw_photography)

By Thomas Ilalaole Medill Reports JOHANNESBURG, South Africa According to a recent government study,  three million South Africans present themselves in a gender-non-conforming way. But in the city of Johannesburg, the LGBTQ+ community continues to struggle for acceptance. In South African society, stereotypes and expectations of masculinity are deeply ingrained, and identities that don’t exist […]

Boystown will be walking on rainbows during Pride celebrations this summer

By Thomas Ilalaole Medill Reports On North Halsted street from Melrose to Bradley, crosswalks will be adorned with rainbow colors next month just in time for the neighborhood’s Pride celebration. The Northalsted Business Alliance has planned the rainbow walks as a symbol of the LGBTQ community and also hopes it will draw more tourists to […]

Rowers in Skokie paddle in solidarity with the LGBTQ+ community

CRU rowers out on the water (CRU website)

By Thomas Ilalaole Medill Reports Chicago Rowing Union (CRU) prides itself on being one of the only LGBTQ+ inclusive rowing crews in the Midwest, and one of few in the world. Its mission is to provide a safe space for the sport of rowing for the LGBTQ+ community and its allies. CRU consists of a […]

LGBTQ+ youths in Little Village find their voice on the air

By Thomas Ilalaole Medill Reports There are many stories in the Little Village neighborhood of Chicago, but some are only recently being spoken and heard. Through a program at Yollocalli Arts Reach, two LGBTQ+ students are telling their stories — and the stories of their community — on a weekly radio show.

LGBTQ+ homeless youth take center stage

by Thomas Ilalaole Medill Reports In the basement of a Lutheran church in Lakeview is a mission of a different kind. One that brought Malia Santiago off of the streets and onto the stage.