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You’re Invited: Building LGBTQ-Inclusive Spaces In Chicago

On June 16, join Block Club for a virtual conversation with queer activists Abhijeet, Jo MaMa and Milani Varela about inclusivity within Chicago’s LGBTQ community.

This year marks two years since thousands of Drag March for Change protesters flooded the streets of Northalsted, Chicago’s landmarked LGBTQ neighborhood, calling for a reckoning of the city’s queer community.

Northalsted, colloquially known as Boystown, has long been regarded as a safe space for LGBTQ people — but the neighborhood has had instances of anti-Black discrimination and other forms of racism, including discriminatory dress codes and Black DJs being told to play less hip-hop music.

At the same time, there are many LGBTQ people in Chicago putting in the work to build a safer and more inclusive community. We want to celebrate their contributions.

Join us 7 p.m. June 16 for virtual conversation on inclusivity within the LGBTQ community with Abhijeet, an inclusive party planner and producer for A Queer Pride; Jo MaMa, founder of the Chicago Black Drag Council; and Milani Varela, ambassador for the CDC’s Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign.

This free event will stream live on our YouTube channel and will be moderated by our own Jake Wittich, who covers Lakeview, Lincoln Park and LGBTQ communities.

We hope you’ll click here to RSVP for this event.

Meet The Panelists

Abhijeet
She/They
Abhijeet is a drag performer and events producer in Chicago who organizes inclusive parties for A Queer Pride. As the producer of monthly party Boots and the Dim Sum & Drag brunch at Furama, Abhijeet has years of experience creating welcoming spaces for the entire LGBTQ community.

Jo MaMa
They/Them
Jo MaMa is a drag queen, photographer, bartender and activist who co-founded the Chicago Black Drag Council, an organization advocating for racial justice and inclusivity within Chicago’s LGBTQ nightlife scene. MaMa has organized the Drag March for Change protest, which returns June 12 for the third year.

Milani Varela
She/Her
Milani Varela is a gender nonconforming drag queen activist and former mother of the House Of Ninja. Varela is the reigning Diosa Latina Illinois, ambassador for the CDC’s Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign, and she has used her platform to advocate for inclusivity within Chicago’s queer community.