Twelve individuals and three organizations will be inducted in November into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, the country's only known government recognized hall of fame that honors members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities. The Hall of Fame is celebrating its 21st anniversary.
The inductees were selected by a committee composed of former inductees, which reviewed nominations submitted by members of the public. The names were released by Friends of the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, which assumed responsibility in 2012 for the Hall of Fame's operations in cooperation with the City of Chicago and its Commission on Human Relations.
The chosen nominees will be inducted at the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame's annual ceremony, which will take place on the evening of Monday, November 12, at the Chicago History Museum, 1601 North Clark Street, Chicago. The event will be free and open to the public.
"It's impressive to realize that, even after 21 years, there are still important figures from the past and an ever-growing list of current Chicagoans whose accomplishments and community contributions merit being honored by the Hall of Fame," said Israel Wright, executive director of the Friends organization.
"We're grateful for the support we've received from Chicago individuals and organizations," said Gary Chichester, co-chairperson of Friends. "The Hall of Fame is a needed and historically significant institution, and we look forward to ongoing help from our benefactors to maintain and strengthen it."
Each inductee falls into one of three categories: Individual, Organization, and Friend of the Community. Nominees represent all of Chicago's sexual'minority communities, including LGBT Chicagoans, past, present, living, and dead, as well as those who have supported or assisted them.
The persons honored in 2012 are:
Minister Lois L. Bates (1970 - 2011), for her 14 years as an advocate for transgender youth and other LGBT youth. She served as an adviser, trainer, and health educator on HIV-prevention and transgender issues; as secretary of the Windy City Black Pride Committee; and as a clergywoman in Chicago and in a national transgender ministry.
St. Sukie de la Croix, 60, for his 25 years as a social commentator and researcher on Chicago's LGBT history. He has published oral-history interviews; lectured; conducted historical tours; documented LGBT life through columns, photographs, humor features, and fiction; and written the book Chicago Whispers (University of Wisconsin Press, 2012) on local LGBT history.
Sanford E. Gaylord, 47, for his 17 years as an actor, a creative LGBT and HIV/AIDS activist, and a writer. He co-founded A Real Read, an African American LGBT performance ensemble; has written for LGBT-themed films and in columns for LGBT media; and participated in HIV/AIDS research and education projects.
William W. Greaves, 61, for some 25 years as an activist in politics and in running-and-walking clubs and as an editor focusing on AIDS. As a member from 1995 to 2000 and as the director from 2000 through 2011 of the city Advisory Council on Gay and Lesbian Issues (later, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues), he took an important part in local LGBT rights advances.
Keith R. Green, 35, for 10 years of work on the HIV/AIDS epidemic among black gay and bisexual men. He was associate editor of Positively Aware, helped to establish the anti-AIDS group Chicago Black Gay Men's Caucus, led a research project on HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis among young men who have sex with men, and is on the AIDS Foundation of Chicago staff.
Mark Ishaug, 48, for 21 years of work as a Chicago social-service administrator concentrating on AIDS and as a political activist. He led the AIDS Foundation of Chicago from 1998 to 2011 and was on its staff since 1991. While there, he led in diversifying its funding base, expanding its services, and heightening its profile as a national authority on AIDS political issues.
Bill Pry, 64, for some 25 years of community service as a business owner, philanthropist, and advocate. He is an owner of BBJ Table Fashions and has donated tens of thousands of dollars' worth of services to enhance local organizations' programs and events. He has also been a vocal advocate for increased services to help LGBTQ youth realize their potential.
Chuck Rodocker, 63, for his more than 30 years as an activist and community-minded business owner. His first major forays into activism occurred with antiAnita Bryant and antipolice harassment protests in the 1970s. In 1977, he opened the bar Touch©, which has been a place of community ever since, hosting benefits and meetings and responding to a variety of social needs.
Heather C. Sawyer, 48, for nearly 10 years of service in Chicago's Midwest Regional Office of Lambda Legal and her subsequent efforts in Congress. As Lambda's senior counsel in Chicago, she worked on issues of HIV/AIDS, LGBT youth, parenting, and marriage. As minority counsel for the House Judiciary Committee, she has continued working for marriage rights.
Honey West, 51, for more than 25 years as a cabaret singer and entertainer in Chicago nightclubs and restaurants. She has blended her transgender identity into her career, and during that career she has often performed at benefits for AIDS and other charities. She has also appeared onstage as Honey West and, as Don Auxier, in Dirty Dreams of a Clean-Cut Kid, an early AIDS musical.
Chicago Black Gay Men's Caucus, for its seven years of bridging gaps between traditional health providers and nontraditional providers (club/party, faith, business) that serve black men who have sex with men. The organization works to reduce new HIV infections through creative and collaborative programming that promotes HIV testing and risk-reduction activities.
Chi-Town Squares, for its 25 years of breaking barriers between LGBT and non-LGBT square dancers, while teaching and providing a venue for LGBT square dancing in Chicago and the central U.S. It hosted an international gay square dance convention in 2010, and one of its offshoots is the well-known She Devils, a bearded troupe of drag performers who dress in square-dance attire.
Proud to Run, Chicago, for the 30 years of Proud to Run races, walks, and rallies during Pride Week each year that it and its precursor entities have conducted as a celebration and as a way of providing financial support to community organizations. The annual events have grown to more than 1,400 participants and, in the past three decades, have raised more than $300,000 for local beneficiaries.
Friends of the Community
David Orr, 67, for his 38 years of outspoken support for LGBT communities as politician and public official. As a campaign manager in 1974 and beginning in 1978 as 49th Ward alderman, he backed a city ban on anti-LGBT discrimination. As Cook County clerk, he has helped set up a county domestic-partnership registry, pass the state civil-unions law, win the current marriage suit, and oppose DOMA.
Laura S. Washington, 57, for her 29 years of supporting LGBT communities as a journalist and a member of the late Mayor Harold Washington's administration. She has illuminated LGBT goals and achievements through her columns in the Chicago Sun-Times and alternative media and earlier as editor of the Chicago Reporter magazine.
The Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame was established in 1991 under the auspices of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations' former Advisory Council on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues, a municipal government agency. At the end of 2011, the Advisory Council ceased to exist after a reorganization of the Commission's advisory councils, and the Friends organization succeeded it as caretaker of the Hall of Fame.
Beginning with the first one in 1991, former Mayor Richard M. Daley personally participated in the Hall of Fame's induction ceremonies. Current Mayor Rahm Emanuel has continued to do so.
The Hall of Fame's 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. In 2012, it holds its 22nd annual induction ceremony and continues to represent an official recognition by Chicago's government of the city's LGBT residents and their allies.