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CHM declares 'One Love' with wedding expo CHM declares 'One Love' with wedding expo
On the evening of April 10, visitors to the Chicago History Museum's ...

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Gay-in-the-Life-Jeffrey-Altergott

Gay in the Life: Jeffrey Altergott - When Jeffrey Altergott was 2, his Grandma Alice gave him a little blue suitcase record-player, launching his love affair with music. "Performing is my favorite part of the whole process," he said. "There is something about sharing the work with an audience that brings everything together. It makes the 90 percent of the music business that isn't about music worth ...


Talking-with-GLAADs-Omar-Sharif-Jr

Talking with GLAAD's Omar Sharif Jr. - From a GLAAD press release by Amhir Hidalgo. Special to the online edition of Windy City Times - Omar Sharif Jr. may have a well-known name ( since he was named after his actor father, who is in such films as Doctor Zhivago ), but he has also carved his own path as an activist, becoming the national spokesman and strategic giving officer for GLAAD. Sharif shared a little bit of himself in an email interview before stopping ...


Kate-Ekmans-labor-of-love

Kate Ekman's labor of love - Kate Ekman was officially elected president for Pride at Work Chicago in January, though she had been the acting president since last summer when Levi Pine transferred to Seattle. Ekman, 36, lives in the Old Irving Park neighborhood and has called Chicago home since 2005. She is originally from Delavan, Wisc., and also has lived in Madison and Southern California. ...


Gay-in-the-Life-Alden-Vasquez

Gay in the Life: Alden Vasquez - - Those attending Venus in Fur—currently showing at the Goodman Theatre—will discover the biography of one Alden Vasquez in the program. It will say that this is his 21st season at the Goodman, that he is a member of Actors Equity, that his credits also include 23 productions of A Christmas Carol and that the tremendous roster of theaters he has ...


John-Gidding-on-decorating-Beijing-and-married-life-

John Gidding on decorating, Beijing and married life - Special to the online edition of Windy City Times - Turkish-born architect John Gidding has certainly led an intriguing life. After moving to the United States from Europe, he majored in architecture at one Ivy League school ( Yale University ) and received his master's degree in the same field at another ( Harvard University ). Along the way, the handsome Gidding worked as a fashion model. Fast-forward some years, ...


Gay-Chicago-businessmen-getting-national-TV-exposure

Gay Chicago businessmen getting national TV exposure - Stan Krozel and Kevin Ullery, partners in life and in business, are riding into the Shark Tank—the hit ABC-TV show filled with such two-legged business monsters as Mark Cuban, Kevin O'Leary and Daymond Johns. UPDATE Post-show coverage, Sharks bite for Chicago businessmen, at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Sharks-bite-for-Chicago-businessmen/47026.html . Krozel and Ullery have been partners for the 19 years and, for the ...


As-Munar-leaves-John-Peller-discusses-taking-over-AFC

As Munar leaves, John Peller discusses taking over AFC - On April 1, David Munar began a new chapter at Howard Brown Health Center ( HBHC ), as president and CEO, taking over an organization rocked by scandal for the past many years. His entrance is a marked and, for many in the city, hopeful change; he will be its first leader in many years to actually have any experience ...


Gay-in-the-Life-Christian-Smoker-

Gay in the Life: Christian Smoker - It's no surprise Christian Smoker is the owner of a new, snazzy salon in Lakeview. He grew up in the industry. "My mother, Freida Smoker, is a hair stylist and had her own salon. I also have an aunt and my niece in the business as well. It's in our blood," he said. "I was an odd little boy, more ...


-Outgoing-ALCC-director-reflects-on-life-in-public-service

Outgoing ALCC director reflects on life in public service - Liz Baudler - "A life in public service is the key to personal happiness," Ann Hilton Fisher said in an interview a few years ago. And as the outgoing executive director of the AIDS Legal Council of Chicago ( ALCC ), she should know. One would think a multi-decade career in legal advocacy for some of the state's most vulnerable citizens might burn ...


Gay-in-the-Life-Dr-David-Schrader

Gay in the Life: Dr. David Schrader - Dr. David Schrader joined the CCPA faculty in 1986 and is the professor of music in the Core Studies Department. As a teacher of music history, he views himself as an ombudsman between academe and performance. He has been become renowned as a virtuoso on instruments that include the harpsichord, organ, clavichord and piano and his talents have taken him ...


Rob-Smith-Not-your-typical-veteran

Rob Smith: Not your typical veteran - Special to the online edition of Windy City Times - The desire for a better life led Black, gay veteran Rob Smith to risk his own. Smith, a then-17-year-old Akron, Ohio, native, enlisted in the U.S. Army in October 1999, in order to be the first in his family to get a college education and escape his hometown. He soon found himself in the midst of the Iraq War. "I ...


Rachel-Hoge-works-to-BUILD-for-the-future

Rachel Hoge works to BUILD for the future - Special to the online edition of Windy City Times - After four years working at the United Way of Metro Chicago, Rachel Hoge joined BUILD Inc., as the director of development & marketing. A Chicago-based nonprofit, BUILD ( Broader Urban Involvement & Leadership Development ) strives to engage at-risk youth in the schools and on the streets to realize their educational and career potential and contribute to the stability, safety ...


Jay-Franke-David-Herro-Public-Humanities-Award-honorees

Jay Franke, David Herro Public Humanities Award honorees - From The Illinois Humanities Council - CHICAGO, IL- January 14, 2014— The Illinois Humanities Council ( IHC ) has announced it will be honoring Jay Franke and David Herro with the 2014 Public Humanities Award at the IHC's annual benefit luncheon on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at the Palmer House Hilton in Chicago. Given annually by the IHC since 1984, the Public Humanities Award recognizes individuals ...


A-Gay-in-the-Life-Johnny-Begale

A Gay in the Life: Johnny Begale - There is nothing typical about Johnny Begale. He grew up the middle child of three in Niles, Ill., and attended Notre Dame High School for Boys. Begale got his undergraduate degree in accounting from Illinois Weseylan University and, from there, was confused with what he wanted to do. He tried working in the private sector but found that work unfulfilling. ...


Gay-in-the-Life-Cindy-Pagurski

Gay in the Life: Cindy Pagurski - Cynthia L. ( Cindy ) Pagurski joined the Lombard office of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage this past December after a successful career in office management. She also has long had a passion for some furry, four-legged friends. She is a lifelong resident of the Chicago area, and her work emphasis now is on the client experience, she said. Her passion ...


Gay-in-the-Life-Gregory-Hyder-

Gay in the Life: Gregory Hyder - Gregory Hyder was contacted 13 years ago when The Peninsula Chicago Hotel in downtown Chicago was under construction. "I really had not planned on being in the hotel business; I had returned from teaching in Africa and needed a job while I was working on a second degree and started checking people in at the front desk … the rest ...


A-Gay-in-the-Life-Jose-Luis-Trinidad-Alcaraz

A Gay in the Life: Jose Luis Trinidad-Alcaraz - Jose Luis Trinidad-Alcaraz has worked at Van Buren Gentlemen's Salon since its opening on Dec. 1, 2011, and said he's "lucky" to be part of the team at such a classy men's salon. "I'm very proud of the excellent reviews that my clients have given me," he said. In 2005, Trinidad-Alcaraz opened his own barber shop in Los Angeles. He ...


Gay-in-the-Life-Sam-Powell

Gay in the Life: Sam Powell - Sam Powell has been a real estate professional since 2002, and is now the president of the Chicago chapter of the Women's Council of Realtors ( WCR ). She previously has served as the organization's vice president of membership and secretary. Powell also is involved with the Chicago Association of Realtors. "To be president of the Women's Council of Realtors ...


Gay-in-the-Life-Tami-Engelman

Gay in the Life: Tami Engelman - Tami Engelman was a two-year varsity football player in high school, and even earned the team's Rookie of the Year award in 1999. She also was a two-year varsity track athlete, competing in the shot put and discus, and she took fourth-place in the state tournament in the shot put after being ranked 28th. At Western Illinois University, Engelman competed ...


A-Gay-in-the-Life-Rony-Tennenbaum

A Gay in the Life: Rony Tennenbaum - Rony Tennenbaum has worked in jewelry manufacturing for more than 25 years after having done just about every stage of jewelry production—casting, polishing, setting, sourcing and more. About six years ago, he started a jewelry line, focused on same-sex couples' engagement, wedding and anniversary rings. "One element within the industry that hooked me was the wedding portion," Tennenbaum said. "I ...


A-Gay-in-the-Life-Rachael-Prior

A Gay in the Life: Rachael Prior - Rachael Prior has worked in a variety of settings: military to corporate to independent. "I've found that I thrive and find happiness in the service industry," she said. "I've spent years as a bartender and a server, and in managerial roles in restaurants, and wanted to expand my knowledge and learn more about something I love to do, which is ...


Gay-animal-rights-activist-takes-on-corporations

Gay animal-rights activist takes on corporations - Growing up in the small Ohio farming community of St. Paris, Nathan Runkle could have been considered a minority of one. He is a gay vegetarian who loves all animals, not just domesticated pets. But his extended family, and most of the community, consisted of hunters, farmers, trappers and fishermen. How animals were treated and killed on their way to ...


A-Gay-in-the-Life-Bethany-Evans

A Gay in the Life: Bethany Evans - Bethany Evans earned a personal training certificate from National Academy of Sports Medicine and is now enrolled at Illinois Institute of Technology, studying mechanical engineering. She also is a national champion—a member of the Chicago Force women's tackle football team, which claimed the title in the Women's Football Alliance ( WFA ) in 2013. Evans sports Force jersey No. 23 ...


Gay-in-the-Life-Paul-M-Rathe

Gay in the Life: Paul M. Rathe - Paul M. Rathe is the owner of Soggy Paws, a dog wash and pet products stores for dogs and cats with three locations in Chicago. Thus, his to-do job list is, well, seemingly never-ending. Rathe said with a smile that he is, "the guy who is in charge of ordering, inventory, hiring, training, bill-paying, cleaning, education, sourcing new products, cleaning ...


A-Gay-in-the-Life-Benjamin-Bradshaw-Baumker-

A Gay in the Life: Benjamin Bradshaw Baumker - Clueless, the 1995 comedy starring Alicia Silverstone, set the tone for the childhood of Benjamin Bradshaw Baumker. "When I was 8, my dad banned my Cher Horowitz impression at the dinner table," Baumker said of the character played by Silverstone. "She was my original drag inspiration: offensive, self-absorbed, woeful white girl with a heart of gold." Flash-forward to 2010, and ...


Broadcast-journalists-out-on-the-air

Broadcast journalists out on the air - When Robin Roberts came out recently, she joined a small but expanding group of nationally known broadcast journalists who are openly gay or lesbian. Get to know the other members of the club. Don Lemon The outspoken CNN anchor officially came out in 2011. In an interview with Windy City Times ( www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Don-Lemon-CNN-anchor-on-race-coming-out/34082.html ), Lemon talked about everything from ...


Award-winning-social-worker-retiring-after-35-years

Award-winning social worker retiring after 35 years - It's a bittersweet time for social worker Davida Williams, who is ending her 30-plus year career at Hephzibah Home in Oak Park. She's retiring as the facility's foster care and adoption specialist, ending a near-35-year career in the industry, then moving to Fennville/Saugatuck/Douglas, Mich., to start a new chapter: writing a book about her experiences—"about our brilliant children and how ...


MCCs-Rachelle-Brown-works-on-LGBT-religious-issues

MCC's Rachelle Brown works on LGBT religious issues - In high school, Rachelle Brown was, admittedly, "a bit of a religious fanatic." But when she came out as a lesbian, she went away from religion and faith. In fact, her "relationship with religion went farther than south," she said, laughing. It took her about 12 years to find her way back to religion, and that she did. She is ...


Windy-City-Limousine-backs-LGBT-community

Windy City Limousine backs LGBT community - Special to the online edition of Windy City Times - His career as a limousine driver lasted all of one day. "I was the worst [driver], ever. I quickly discovered that I was and am much better on the other end of the business. I was terrible," behind the wheel, George Jacobs said, laughing. It was 1980 or 1981, Jacobs said, and he owned a car and admittedly "thought I ...


A-Gay-in-the-Life-Crystal-Danni-Webber-and-Tara-Webber-

A Gay in the Life: Crystal 'Danni' Webber and Tara Webber - Crystal "Danni" Webber created an online profile a few years ago while living in New York City, looking for friends, especially football fans and coffee fanatics. Tara Webber replied with a picture of herself wearing a Pittsburgh Steelers' jersey, and she even has a Steelers tattoo on her arm, commemorating the death of her father who also was a diehard ...


Gay-in-the-Life-Mark-Pino

Gay in the Life: Mark Pino - Mark Pino saw the YouTube video "It Could Happen To You" in May, 2012, and couldn't get it out of his mind. It was "permanently emblazoned on my heart," he said. The 10-minute emotional video by Shane Bitney Crone, dedicated to his late partner, Tom Bridegroom, went viral and has been viewed more than 4 million times, and thus, it ...


Gay-in-the-Life-Joel-Berger

Gay in the Life: Joel Berger - Joel Berger was at his desk that January day when his doctor called from his cell phone, and Berger learned the news that would change his life. He was told he had prostate cancer. "This year has been very tough," said Berger, who had a five-hour surgery to battle the cancer. He is now "feeling good, all corrected." Berger was ...


Suburban-police-detective-Catavu-living-his-dream

Suburban police detective Catavu living his dream - Lee Catavu thought about a career in education or law—until lengthy talks he had while working at Jewel with the assistant manager. ( He was a student at St. Edward High School in the mid-1990s when the talks occurred. ) She was a retired policewoman and Catavu "was just fascinated by the stories of her police career," he said. Catavu ...


Movember-takes-personal-turn-for-Tommy-Holl

Movember takes personal turn for Tommy Holl - Special to the online edition of Windy City Times - Tommy Holl is sporting his Movember mustache for the fourth consecutive year—but never for a more personal reason. Movember is the annual month-long event that encourages men to grow mustaches during the month of November to raise awareness of men's health issues, such as prostate cancer and other male cancers—and it coincides with Holl's personal battle with cancer. The Holl ...


Trans-in-the-Life-Keir-McCoy

Trans in the Life: Keir McCoy - Keir McCoy admitted that, as a child, he didn't feel a connection with his body as female. "Over time, and especially during puberty, I knew that others perceived me as female, but I never felt the same way," McCoy said. "I knew nothing about transgender people and literally had no language to describe how I felt. Over the years I ...


Tony-Velez-and-Frank-Ochoa-Out-in-Hermosa-with-EM-Lounge

Tony Velez and Frank Ochoa: Out in Hermosa with E.M. Lounge - Nestled among a large number of storefront churches and non descript businesses sits an unexpected site for some on this stretch of West Armitage Avenue in Chicago's Hermosa neighborhood: a Puerto Rican gay bar. E.M Lounge—run by partners Tony Velez Jr. and Frank Ochoa—opened as a straight bar in 2008 run by Velez's father ( Tony Velez Sr. ), who ...


Dr-Phoenix-Matthews-Helping-to-kick-LGBTQ-smoking-in-the-butt

Dr. Phoenix Matthews: Helping to kick LGBTQ smoking in the butt - There are the calming effect, the pleasurable feeling, the cool and rebellious look of it, the weight maintenance, and the addiction are some of the reasons given that make smoking a "bitch to quit." While interacting with LGBTQ smokers in Howard Brown Health Center's ( HBHC ) Bitch To Quit, the only LGBTQ smoking-cessation study in Chicago, Dr. Phoenix Matthews, ...


A-Gay-in-the-Life-Aly-Patsavas

A Gay in the Life: Aly Patsavas - Aly Patsavas came into disability studies through personal experience with disability. She was in a car accident years ago and has had to deal chronic pain ever since. "Learning to navigate a healthcare system, and society for that matter, that has very specific notions of what a body should be and do, what a disability is and should look like, ...


Pets-have-long-been-Diane-Dodins-passion

Pets have long been Diane Dodin's passion - For Diane Dodin, her passion for pets dates back to her childhood, when the family pets ranged from cats and turtles to fish, gerbils and even a tarantula. "Pets have touched me in such a way that I can't imagine doing anything else," but working with pets nowadays, Dodin said. She grew up in north suburban Highland Park and said ...


A-Gay-in-the-Life-Abby-Smith-

A Gay in the Life: Abby Smith - Abby Smith will celebrate her 12th year working in animal welfare on Dec. 18—a direct fallout from the tragedy of 9/11. "After 9/11, my life had to have meaning, so I left my comfortable retail management position to work in animal welfare," Smith said. "I get to directly save animal's lives when we transfer them in from 'traditional' shelters or ...


Gay-blind-activist-reflects-on-time-in-Chicago

Gay, blind activist reflects on time in Chicago - Delevan ( Del ) Barrett has been gone from Chicago for about 15 years, but certainly hasn't forgotten his time in the Windy City while now living in Asbury Park, N.J. "I miss Chicago a lot, especially the camaraderie," he said by phone. Barrett, 61, is single, openly gay and blind, which he claims "is due to the use of ...


Gay-in-the-Life-Matthew-Sheridan

Gay in the Life: Matthew Sheridan - Matthew Sheridan gets his greatest job satisfaction from guest satisfaction. "Anyone who works in service can attest that when you know you've exceeded a guest's expectations and that they've truly had a memorable experience, you get a rush," he said. Sheridan moved home to Chicago in 2010 and began working for Matt Fisher at his Gold Coast restaurant, Eve. "Shortly ...


Ensemble-of-Care-launched-for-at-home-health-services

Ensemble of Care launched for at-home health services - Special to the online edition of Windy City Times - Their new care business is a by-product of their personal lives and struggles over the past few years. Linda Chamberlain and Camille Garcia, became the co-owners of Ensemble of Care, Inc., in 2012. The business was incorporated in June and the Illinois Department of Public Health granted its Illinois state license last November. "I have two brothers who passed away ...


Queer-South-Asian-activist-wades-into-marriage-battle

Queer South Asian activist wades into marriage battle - It's hard being an activist and a person, harder if the community you identify with and want to organize for is small. But Naomi Anurag Lahiri has learned to build. And the longer she is active in organizing in Chicago, the more she creates. Lahiri is not among Chicago's best-known LGBTQ organizers. At age 24, she cannot boast decades of ...


A-Gay-in-the-Life-Fred

A Gay in the Life: Fred - Fred, one of Chicago's favorite four-legged supporters of the annual Ride For AIDS Chicago, is ready to be a big part of the 2014 event. Team Fred, with its furry mascot, is aiming to raising $100,000 for the Test Positive Aware Network ( TPAN ) in 2014, Fred said through his owner/dad, Robert Garofalo. The 2013 Ride, held in mid-July, ...


A-Gay-in-the-Life-Jenny-Urban-

A Gay in the Life: Jenny Urban - When the local bakery that Jenny Urban was working with suddenly stopped production this summer, she was forced to bake scones in-house. "I decided to challenge myself and fresh bake our scones on site with a toaster oven," Urban said. "I didn't think it would work out, but people are really loving them." Urban's favorite combinations so far are cheddar ...


A-Gay-in-the-Life-Candace-Sims-Chaunita-Johnson-Sims-

A Gay in the Life: Candace Sims & Chaunita Johnson-Sims - They met when both were undergraduate students at Illinois State University in 2003 and simply were friends for quite some time, ultimately losing contact for about two years. Fate, both say, brought the two back together during the summer of 2005, when Candace Sims and her now-wife Chaunita Johnson-Sims ended up at the same party in Normal, Ill. By January ...


Henry-Gerber-Ahead-of-his-time

Henry Gerber: Ahead of his time - GAY HISTORY MONTH PROFILE - On May 15, 1871, the German Criminal Code was revised to include Paragraph 175, a law making sexual acts between males illegal. The first challenge to the law came in 1897 when Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld founded the gay organization Wissenschaftlich-humanitäres Komitee ( Scientific-Humanitarian Committee ). Its first action was to draft a petition against Paragraph 175 with 6,000 signatures of ...


Former-Ugandan-gospel-singer-seeks-success-in-US

Former Ugandan gospel singer seeks success in U.S. - Special to the online edition of Windy City Times - Dan Dyson had been building a successful gospel music career in Uganda for nearly a decade when his life was turned upside down by a group of anti-gay activists bent on ridding the country of its LGBT citizens. Today, he is in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign trying to raise $5,000 to record a full-length album and restart his ...


Melanie-McAllen-Queer-quirky-and-a-high-IQ

Melanie McAllen: Queer, quirky and a high IQ - Special to the online edition of Windy City Times BY MATTHEW C. CLARK - Melanie McAllen is probably not unlike many of the quirky personalities that live in Chicago's Logan Square neighborhood. A 60-year-old lesbian, gardener, biker and registered nurse, McAllen has lived in the neighborhood for 15 years. Dyslexic, she said she somehow graduated high school with honors without being able to add or subtract, and managed her way through odd jobs. McAllen ...


A-Gay-in-the-Life-Rob-McQuillan

A Gay in the Life: Rob McQuillan - Rob McQuillan doesn't view his job as a freelance graphic designer and photographer as work, but rather, his passion. "I love having this freedom to create and express myself," he said. McQuillan moved to Chicago about seven years ago and sought a job with a local publication, but nothing materialized. "So, I concentrated my efforts to do freelance work, and ...


Local-lesbian-overcomes-criticism-shines-at-CBOT

Local lesbian overcomes criticism, shines at CBOT - Virginia McGathey endured countless verbal attacks during her early years working at the Chicago Board of Trade (CBOT). Women weren't commonplace and she often encountered chauvinistic reactions and responses from fellow traders. She always swung back with vicious, biting barbs. "In the early days, it was mostly men, [so] I took a lot of crap from them—to the point where ...


A-Gay-in-the-Life-Wanda-B

A Gay in the Life: Wanda B - Wanda B still laughs at the moment about five years ago when she was driving a CTA bus and an elderly lady refused to get on—she thought Wanda B (as she goes by) had stolen the bus since she is short and young-looking. Wanda B can, and has, driven those articulated buses along Lake Shore Drive, which was "quite an ...


Gay-in-the-Life-Aurora-Pineda-Zarate

Gay in the Life: Aurora Pineda Zarate - Aurora Pineda Zarate said the best part of her job is the "interactions with people from all different walks of life," and it's a job she acquired through her best friend. Zarate will celebrate her 14th year as a bilingual benefits, medical and supportive case manager in February. "It's a great feeling, making a difference" by helping others through her ...


Executive-helps-make-Orbitz-a-gay-friendly-brand

Executive helps make Orbitz a gay-friendly brand - Jeff Marsh received a phone call from his brother-in-law, a cruise travel agent in Atlanta, one day in 2000. Marsh was told that the airlines were coming together to form a new company, called Orbitz, that hopefully would revolutionize the online travel space. Marsh ultimately joined that upstart company in October 2000 as the first marketing hire after the vice-president ...


Gay-in-the-Life-Christopher-Johnsen-

Gay in the Life: Christopher Johnsen - Christopher Johnsen was ironing a shirt one morning in about 2000, getting ready for work, watching a TV show about Matthew Shepard, when he seemingly had a vision—to pursue a career as an attorney. "I was doing something mundane [career-wise at the time], but really knew then that I wanted to do something extraordinary," he said. Flash-forward to Nov. 4, ...


Osiris-Khepera-His-fear-was-no-drag

Osiris Khepera: His fear was no drag - Special to the online edition of Windy City Times - Drag performer D'Lisha von Jankynsmurt was born a couple years ago on the 30th birthday of her real-life alter ego, Osiris Khepera—via Buddhism. "I had been tumbling the idea around in my head, but was afraid [to try drag] for years," Khepera said. "I have been practicing Buddhism, which has really opened up something in my life, allowed me to ...


A-Gay-in-the-Life-Jay-A-Gonnam

A Gay in the Life: Jay A. Gonnam - Jay Gonnam sprinted from right field to the infield at one of the Clarendon Fields on Sunday, Aug. 18, to celebrate with his teammates on the Sidetrack Squirrels C3-Division softball team, which had just won the league championship. Gonnam's championship smile was even wider since the win was over the Halsted Hustlers—and that team's first baseman is Gonnam's partner of ...


A-Gay-in-the-Life-Vivian-Khabeer

A Gay in the Life: Vivian Khabeer - Vivian Khabeer started working part-time at the Roti Mediterranean Grill in suburban Northbrook about five years, an outlet to make some extra cash, she admitted. "The general manager back then stopped into the Renaissance [Hotel] where I worked as a manager asking if I would be interested in giving Roti a chance. I took it and fell in love with ...


Berwyn-business-just-Over-the-Rainbow

Berwyn business just Over the Rainbow - Jose Ramirez admits there often is confusion over the name of the suburban ice cream store that he co-owns with his partner of more than two decades, Tom Stebbins. Over The Rainbow Ice Cream Parlor in Berwyn has nothing to do with the gay pride rainbow since it is a gay-owned business, or even Judy Garland. Rather, it is family-based, ...


Gay-in-the-Life-Chris-Boyd

Gay in the Life: Chris Boyd - Chris Boyd truly loves being a barber: Every day is different, every haircut is different, and all clients are different. Plus, "I'm the boss," he said. "The best part of the job is when a client comes to me asking for a service and isn't quite sure what they're looking for," he said. "I love to take what they have ...


Uncovering-Our-Stories-Asian-American-LGBT-immigration-stories

Uncovering Our Stories, Asian American LGBT immigration stories - From a press release - Washington, DC: The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) unveiled its "Uncovering Our Stories" campaign today. The campaign highlights experiences of Asian American, South Asian, Southeast Asian, and Pacific Islander (AAPI) lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people with the broken immigration system and is part of NQAPIA's efforts to mobilize communities around comprehensive immigration reform. As Congress adjourns ...


A-Gay-in-the-Life-Riva-J-Casanova

A Gay in the Life: Riva J. Casanova - After a few visits to Sidetrack The Video Bar as a customer, Riva J. Casanova was hooked. This would be her bar—and her career. "I was so impressed with everything about it," she said. "The bartenders had such a good, genuine energy. It was all around a wonderful and unique experience for myself and my friends who accompanied me. I ...


A-Gay-in-the-Life-Felipe-Esteban-Rojas

A Gay in the Life: Felipe Esteban Rojas - Felipe Esteban Rojas has a passion for sports and a true pride in his profession. He's the commissioner and a participant of Ultimate, one of the newest sports offered by the Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association (CMSA), and also plays five other sports. He even met his boyfriend through the CMSA sports world. Rojas teaches Spanish language and culture and recently ...


A-Gay-in-the-Life-Casey-Gold

A Gay in the Life: Casey Gold - Cleaning cars is very therapeutic for Casey Gold, who has been detailing cars since his high school days in the northwest suburbs—before he could even legally drive. "It gives me a few hours to be myself, focus on doing a good job, and I can turn my phone off," he said. "My father suggested that I [clean] other people's [cars] ...


A-Gay-in-the-Life-Steven-Acosta

A Gay in the Life: Steven Acosta - Steven Acosta used the local gay volleyball leagues to meet friends when he moved here from his native Florida about three years ago. Now he's using volleyball to see the U.S., and rack up championships—such as the Windy City Open, a North American Gay Volleyball Association (NAGVA) event held in Chicago in early July. Acosta is the libero (defensive specialist) ...


A-Gay-in-the-Life-Marcus-Han

A Gay in the Life: Marcus Han - A few years ago, a group of local gay basketball players rented out the gym at Margate Fieldhouse on Monday nights, so they could play more outside of league play and work on their skills. It was organized by the late Greg Walsh and intended for beginner level players to improve their skills. In early 2010, Marcus Han stepped in ...


A-Gay-in-the-Life-Jen-Thompson

A Gay in the Life: Jen Thompson - Jen Thompson and Sam Powell, partners for 20 years, were Chicago Force fans years ago. She even were in the stands, cheering in 2008 when the Force played in the national championship game. Thompson also played one season for the Force, in 2011. She has now moved upstairs on game day, into the press box, where she constantly updates the ...


Gay-in-the-Life-Matt-Herek

Gay in the Life: Matt Herek - Matt Herek was forced into the suit as Dibs the Blue Demon, the mascot for DePaul University, during the 2005 NCAA women's basketball tournament. DePaul was playing Liberty University in the second round and, well, even Dibs has to use the bathroom at times. Herek had to ask the chancellor of Liberty for assistance with his zipper. The chancellor at ...


Emotional-80-years-for-gay-Chicagoan

Emotional 80 years for gay Chicagoan - Bill Rydwell turned 80 years old Oct. 9, 2012, but he wasn't celebrating. In fact, he hasn't celebrated a birthday in almost 30 years. Back on July 13, 1985, Rydwell and Pedro "Franco" Prieto, partners of 17 years, went together to be tested for HIV. Both learned they were HIV-positive. Less than three months later, on what was Rydwell's 53rd ...


James-Baptist-Gay-businessman-is-former-Bradley-basketball-star

James Baptist: Gay businessman is former Bradley basketball star - James Baptist is an esoteric, self-employed, multifaceted, multi-dimensional, Chicago businessman, best known for his height and hoops. Baptist, 39, is a South side native now living in Rogers Park who graduated from Whitney Young High School and then Bradley University—starring on the basketball teams at both schools. He was 5-foot-5 in fourth-grade, reached 6-foot-6 in eighth-grade and stopped growing as ...


Queer-owned-sex-shop-moving-to-Andersonville

Queer-owned sex shop moving to Andersonville - After 12 years, Searah Deysach still tags her job—as owner of Early to Bed—as a dream come true. And things are about to get even better for the business—where vibrators are the bread and butter, including the Magic Wand, Silver Bullet, and others. Early to Bed is moving into Andersonville, opening at 5044 N. Clark St., two blocks south of ...


A-Gay-in-the-Life-Alfonso-Rodriguez

A Gay in the Life: Alfonso Rodriguez - Alfonso Rodriguez is a survivor. "I overcame trust and intimacy issues as a result of being molested from the age of 6 to the age of 8," he said. Rodriguez also survived an emotionally-abusive relationship, he said. "I survived falling into the dark world of drugs and alcohol. I survived being homeless as a result of that part of my ...


A-Gay-in-the-Life-Eric-Wickham

A Gay in the Life: Eric Wickham - Eric Wickham was working in mortgage finance and just not content with his 9-to-5 work world in a cubicle. "I remember thinking about what made me happiest and I chased an opportunity," he said. "Working in bars and restaurants, there always are funny stories, and my favorites are ones that happen to [fellow] employees. Or jokes and games we play ...


Bi-in-the-Life-Matthew-Kopp

Bi in the Life: Matthew Kopp - Matthew Kopp admitted he's an introvert and needs a lot of time to work on his art, so working-from-home is necessary. "I needed independent work while pursuing my art," Kopp said. "It sometimes is very difficult to balance being an artist and gaining income." Plus, Kopp has worked through trauma issues and depression through 14 years of therapy. "The gift ...







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