The Intersections

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                            HIV/AIDS cases on the wise in Will                                  County     
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                             OPINION: LGBT education is not a                                   subject for young kids


                         
                              Will County community members talk                               favorite holiday traditions 



                            LGBTQs and guns: national                                              organization helps arm LGBTQ                                        people       



      HIV/AIDS         CASES ON       THE RISE IN
 WILL COUNTY

      AS ILLINOIS PROMOTES A             GET TO ZERO CAMPAIGN,            A LOCAL ORGANIZATION                   IS WORKING WITH A                GROWING POPULATION.

     By Gretchen Rachel Hammond 
Agape Mission Executive Director  Jill. A. Skole (left) pictured accepting community donations alongside a police officer. 
​Photo courtesy of Agape Missions  
For the over a quarter century since it was founded by a group of                parents, nuns and parishioners, Agape Missions has taken the lead in          area HIV/AIDS care, prevention and general counseling. Serving over            140 people each year, the organization is the only agency in Will                    County which provides medical case management for people living              with HIV/AIDS.

Its ceaseless work for a population which still faces monumental                  challenges was made fundamentally clear on Dec. 1 when Agape                  marked World AIDS Day with an open house at its Joliet headquarters.
   
Themed Increasing Impact through Transparency, Accountability and        Partnerships, the sixth annual event was designed to raise “awareness      and [bring] professionals together to improve the lives of individuals          living with HIV/AIDS.”

The event included free testing, displayed banners of people lost to            HIV/AIDS alongside a bracelet and red ribbon giveaway.

Jill. A. Skole has been Agape’s Executive Director and Fiscal Manager        since 1994.

For her, World AIDS Day and Agape’s open house centered around a          single but vital word: education.

"People act like there’s nothing to AIDS and that it’s long gone,” she             said. “No it’s not.”

                                                                                        (click here for more) 
  
 OPINION:
LGBTQ
EDUCATION IS NOT A SUBJECT FOR YOUNG KIDS

COMPLEXITIES OF LGBTQ ISSUES MAKE THEM INNAPROPRIATE FOR KINDERGARTEN AND EARLY ELEMENTARY SCHOOL 

By A.J. Smuskiewicz

​        by A.J. Smuskiewicz


                                                       







                                                         
                                                              


                                                                                                                                      

                                         




My connection to the LGBTQ community came about from my          occasional crossdressing, which led me into gay bars and to              making personal contacts that I would not have ordinarily                  made.
   
I do not consider myself gay or transgender. I crossdress just        for fun and I’m heterosexual. In fact, this Halloween night, I                dressed as a stripper and went with my dancer girlfriend to              Scores, a strip club in Stone Park. We both know people there. I        became the first crossdresser ever to be allowed to pole-dance        on stage at the club. I even got $31 in tips thrown at me as I              danced to Rob Zombie’s “Dragula”!

The general public—even a crowd of horny drunken hetero                guys—can be more open-minded and accepting than it is                  generally  given credit for.  I share this story because it                        probably  suggests  why I tend to look  at certain LGBTQ issues          differently than most members of the LGBTQ community. I                strongly support gay and transgender people in their quests to        live free, happy, and fulfilling lives. Yet, I find that, when it                  comes to a number of controversial, politically charged issues,          my views and those of the typical gay or transgender person            differ.      
                                                       

                                                                         (Click here for more)  
A.J. Smuskiewicz dressed as Jessica Shores is pictured grasping a pole while taking the stage before a performance.  Image courtesy of A.J. Smuskiewicz.

       
​       WILL COUNTY
       COMMUNITY
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         FAVORITE 
          HOLIDAY 
       TRADITIONS
            By Dulcinea Hawksworth



 






Every once in a while we ask our community to share their thoughts            and opinions on current issues and events.  

This month's question:

What is your favorite Holiday tradition?

"Burning the boxes and wrapping paper in a bonfire in the middle of          the night while singing obnoxious and inappropriate songs. Alcohol,            may or may not be added." 
                                                                                         \ click here for more) 

Professional Santa Claus JC is pictured dressed as Santa and looking at the camera. Photo courtesy of JC Santa Claus.