Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Transgender activist Lois Bates dies
News update posted Nov. 17, 2011
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times
2011-11-23

This article shared 19112 times since Wed Nov 23, 2011
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Lois Bates, a longtime transgender activist and community leader passed away Nov. 17, just three days before Transgender Day of Remembrance. She was 41 years old.

"She was a lover, a fighter, an activist, an advocate, and an inspiration to many including myself," said Owen Daniel-McCarter of the Transformative Justice Law Project of Illinois. "She will be missed."

Bates was transgender health manager at Howard Brown Health Center and was an active advocate for the HIV community.

Bates had a long history of activism within the LGBT community.

She was an active member of Lakeview Action Coalition and was a co-founder of the Chicago Transgender Coalition. Her past work included serving as program director of the Minority Outreach Intervention Project and as vice president of Chicago Windy City Black Pride. She also served on the HIV Prevention Planning Group as well as the Chicago Area Ryan White Services Planning Council.

In addition, Bates was a minister and a member of the Pillar of Love Fellowship United Church of Christ.

"Lois Bates was a friend and a true leader of the transgender community locally and nationally," said Joy Morris, a Chicago-based transgender activist who worked with Bates.

Bates grew up on Chicago's Southeast Side, one of four children. She attended Chicago Vocational Career Academy and went on to serve in U.S. Navy in the Persian Gulf. Upon returning home, she enrolled in cosmetology school.

Bates held several odd jobs over the years, but she found her calling in transgender advocacy, a profession she made into a life's work over decades.

"She always worked, and she wouldn't slow down, even when she was sick," said Spanky Dupree-Hawkins, a member of Bates' chosen family.

Bates' impact on Chicago's LGBT community was profound.

Many credit Bates with helping bring to light challenges facing transgender youth, transgender people of color and HIV-positive transgender people. Bates pushed for better surveillance data on transgender women and HIV, a group that has been categorized as "men who have sex with men" or MSM in the past.

She mentored countless transgender youth, often making sure they had access to basic needs like food, shelter and gender-affirming healthcare.

Youth Pride Services called Bates "one of the greatest African-American transgender advocates Chicago has ever known" in an email to constituents."

"Not only was Lois a donor to our organization, she taught Trans 101 at YPC University, and was in the first Living Legends Black History class that honors those who have paved the way for LGBT youth of color, the first and only [ transgender ] person to receive the honor," the organization wrote.

Youth Pride said it will look into creating a scholarship honoring Bates.

Veteran activist Rick Garcia also commented on the loss. "She was strong and courageous and deeply committed," he said. Garcia added that Bates was not just a role model for the transgender community, but for the LGBT community as a whole.

However, Bates had significant importance for Chicago's transgender community in particular, often bridging the divides of age and race within a community that was often divided along those lines.

Many in the community simply knew her as "mother" or "auntie," titles that not only referred to her relationship to individuals but seemingly to the community as a whole.

While Bates often sat close to controversies that impacted the large LGBT community ( the schism of Black Pride events, fallouts at Howard Brown Health Center and other community fissures ) , Bates tended to publicly avoid being drawn in. She was known as a person who worked regardless of such challenges, quietly focusing on her community and only speaking when the moment truly necessitated it.

Consequently, few of Bates' peers spoke ill of her throughout her career. In fact, most of her closest colleagues, even those older than her, saw her as more of a mentor than a peer.

"I considered Lois to be the 'mother' of the African -American trans community as well a mother and a mentor to all," said Helena Bushong, a well-known transgender activist. "Lois was present for us in need of direction as we entered our 'authentic' lives. Lois was and shall continue to be an inspiration in my advocacy issues regarding the HIV aging population and the trans community. It is with Lois' grace of understanding, acceptance, guidance and unstoppable courage I am who I am today."

Many have credited Bates with aiding them through their own gender transitions, as Bates facilitated Howard Brown Health Center's "T-Time" support group.

"She played a very important role in my personal transition and was a mentor for me," said June LaTrobe, transgender liaison at the Center on Halsted.

Several who remember Bates noted that she was private about the challenges she faced, while she worked tirelessly for Chicago's most marginalized people.

Bates struggled with myriad health issues. She had diabetes and was HIV-positive. In addition, she suffered renal failure twice. At the age of 26, Bates learned she needed a kidney transplant, news that complicated her ability then to start her transition to female.

A few years ago, Bates was the victim of what she believed may have been a hate crime. While at a gas station, another patron overheard her on the phone and thought Bates was talking to him. He attacked her, and she fought back with a blade she kept in her pocketbook in case of an emergency. Bates shared with friends that she believed the incident might have been motivated by the fact that she was transgender, but she did not pursue charges against her attacker.

"Lois didn't want the publicity of it," said longtime friend Tawain Kelly.

After that, friends said, Bates' health declined.

"She began to get sick periodically from that point," said Dupree-Hawkins. Her kidney failed shortly after, he said, and her health never fully recovered.

Bates had been in and out of the hospital leading up to her death. However, few knew she was very ill until she passed away.

According to Dupree-Hawkins, Bates was rushed into emergency surgery at Advocate Trinity Hospital after suffering breathing problems. Her health declined and her liver failed shortly after. She passed away while on life support in the early morning hours of Nov. 17.

Bates is survived by her mother, Dolores Bates, and three siblings.

Every year, Bates hosted "The Night of Fallen Stars," a collaborative Transgender Day of Remembrance event with Center on Halsted that featured performances by transgender youth. The upbeat variety show was held at Center on Halsted immediately after a somber tribute to transgender victims of hate violence.

Bates was expected to coordinate and emcee the Nov. 20 show, scheduled for Nov. 20. Instead, said LaTrobe, the show would be cancelled and replaced with a remembrance of Bates.

A wake for Bates will be held on Sunday, Nov. 27 at Pillar of Love Fellowship United Church of Christ, 7438 W. 62nd Pl. from 4:00- 7:00 p.m. Services will be held Monday, Nov. 28 at Galting's Chapel, 10133 S. Halsted, at 11:00 a.m.


This article shared 19112 times since Wed Nov 23, 2011
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Attorneys general file pro-transgender brief
2021-10-15
A coalition of 20 attorneys general, including Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and New York counterpart Letitia James, filed an amicus brief in the case of Soule v. Connecticut Association of Schools, opposing the plaintiffs' efforts ...


Gay News

Chicago Plumbing Code allows all-gender multiple occupancy restrooms
2021-10-15
--From a Community Restroom Access Project (CRAP) press release - CHICAGO — The Community Restroom Access Project (CRAP) applauds passage Thursday by the Chicago City Council of the plumbing code modernization ordinance that will allow businesses and building owners to ...


Gay News

Dozens of celebrities, companies set to take part in Spirit Day on Oct. 21
2021-10-15
--From a press release - New York, NY, Thursday, October 14, 2021 - Today, GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, announced a preliminary list of celebrities, shows ...


Gay News

Brave Space Alliance's 'Out 'N Brave' panel on beauty, coming out
2021-10-14
By Cris Villalonga-Vivoni - Coming out is one of the most terrifying yet liberating experiences that an LGBTQ+ person must endure to achieve happiness. Brave Space Alliance (BSA)—Chicago's South Side, Black-led, trans-led LGBTQ+ resource ...


Gay News

LGBTQ History Month: Pauli Murray, architect of history
2021-10-13
By Victoria A. Brownworth - (Note: The pronouns she/her are used in keeping with Murray's own writings, but Murray was a transmasculine and gender-nonconforming lesbian.) Some say Pauli Murray is the most important U.S. activist many have never heard of. An ...


Gay News

Trans employees plan walkout at Netflix [UPDATE]
2021-10-13
Netflix's trans employee resource group is planning a company-wide walkout Wed., Oct. 20, to protest statements made by co-CEO Ted Sarandos regarding Dave Chappelle's latest comedy special The Closer, according to The Verge. "Trans Lives Matter. ...


Gay News

Netflix suspends trans employee who tweeted about Chapelle special
2021-10-12
Netflix suspended a transgender employee who criticized the new Dave Chappelle stand-up special The Closer, writing on Twitter that Chappelle's jokes were harmful to transgender people and the LGBTQ community, NBC News noted. The company denied ...


Gay News

Achy Obejas' bilingual poetry book Boomerang/Bumeran explores immigration, liberation
2021-10-11
By Max Lubbers - Achy Obejas is a Cuban-American writer, translator and activist. Boomerang/Bumerán, her newest book, confronts questions of immigration, love and liberation. Like a boomerang, these ideas return throughout the collection, even ...


Gay News

Texans protest anti-trans youth measures at capitol in Austin
2021-10-03
GLAAD and Equality Texas issued a release highlighting a week of protest at the Texas state capitol in Austin—where measures targeting transgender children are being considered during the legislature's third special session of the year. Three ...


Gay News

Pritzker Military Museum, Library to screen TransMilitary doc, Q&A with special guests
2021-09-28
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL (September 27, 2021) On Thursday, Sept. 30, at 5:30 p.m., the Pritzker Military Museum & Library will host the screening of the 2018 SXSW Audience Award Winner for Best Documentary TransMilitary. The program will ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Danica Roem, 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' abortion appeal, Lambda Legal
2021-09-26
Transgender Virginia legislator Danica Roem is facing a conservative marriage-equality opponent and former Trump administration member in her re-election race this November, Yahoo! News noted. Roem, a Democrat, was elected to the House of Delegates in ...


Gay News

SHOWBIZ Transgender Talent, celebrity deaths, film festival, Whitney Houston
2021-09-26
Transgender Talent—the trans-owned and operated management and production company—is looking to help Hollywood get better at portraying transgender and non-binary characters on screen with the launch of a new consulting ...


Gay News

THEATER Ex-'Jagged Little Pill' performers accuse production of anti-TGNC behavior
2021-09-24
Two former cast members of Broadway's Jagged Little Pill—including Tony-nominated featured actress Celia Rose Gooding—released statements accusing the production of committing "harm to the trans and non-binary community, both onstage ...


Gay News

Trans woman D'isaya Dior Monaee Smith, a victim of violence, dies
2021-09-24
D'isaya Dior Monaee Smith was shot and killed Sept. 6 at the Prestige Motel in Dolton, Illinois. She was 27. A Human Rights Campaign report showed that, in 2020, a record 44 transgender, nonbinary or gender-nonconforming ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Carl Bean dies, LGBT History Month, military events, Dykes on Bikes
2021-09-19
Archbishop Carl Bean—an openly gay former Motown singer, longtime AIDS activist and leader in the LGBTQ church movement—died at age 77, The New York Daily News reported. In a statement entitled "The Giant Sleeps," the Unity ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS






Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.