"Our Chicago: Celebrating Pride" looks at the people and the stories that comprise the LGBTQ+ tapestry in Chicago, while also exploring some of the top-of-mind issues important to the community.
Up first, a look at the transition from the name of Chicago neighborhood Boystown to Northalsted in an effort to reflect inclusivity of lesbians, transgender people and people of color. Although the name-change announcement was made in September 2020, only recently have banners with the new monikers lined the streets.
Pride: Trans model gives back
Alexis Abarca, a well-known advocate for transgender rights shares her inspiring story. She grew up in Chicago and transitioned in high school but faced so much bullying she flunked out of school. Fast-forward to today where she in not only a model but serves as a Trans Youth HIV Prevention Manager at Howard Brown Health.
Pride: The Baton Show Lounge
Next, the Baton Show Lounge in the Uptown neighborhood gets a shoutout for a stunning 52-year run on the Chicago entertainment scene. Owner Jim Flint shares his favorite moments running one of the longest entertainment shows of its kind in the country, showcasing female impersonators, trans and drag performers. The Peoria native reveals how he started it all with beer crates and a plywood stage, and went on to build a business that entertained some of the biggest names in Hollywood including Joan Crawford, Sammy Davis Jr., Janet Jackson and Madonna. Also, LGBTQ+ business owners talk to reporter Jason Knowles about the impact of the pandemic on their businesses and what they have done to remain open and successful.
Pride: Queer Radio
Anna DeShawn gives insight from her own personal story. She sits on the board of Affinity Community Services, a 25-year-old, South Side-based group for lesbians, bisexual and trans women. DeShawn talks about founding E3 Radio, a network for queer podcasts and her next venture launching an app to give LGBTQ+ artists a platform.
Hank Mendheim is the executive producer of "OUR CHICAGO: CELEBRATING PRIDE"; Holly Grisham, Justyna Syska and Danny Tag are the producers.
About ABC7/WLS-TV Chicago
ABC7/WLS-TV Chicago is the No. 1 local news source and most-watched television station in Chicago. With top-rated daily newscasts spanning decades and the largest social media presence in the market with more than 2.3 million Facebook followers, ABC7 Eyewitness News provides breaking news, investigative reporting, weather, politics, traffic and sports in the multiplatform space to Chicago, the suburbs and northwest Indiana. Named Best News Operation by the Associated Press for four consecutive years, the station produces 41 hours of local news weekly and Chicago's only local weekday entertainment talk show, "Windy City LIVE," as well as its highest-rated New Year's Eve special. ABC7's award-winning programs such as "Our Chicago" showcase the city's diversity, while being the only Chicago station producing and broadcasting parades representing Chicago's rich cultural history. In addition to producing town halls focused on current social issues, the station has a long and proud tradition of broadcasting political candidate debates keeping Chicago's electorate informed. ABC7's outreach efforts include annual partnerships with the Red Cross for life-saving blood drives and, most recently, spearheading an effort to raise more than $1.5 million for area food pantries.