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 2020-07-08
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Remembering Michael Bauer, a call to pick up the baton
by Coco Soodek

facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Remarks as prepared for delivery at the memorial service for community leader Mike Bauer, Sept. 3, 2019.

I'm here to speak for the hundreds of people for whom Mike was also a mentor, a teacher, a coach. If you are one of those people who Mike took by he hand, raise your hand. I'll get back to you in a moment.

I met Mike in January, 2003, at a movie screening about a middle aged married Heterosexual Cisgender man who transitions. I thought the movie was too long and a scoche maudlin. Mike did not. I sat next to him, a virtual stranger, and he sobbed. Sobbed. I had wanted to meet him, because I wanted to get involved politically. Cause of W. But, I didn't have connections. I asked around. Everyone said Mike Bauer. I got lucky and handed him a tissue. We had lunch. We became friends. And he introduced me to the world.

Being Mike's friend was a treat. Cause with Mike, you got access. He knew everyone and always had a seat to fill. At first, it was a state senator here, a judge there, a gaggle of aldermen. Then, a member of congress, maybe a governor from a western state and on and on. One day, in the late winter of 08, Mike called. He had a fundraiser, he had raised all the dough, but a raging snow storm killed his crowd and made his venue impossible. Could I host — in an hour? Of course. So, in 08, it was Mike, me, about 3 lawyers from my firm and Joe Biden.

Seeing Mike at events was always such a relief. Didn't we all feel that at least a dozen times. You walk into an event. Maybe you've got a case of the shies. Or you just want to go home or back to work. And you don't know people in the room, who you like. Then, you see Mike. He gives you a big hug. He takes you by the hand. And, he introduces you around. He lets you hang on him, be in his orbit. Suddenly, you feel more relaxed and more energized than you thought possible.

Some of the things Mike taught me and dozens of other people seem aburdly obvious today, but when he taught them they were absurdly unfathomable. Here were just a few of his lessons.

- I and you and you and you and you and you can raise money, debate, demand, support and oppose anyone running or serving. Mike taught us we didn't need permission to speak or agitate. That we have both a right and an obligation to influence the trajectory of our communities.

-Demand that the people who ask for your vote and your cash stand for something until it hurts. It's ok to have high expectations. Because, as he said many times, WHY WORK FOR A CANDIDATE IF THEY WON'T STAND FOR THE THINGS WE NEED.

-Friend widely. Ever tried to walk a straight line with him through 312? Not possible. And, he was friends with everyone - Senators and teachers and Mayors and lawyers and waiters and VCs and moguls.

- It's ok if some people don't like you. Even if they don't like you a lot.

- Don't be intimidated by anyone. Not anyone. Everyone is just a person.

- When the going gets tough, fury is an effective fuel.

- Once you sign on to a campaign, you don't quit just cause you're probably going to lose. Because loyalty matters.

-And, he showed me, and this one spun me around — that you can dance with your same sex partner while wearing formal attire, next to other people wearing formal attire. Though I could never dance as joyously as he did.

All of the things he did came with sacrifice. He served as a lawyer, then a businessman, then an entrepreneur. His passion for politics cost money and time. The focus that some of us may devote to careerism he diverted to organizing, raising, mentoring. At one point, the morning after he took out a full page newpaper ad thanking Larry McKeon for his service he said to me "OH WELL. WE'LL NEVER HAVE A HOUSE IN MICHIGAN. BUT, THIS IS MORE IMPORTANT."


He stitched so many people, issues, organizations and constituencies together.

Once more, please. Each of you who had the privilege to be mentored by the great Michael Bauer, JD, MBA, VIP, MVP, raise your hands. He taught you and me through access, lessons, reprimands, disappoinments and pride - how to advance a cause or a candidate. How to be true to yourself as an activist.

-Each of you - each of us - owe it to Mike to pick up his baton.

-Friend Widely.

- Connect People Deliberately.

-Learn. Listen. Raise and fight.

-And, when someone sees you in a crowd, let them feel a sense of relief at your sight, welcome them, take them by the hand, introduce them around, and urge them to fight for what they believe in.

Also see and .

facebook twitter 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

Stand up and be counted 2020-07-10 - As the LGBTQ+ navigator of Chinese Mutual Aid Association, I want to encourage everyone, both LGBTQ+ individuals and cisgender/straight allies, to get counted ...

Gay News

PASSAGES William 'Bill' Walter Weeks 2020-07-08 - William ( "Bill" ) Walter Weeks passed away suddenly June 29. Bill was a lifelong resident of Chicago and preceded in death ...

Gay News

PASSAGES Brent L. Conn 2020-07-06 - Brent L. Conn—a caterer and business owner—passed away peacefully July 4 at home in Evanston. He was 67. Born in Springfield, Illinois, Brent ...

Gay News

LETTER Standing up against racism 2020-06-27 - Dear community: June is Pride Month. Over 50 years ago, on June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar ...

Gay News

MOMBIAN Supporting LGBTQ families requires that Black Lives Matter 2020-06-24 - Black lives matter. Black LGBTQ lives matter. And we will never have a just world for LGBTQ families until we have racial justice. ...

Gay News

PASSAGES Nightlife figure Cody Laughlin dies at 26 2020-06-20 - Lucky Horseshoe Lounge dancer Cody Laughlin died June 15 at his home. The cause of death is currently unknown. He was 26. Laughlin ...

Gay News

PASSAGES Donald Ratner 2020-06-06 - Donald Ratner, a lifelong Chicagoan who was a leading figure in Chicago business and philanthropy, passed away Jan. 19, 2020 due to complications ...

Gay News

PASSAGES Carl Ross Mowery 2020-06-05 - Carl Ross Mowery, J.D.—a resident of Chicago's Lake View neighborhood who was born in Fairbury, Illinois—passed away peacefully May 30. He was 64. ...

Gay News

Remembering a leader: Larry Kramer 2020-06-02 - We lost a great leader this week with the death of Larry Kramer. Larry was an accomplished man and activist who earned ...

Gay News

THEATER Larry Kramer (1935-2020), polemicist and playwright 2020-05-30 - Larry Kramer was an angry man and he made sure people knew it. The language of his public discourse—the hundreds of articles he ...


Copyright © 2020 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  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar 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.