Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Windy City Times 2023-12-13



Chicago Honors GLBT Veterans
by Andrew Davis

This article shared 156 times since Wed Jun 15, 2005
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

      More Photos

On D-Day, June 6, the City of Chicago held its third tribute to GLBT veterans in Daley Plaza. 'With Liberty & Justice For All: A Salute to LGBT Veterans' was sponsored by the Chicago Commission on Human Relations Advisory Council on Veterans' Affairs, the Advisory Council on LGBT Issues, and the Department of Cultural Affairs.

Bill Greaves of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations' Advisory Council on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues, delivered a mayoral proclamation while Will Schmutz, director of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations Advisory Council on Veterans' Affairs read a letter from U.S. Rep. Jan Shakowsky, D-Chicago.

Ed Zasadil, a gay World War II veteran who is a member of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, detailed his experiences in basic training and during the war. He commented that he was fortunate to have witnessed the wave of patriotism the country rode after the war and that he is proud 'to be a member of what [ former TV correspondent ] Tom Brokaw called 'the greatest generation.''

Among those speaking were Jim Darby, president of the American Veterans for Equal Rights Chicago chapter. Others who offered remarks included Roy L. Dolgos, director of the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs, and Windy City Media Group's MSgt. Jean Albright, a 20-year Air Force veteran who is now on the board of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network ( SLDN ) .

The keynote speaker was C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of the SLDN. Before the ceremony, he told Windy City Times that he was honored to take part in the event, adding that 'Chicago is the only city in the country that does anything like this. That actually adds more value because now there are things that are finally happening around the country around 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' such as New York City and West Hollywood city councils passing resolutions against [ it ] . There's a real sense of movement around the country and Chicago has [ taken ] the lead for some time.'

Osburn also said that it was great to be around so many gay and lesbian veterans. According to him, there are 18,000 gay and lesbian veterans in Chicago and 27,000 throughout Illinois. Moreover, according to the Urban Institute, more than 1 million lesbian, gay and bisexual veterans are currently living in the United States.

After Osburn's message, the audience listened to a stirring rendition of 'America the Beautiful' as performed by Travis, who is with American Veterans for Equal Rights ( AVER ) . The memorial concluded with a wreath-laying ceremony that featured Zasadil and Ed Wosylus, secretary of AVER; 'Taps' played in the background. Travis told Windy City Times that he was happy that 'the mayor has seen fit to acknowledge veterans—especially queer veterans. ... It is a statement that you have people who are willing to stand up and be counted.'


Excerpts from the delivery of Keynote Speaker C. Dixon Osburn:

'It is fitting that we gather here today, on the anniversary of D-Day, to call for liberation once again.

Neither liberty nor liberation can ever be born without great sacrifice. Nonetheless, struggles write the history of our people from the American Revolution to World War II to present. We are here to pay witness to the struggle of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans who seek a level playing field and a fair shake.

... We have much to learn from those who have come before us. During World War II, African-American servicemembers fought bravely and selflessly for freedom, even when denied freedom at home. On the battlefield, race did not matter. Ability matters. Heart matters. Yet, when our African-American heroes returned home from the front lines, they returned home to segregated schools, segregated swimming pools and segregated water fountains. The freedom they brought to the world was not a reality here at home.

President Truman changed that. After World War II, he ordered the military to integrate. He did so despite great opposition in the military and in the rest of the United States. Eighty-two percent of Americans at the time opposed integration. But Truman had a vision, and he had courage. The message was simple: When you have fought for our country, 'separate but equal' isn't equal anymore.

And yet, if you are lesbian, gay or bisexual, separation and inequality continues. The first ban on gays in the military started in World War II. At the time, the ban was seen as an act of compassion. Rather than throwing us in jail as criminals, the federal government decided we were just sick and should be discharged.

... The Pentagon has now discharged close to 125,000 lesbian, gay and bisexual servicemembers since World War II. The Pentagon has discharged more than 10,000 servicemembers for being gay since 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' was first implemented a decade ago. The Pentagon's position is that the ban is necessary for good order, discipline and morale. The policy has led to some devastating results.

... PFC Barry Winchell and Seaman Allen Schindler were both killed by fellow servicemembers who believed gays should not serve. Allen's mother, who lives in Chicago Heights, says, 'As a child, I was brought up to believe that we weren't to lie, yet it seems like just because somebody is gay that [ other people ] want them to live a lie, or otherwise they end up dead. That's why Allen ended up being dead, because he was tired of living a lie.'

... The Army, Army Reserve, Army National Guard, and Marine Corps have all missed their recruiting goals by significant percentages. The recruitment of African Americans and women have also declined sharply. The only reason the services have retained sufficient troops is because they will not let them go, through stop loss orders. The all-volunteer military is facing its most serious threat ever. Our country needs us.

... [ Moreover, ] America wants us to serve. According to Gallup, 66-79 percent of Americans now support gays serving openly in the military, up from 52 percent a decade ago. According to Annenburg, a majority of junior enlisted personnel now support gays serving openly in the military. An increasing number of senior military leaders have also called for repeal, like General Wesley Clark, General Claudia Kennedy, General Pat Foote and Admiral John Hutson ... .

Indeed, our armed forces have always been stronger and have always been better prepared when lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans have served. When we serve, America wins. And that is precisely why we must now mobilize and speak out and demand an end to the military's 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' ban on our community.

... If you care about this issue, speak up and speak out often. Never doubt that this battle will be won. Never doubt that your voice is important.'

This article shared 156 times since Wed Jun 15, 2005
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By


Gay News

NATIONAL Chuck Schumer, anti-marriage bill, drag event back on, military doctor 2024-02-23
- U.S. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) announced his support for the Kids Online Safety Act (KOSA)—and, as a result, several LGBTQ+-advocacy organizations dropped their opposition to it, The Hill ...

Gay News

Col. Jennifer Pritzker comments on military museum move 2024-02-13
- Local transgender philanthropist Col. Jennifer Pritzker commented to Windy City Times about the impending move of the Pritzker Military Museum & Library (PMML), which she founded in 2003, to Wisconsin. "At the end of the day, ...

Gay News

Pritzker Military Library to close in July, move to Wisconsin 2024-02-08
- On Feb. 7, the Pritzker Military Museum & Library announced that it is closing its downtown Chicago location on July 27 and moving to an archives center in Wisconsin later this year, according to The Chicago ...

Gay News

PASSAGES Paris Johnson 2023-12-29
- Paris Johnson, 29, of Chicago's West Loop neighborhood, passed away unexpectedly Nov. 28. He would have celebrated his 30th birthday Dec. 20. Born into a military family in Sacramento, California, Paris moved often in his youth, ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Women's college, banned books, military initiative, Oregon 2023-12-29
- After backlash regarding a decision to update its anti-discrimination policy and open enrollment to some transgender applicants, a Catholic women's college in Indiana will return to its previous admission policy, per The National Catholic Reporter. In ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Music awards, military film, Tom of Finland, Yo-Yo Ma, 'Harley Quinn' 2023-11-17
Video below - Brothers Osborne—a duo that includes gay brother TJ Osborne—won Vocal Duo of the Year for the sixth time at the recent CMA Awards, per a media release. Backstage, TJ told reporters, "I did not expect us ...

Gay News

AVER celebrates LGBTQ+ veterans at annual Veterans Day dinner 2023-11-12
- Writer and historian Owen Keehnen was keynote speaker at the the American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER) Chicago Chapter's 32nd annual LGBTQ Veterans Day Banquet held on Veterans Day at Ann Sather restaurant on Belmont. Keehnen ...

Gay News

South Korean court upholds military 'sodomy law' 2023-10-28
- For the fourth time, South Korea's constitutional court has upheld two anti-LGBTQ+ laws—including the country's notorious military "sodomy law," The Guardian reported. By a vote of five to four, the court confirmed the constitutionality of ar ...

Gay News

WORLD Couple's win, attack in Beirut, German military, gay ski week 2023-09-08
- In Strasbourg, France, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Bulgaria violated the rights of a same-sex couple (Darina Koilova and Lili Babulkova) by not recognizing their marriage abroad, RFE/RL reported. Rights groups lauded the ...

Gay News

'We've had a ball': Prominent activists Jim Darby and Patrick Bova celebrate 60th anniversary 2023-09-07
- One of the first couples to be legally married in Illinois is celebrating their 60th anniversary this year. Jim Darby and Patrick Bova fell in love decades before they became the lead plaintiffs in Lambda Legal's ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Military drama, Janelle Monae, Conan Gray, Dylan Mulvaney, Whoopi 2023-08-31
- The LGBTQ+ military drama Eismayer (from Dark Star Pictures and Golden Girls Film) will be out in theaters on Oct. 6, and on DVD and Digital on Oct. 10, per a press release. The plot is ...

Gay News

FY2024 National Defense Authorization Act would undercut equality, Modern Military Assoc of America comments 2023-07-14
--From a press release - Washington D.C. - Anti-equality House members are using the FY2024 National Defense Authorization Act to pass dangerous amendments targeting healthcare, gender-affirming care, education, and LGBTQ+ friendly services and resources. The ...

Gay News

WORLD Pride celebrations, puberty blockers, British military, killer sentenced 2023-06-16
- Gay Pride Buenos Aires is slated to take place Oct. 27-Nov. 4, according to More than 30 organizations and groups host activities that will begin a week before the parade (which is on Nov. 4). ...

Gay News

VIEWPOINT War in the 21st Century: mercenaries, private military companies, private armies 2023-05-20
- In 2022, $407 billion of the Pentagon budget—representing half of that year's funding —were obligated to private contractors, of which a significant number were Private Military Companies (PMCs) involved in ...

Gay News

Modern Military Association of America appoints interim Executive Director 2023-05-18
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, (May 17, 2023) — LGBTQ+ military nonprofit Modern Military Association of America (MMAA) announced today that nonprofit management expert Rachel Branaman, will step into the role of interim executive ...


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

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 Transgender 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.




About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
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     
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.