I first met Gerardo Montemayor at a meeting of Queer Nation in 1993. At that time, I was President of Frontrunners/Frontwalkers Chicago, and I asked Queer Nation to help address an incident of anti-gay discrimination by the executive director of the first AIDS Walk. Gerardo not only helped address the discrimination, he openly expressed support for Frontrunners, for the type of quiet, grassroots activism it practices, and for its standing up when it had been discriminated against. Gerardo's strength helped me to face an ugly situation of anti-gay discrimination within the gay community and to find a solution for it, and he remained my friend thereafter.
Gerardo was appointed to the Chicago Commission on Human Relations Advisory Council on Gay and Lesbian Issues in June of 1999, and he was a member of the Health & Access Committee until 2001 when it disbanded.
Gerardo encouraged the Advisory Council and its committees to hold meetings and events outside of City Hall and to make sure they were accessible and, if at all possible, centrally located. Gerardo also ensured that, as much as possible, the Advisory Council reflected the diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities in its advertisements and promotional materials. The advertisement for the Hall of Fame's 2003 Pride & Joy reception, which includes people of color, is a perfect example of his concern.
Gerardo's caring and good humor helped me enormously in the first months of my term as Director of the Advisory Council. He was my friend, and I miss him.
William W. Greaves
Advisory Council on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues
City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations