Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-06-19
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Reflecting on Daley's LGBT past
by Rex Wockner

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Strongly pro-gay Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, who has led the city for 21 years, announced Sept. 7 that he will not run for a seventh term.

Apart from a series of run-ins with ACT UP/Chicago in the late '80s and early '90s, Daley has been nothing short of a hero to most of the city's LGBT community.

In 1989, he became the first mayor to ride in the Chicago gay pride parade while in office.

Two years later, Daley set up the nation's first municipally sponsored Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame and proceeded to personally hand out the awards nearly every year since.

In 1998, he redecorated the city's gay business strip, North Halsted Street, with a series of giant Flash-Gordon-esque retrofuturistic rainbow pylons. When some residents objected to the official gayification of the street, fearing for their property values, Daley thundered, "I won't let the homophobes run this city!"

He has been a supporter of same-sex marriage since 2004.

Daley went on to serve as honorary co-chair of Gay Games VII in 2006 and, in 2007, was honorary chair of the capital campaign to get the city's new LGBT center built.

At the Games' opening ceremonies, Daley said: "Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community have contributed to Chicago in every imaginable way—in business, education, the arts and neighborhood development. They deserve to have the city of Chicago standing on their side, and it will continue to do so, as long as I am mayor of this great city."

Daley was pro-gay before it was cool. He decided long ago that gays make neighborhoods better, and that seemed to be that for him. He never wavered. His spoken defenses of the city's gays were straightforward and from the gut.

The mayor's conflicts with ACT UP/Chicago came to a head on Feb. 12, 1992, when he and six members of the group engaged in a shouting match at a meeting of the gay business group Chicago Professional Networking Association.

ACT UP members were angry that the city's AIDS budget allegedly had been stagnant for several years and that, due to a then-new policy of not working on Sundays, Daley had missed AIDS Walk and the gay pride parade, among other issues.

"I have been in the forefront as a public official dealing with the gay and lesbian community," Daley told the hecklers. "You don't see the governor, you don't see any other elected official. I'm right here! And I don't hide! I don't hide from the gay and lesbian community as mayor of the city of Chicago! The gay and lesbian community has a ( yearly ) reception not at a Hilton hotel but at the mayor's City Hall on the fifth floor ( where my office is ) . ... And the AIDS budget each year goes up in the city of Chicago."

"That's a lie!" the protesters yelled back. "It hasn't gone up in three years! It's a million dollars. It's the same as it was! ... You're lying!"

"I'm just as concerned as anybody else," Daley said. "Don't make me one who's insincere and not concerned about the AIDS issue."

The protesters then lambasted Daley for having attended the wake of Danny Sotomayor, who had been ACT UP/Chicago's spiritual leader and perhaps Daley's fiercest critic ever. "Liar!" they shouted. "Why did you go to Danny Sotomayor's funeral? Why. Did. You. Go. To. Danny. Sotomayor's. Funeral?!"

At that point, pandemonium ensued and CPNA ejected ACT UP from the gathering.

Daley then said: "I always remember Danny Sotomayor. I went to his wake. ... I went there out of respect for him and his family. Now, he's a strong advocate. I used to see him all the time. He'd, you know, scream and yell in my face. I said: 'Danny, why you yelling at me? I'm here. This is a reception we're having. This is what we're doing. I'm not perfect. But don't try to make me the one, like, insensitive or not concerned. There's a lot of other people who won't even talk to you, won't even shake your hand, listen to you, won't understand what you're saying.'"

As for ACT UP's tactics, Daley said: "To get up and say anything, that's their right to do anything, but after a time you have to say: 'Hey, let's move on. I've heard. I've listened. We are trying to do it. It's not fast enough. You're right, it's not fast enough.'"

"You know why it's not fast enough?" he continued. "When one person dies, you're right, it's not fast enough. It's not fast enough for you or me or anybody else when you see one person die. And one thing I found out—that we're all in this together. We're not separate, we're not higher or lower, we're all together. And these issues that confront any community confront the city of Chicago. And what we're trying to do here in our city is to truly work together."

A little more than three months after the showdown—and an even worse blowup seven weeks later, when 40 furious AIDS activists torpedoed the mayor with vicious insults for 90 minutes as he and more than 500 gays and lesbians marched through gay neighborhoods in response to an anti-gay shooting—Daley relented on AIDS spending, and the City Council voted 46-0 to boost funding to $3.57 million.

"This is a very serious health and emotional problem and we have to recommit ourselves," Daley said.

According to Windy City Times and the Chicago Tribune, one of the people who may run to replace Daley is Alderman Tom Tunney, who is openly gay.

—Assistance: Bill Kelley

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

LGBTQ elected officials up by 24.9% in past year, 698 now serving 2019-06-24 - Washington, DC — There are 698 known openly LGBTQ elected officials in the United States — a 24.9 percent increase in the past ...

Gay News

People with disabilities wanted to talk about justice system 2019-06-23 - Access Living, a local disability rights and advocacy organization, is seeking people with disabilities who have had contact with the Cook County criminal ...

Gay News

Wintrust hosts second annual Pride Month event 2019-06-22 - Wintrust Financial Corporation held its second annual Pride month reception and panel discussion June 19 at the Wintrust Grand Banking Hall in Chicago's ...

Gay News

Congressman Chuy Garcia on Reports of ICE Raids Starting This Weekend 2019-06-21 - Chicago, IL- Congressman JesÃs "Chuy" GarcÃa ( IL-04 ) issued the following statement in response to news reports that the U.S. Immigration and ...

Gay News

Lightfoot hosts Pride reception 2019-06-21 - Hundreds gathered in Preston Bradley Hall in the Chicago Cultural Center as Mayor Lori Lightfoot hosted an LGBT reception in honor of Pride ...

Gay News

Metropolitan Water Reclamation District raises rainbow LGBT flag 2019-06-21 - The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District ( MWRD ) raised the rainbow LGBT flag Thursday for first time in 130 years. The MWRD Board ...

Gay News

Aldermen Mobilize to Protect Chicagoans from Promised ICE Raids 2019-06-21 - President Donald Trump directed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to move forward with targeted immigration raids ...

Gay News

Title X gag rule begins, limiting health care access for many, Planned Parenthood responds 2019-06-20 - WASHINGTON —— The Trump-Pence administration's Title X gag rule takes effect today in every state but Maryland, after a ruling by a panel ...

Gay News

HRC Chicago holds Equality Act panel discussion 2019-06-19 - Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) Chicago hosted a panel discussion, "The Equality Act & Me," May 29 at Morningstar Inc. to highlight ...

Gay News

Commissioner looking to amend rights ordinance 2019-06-19 - Newly elected Cook County Commissioner Kevin Morrison is aiming to amend a section of the human-rights ordinance. The change would eliminate language on ...


Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.