Twelve individuals, two organizations, and two friends of the community have been selected for induction into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame, the organization which honors and celebrates notable members of Chicago's LGBT communities.
The Hall of Fame's annual induction ceremony will take place on Wednesday, November 9, from 5:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. at the Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL. The reception will begin at 5:30 p.m., with the program scheduled to follow at 6:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
The inductees were selected by a committee composed of current individual inductees who reviewed an array of nominations submitted by members of the public. The names were released by Friends of the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame, a section 501( c )( 3 ) nonprofit organization.
"This year's inductees, like our rosters since 1991, represent LGBT achievements in a variety of fields," said Mary Morten and Gary G. Chichester, co-chairs of the Friends organization and longtime leaders in maintaining the Hall of Fame. "Each year, the Hall of Fame spotlights some of the many who have made contributions to their own communities and to the city as a whole."
"It continues to show how important contributions from our LGBT communities and from our friends pave the way for the future," said Israel Wright, executive director of the organization. "It is humbling to recognize each inductee's special efforts to create change in ways that affect us all so greatly."
Hall of Fame inductees fall into one of three categories: "individual," "organization," or "friend of the community." Nominees represent all of Chicago's sexual-minority communities, including LGBT Chicagoans, past and present, living and dead, as well as those who have supported or assisted them.
Those honored in 2016 in the "Individual" Category:
Robert Allerton ( 1873-1964 ) | Honorary president and trustee of the Art Institute, this gay Chicago philanthropist's donations beautified the city. In 1951 Allerton pressured the state legislature to permit adult adoptions. He spearheaded this effort as a way to adopt his adult partner so his inheritance could not be legally challenged. This opened the door the first legally recognized same-sex relationships.
Tom Bachtell, 59 | Artist, musician, and, most notably, the prolific illustrator whose distinctive drawings and caricatures appear in "Talk of the Town" and other sections of The New Yorker, as well as periodicals such as Newsweek and Entertainment Weekly.
Ronald E. Bogan, 65 | In 1992 he became the first man to publicly come out as gay in a major Chicago newspaper while still actively serving in the Chicago Police Department opening the door to recruiting openly LGBT officers. He served on the CPD as a Hate Crimes investigator.
Roman Buenostro, 49 | Co-founder of the Association for Latin Men for Action ( ALMA ) and who has served persons living with AIDS as a Director at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago for the last 18 years, most recently as the Director of Special Projects overseeing innovative programs that seek to reengage people living with HIV.
David Cerda, 55 | Co-founder and artistic director of Hell in a Handbag Productions, a theatrical group formed to celebrate and preserve the art of high camp and parody on the stage. His productions include "Poseidon: An Upside Down Musical", "The Birds", "Christmas Dearest", and "Caged Dames" among many others.
David Csicsko, 59 | Acclaimed graphic artist and designer whose distinctive artwork, stained glass, and mosaics have beautified many Chicago locales, including the Belmont "EL" Station. His many credits include designing the 2012 holiday season displays at the White House.
Patrick Dennis ( 1921-1976 ) | Author of sixteen books including the enormously popular bestselling camp classic Auntie Mame. Dennis was the first individual to have three books simultaneously on the New York Times best seller list.
Kim Hunt, 54 | Current Executive Director of the Pride Action Network, former Executive Director of Affinity Community Services, Co-founder of the OUTSpoken storytelling series, and current Board Member of the Legacy Project.
Dr. Thomas Klein, 65 | Longtime openly gay physician who was on the front lines during the darkest days of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. He has served on the Boards of Howard Brown as well as Horizons, is a current Board member of Heartland Health Outreach, and is a member of the Gay and Lesbian American Medical Association.
Norma Seledon, 54 | Longstanding activist within the women's, Latina, and LGBTQ communities through her professional affiliations with Chicago Public Schools as well as Amigas Latinas, Mujeres Latinas in Accione, and Lesbian Community Cancer Project.
Maritxa Vidal, 59 | President of the TransLatin@Coalition - Chicago Chapter, Board Member of the national TransLatin@Coalition, and Director of Health Education, Community Outreach, and Marketing at Vida/SIDA.
Dr. Yvonne Welbon, 54 | Acclaimed filmmaker has promoted understanding the experience of Black Lesbians, Black Women, and the larger Black Community. Her work includes "Sisters in Cinema", "The New Black", and "Living with Pride: Ruth Ellis @ 100".
In the "Organization" category:
Amigas Latinas | Non-profit organization which provided advocacy, programming, and support for an array of issues facing LGBTQ Latinas in the Chicagoland area from 1995 to 2015.
Big Chicks | For thirty years this pioneering Uptown bar has served as a diverse LGBTQ watering hole, a hub of community events and performances, and a longstanding center of LGBTQ fundraising and sponsorship.
And in the "Friend of the Community" Category:
Patrick Quinn, 68 | Governor of Illinois from 2009-2015. Quinn is a longtime supporter of the LGBTQ community whose contributions included decisive support for anti-bullying, HIV funding, non-discriminatory policies, and signing legislation to make Illinois the 16th state to provide full marriage equality.
The John Marshall Law School | A Chicago institution since 1899. An early opponent of police entrapment and of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, JMLS remains a center for LGBT advocacy and scholarship in Illinois.
The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame was established in 1991 under the auspices of what was then the Chicago Commission on Human Relations' Advisory Council on Gay and Lesbian ( later, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender ) Issues, a municipal government agency. At the end of 2011, the advisory council ceased to exist after a commission restructuring, and the Friends organization succeeded it as caretaker of the Hall of Fame in partnership with city government.
Beginning with the first ceremony in 1991, former Mayor Richard M. Daley personally participated in the Hall of Fame's induction ceremonies. Current Mayor Rahm Emanuel has done the same.
The purpose of the organization 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 2016, the 26th annual induction ceremony will be held and the honor remains an official recognition by Chicago's government of the city's LGBT residents and their allies.
Those selected for the "individual" category are or were members of Chicago's LGBT communities and have made single far-reaching or significant long-term contributions to the quality of life of those communities or of the city as a whole. Those in the "organization" category are LGBT businesses and nonprofit groups that have done likewise. "Friends of the community" are non-LGBT-identified individuals and organizations that have contributed to the quality of life of the city's LGBT communities.