Nine individuals, three organizations and two friends of the community have been selected for 2017 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 Wed., Nov. 8, at 5:30 p.m. at the Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St. The reception will begin at 5:30 p.m., with the program scheduled to follow. 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.
Hall of Fame inductees fall into one of three categories: "individual," "organization" or "friend of the community." Nominees represent LGBT Chicagoans, past and present, living and dead, as well as those who have supported or assisted them.
Those honored in 2017 in the "Individual" category include:
Keith Butler, 45: Butler is an actor who starred as Kevin in the groundbreaking three-part TV movie Kevin's Room, about a support group for Black gay men. Butler used the platform to raise AIDS awareness and improve sexual health in the LGBT community, particularly within communities of color.
Kathy Caldwell, 58: Caldwell is a police officer whose community service includes positions as treasurer of the Lesbian and Gay Police Association and Gay Officer's Action League as well as the vice chair of the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame. She is a former board member of the Chicago Gay Games, serving as liaison between police, the city and the Gay Games.
Ketty Teanga aka Miss Ketty ( 1947-2011 ): Teanga was a performer and pioneer in the Latina trans community as well as a mentor to many young Latina and drag performers. Teanga was largely known for performing at Circuit Nightclub with the long-running promotion La Noche Loca for 15 years.
Greer Lankton ( 1958-1996 ): Raised in Park Forest, Illinois, Lankton was a distinctive transgender artist who blended folk and fine art in her work. A leading figure in the East Village Art Renaissance of the 1980s, she died in Chicago in 1996. In early 2017, Lankton became the first trans artist to show at the National Gallery of Art.
Mark Nagel, 55: A veteran of Chicago's LGBT press and avid supporter of numerous community causes and organizations. Starting in 1993, Nagel worked in several capacities at Gay Chicago Magazine. Eight years ago, he helped launch the popular publication, GRAB Magazine.
Glen Pietrandoni, 61: A veteran of Walgreens who from 1996-2003 managed the pharmacy at Howard Brown Health Center specializing in HIV/AIDS, he also co-chaired AIDS Foundation of Chicago World of Chocolate for nine years and was a board member for TPA, where he was recognized as volunteer of the year in 2002.
Dulce Quintero, 39: Director of Health Center Operations at Erie Humboldt Park. Quintero was a former direct service provider and advocate for homeless/street-based clients including LGBT youth and established and operated La Casa Norte's Casa Corazon Youth Drop-in program for LGBTQ street based youth.
Timothy Stewart-Winter, 37: He is a historian and author of the critically acclaimed book Queer Clout: Chicago and the Rise of Gay Politics, which documents the emergence of the LGBT movement in Chicago. Stewart-Winter is currently associate professor of history at Rutgers University-Newark.
Alicia T. Vega, 46: Vega is a founder of the Gay and Lesbian Alliance at Loyola. In 1995, Vega joined Amigas Latinas, eventually becoming joining the board and serving as co-chair and treasurer. She is also a committed advocate for communities affected by trauma, especially LGBTQ youth. In 2013, she founded Q-Yes: Queer Youth Exploring Spirituality.
Those in the "Organization" category include:
Lavender Woman: It was a groundbreaking publication and one of the earliest lesbian periodicals in the country. The all-volunteer staff published 26 issues during 1971-1976, fostering lesbian awareness while chronicling art, news and issues in the lesbian community of Chicago and beyond.
Leather Archives and Museum: It is an internationally renowned museum and archives committed to safeguarding the history of the leather and kink community. Founded in 1991 by Chuck Renslow and Tony DeBlase, the LA&M has been as source of research and education through exhibits and workshops for 26 years.
People Like Us Bookstore ( 1988-1997 ): Chicago's only exclusively gay and lesbian bookstore functioned as a community center, providing a safe space for LGBT individuals to explore their sexuality. The store hosted numerous LGBT authors, readings and events as well as donated gift certificates to countless LGBT organizations.
Those in the "Friends of the Community" category include:
Alphawood Foundation: A leader in Chicago's philanthropic community for more than 25 years, offering grants to assist numerous LGBT organizations including the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, TPAN and the Center on Halsted. The organization recently presented the Art AIDS America exhibit from December 2016 through April 2017.
Ralla Klepak, 80: Klepak is a longtime Chicago lawyer recognized for decades of service to the LGBT community. Klepak represented hundreds of gay men in raids and entrapment cases. Klepak was a pro bono lawyer for Mattachine Midwest and a champion of same sex adoptions. Additional contributions included changing birth certificates for trans clients, and providing estate planning for those dying of AIDS.
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. This year marks the 27th annual induction ceremony, which 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 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.