Celebrating Its 20th Year, Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame Inducts 11 Individuals and 4 Organizations
The Chicago Commission on Human Relations' Advisory Council on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues has released the names of 11 individuals and four organizations to be inducted in November 2010 into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, the only known government-sponsored hall of fame that honors members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender ( LGBT ) community, announced Chairman and Commissioner Dana V. Starks.
The chosen nominees will be inducted at the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame's 20th annual ceremony, which will take place from 5:30 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 10, 2010, in Sidney R. Yates Gallery at the Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph St. The reception begins at 5:30 p.m., and the program is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
"Chicago is a city of many faces, and the LGBT community is an important part of that diversity. The community is thriving and moving forward, helping to build a strong social and economic foundation for Chicago," said Mayor Richard M. Daley.
"The rich contributions made to Chicago by its various communities are important to Chicago's quality of life," said Commissioner Starks. "It is for that reason that we are pleased to recognize lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and their allies with these Hall of Fame awards each year."
The Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame was established in 1991 under the auspices of the Advisory Council, with continuing support from the Chicago Commission on Human Relations and Mayor Daley. Its purpose is to recognize the achievements of LGBT Chicagoans, their contributions to the development of the city, and the help they have received from others.
Those inducted fall into one of three categories: individual, organization, or friend of the community. Nominees represent Chicago's entire sexual-minority community, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Chicagoans, past, present, living, and dead, as well as those who have supported or assisted the community.
A committee of prior inductees makes each year's selections from nominations submitted by members of the public.
Those honored in 2010 are:
Claudia Allen, 55, perhaps the most prolific contemporary writer of lesbian-themed plays; 11 of her 24 produced plays have lesbian themes or a major character who is lesbian or bisexual, including "Hannah Free," which premiered at Chicago's Bailiwick Repertory Theatre in 1992 and became an award-winning feature film in 2009.
Dan Di Leo ( 1938-1989 ) , a U.S. Army veteran and co-founder of Gay Chicago Magazine; his experience and knowledge as a journalist and businessman were largely responsible for the early growth of the magazine, which is a cornerstone of Chicago's LGBT community; he died of complications from AIDS.
Scott Free, 50, activist, musician, and founder of both Homolatte, the longest running queer performance series in the nation, and ALT Q, another of the nation's longest running festivals for LGBTQ performers.
Bob Gammie, 84, an active organizer and fundraiser since 1949, for his many years of community service, including being one of the first organizers of gay activities in non-bar settings, in particular the volleyball games in Lincoln Park that grew into the Lincoln Park Lagooners, which continues to flourish.
E. Patrick Johnson, 43, scholar, artist, and performer; for his leadership in the African-American LGBT community, including publishing two books that focus on black LGBT life: Black Queer Studies and Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South, an oral history of black gay men.
David Ernesto Munar, 40, for his leadership and advocacy on both local and national LGBTQ and Latino issues and, as a person living with HIV, for his work to shape local, state, and federal policy on HIV/AIDS.
Achy Obejas, 54, activist and writer; appointed by former Mayor Harold Washington to the city's first Committee on Gay and Lesbian Issues and by former Mayor Eugene Sawyer to his Advisory Council on Gay and Lesbian Issues, she worked to secure passage of the Chicago Human Rights ordinance; as a journalist she shared a Pulitzer Prize in 2001, and she has published fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.
Paul G. Oostenbrug, 60, runner and community volunteer, for his long and dedicated service to Team Chicago, which takes LGBT Chicagoans to the Gay Games, and for his involvement on the boards of the Federation of Gay Games and Chicago House, a local AIDS service agency.
Jose R. Rios, 42, police officer, for his nine years of service as the Chicago Police Department's liaison to the LGBT communities of Chicago, including his extensive outreach to the deaf community, youth, other government offices, community organizations, and police departments across the nation.
The Rev. Stan Sloan, 47, Episcopal priest and CEO of Chicago House, for his dedicated and innovative leadership in the homeless and AIDS service communities, including opening Sweet Miss Giving's Bakery, which serves as both a jobs program and a source of income for Chicago House.
Mark E. Wojcik, 48, legal scholar, John Marshall Law School professor, and founder of the Chicago Bar Association's Committee on Legal Rights of Lesbian and Gay Men, for leadership and mentorship in the legal profession and for promoting legislative change at the state and federal levels.
Asians & Friends Chicago, for 26 years of providing a social network for gay men of Asian descent and building a bridge between them and the larger LGBT community, culturally, socially, and philanthropically; as one of the first organizations of its kind, it inspired other similar groups to form elsewhere.
International Mr. Leather, for 31 years of drawing worldwide attention and attendance to Chicago by way of its annual weekend of events for the international leather community, significantly contributing to Chicago's tourism revenue; it has also been a pioneer in support of LGBT rights and health issues.
Friends of the Community
American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, for decades of support for the civil liberties of the LGBT community and persons living with HIV as well as for advocacy of nondiscrimination laws covering sexual orientation, gender identity, and HIV status.
Chicago History Museum., for decades of acquiring and preserving LGBT historical documents and artifacts and for its groundbreaking "Out at CHM" lecture series, which presents LGBT history in the context of Chicago history.