Chicago's Gay and Lesbian Hall Of Fame 2010

Recently, I attended the 20th annual induction ceremony for the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame. I must say that it's really inspiring to know that the City of Chicago really, truly, recognizes its LGBT community.

The City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations' Advisory Council on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues inducted 11 individuals and four organizations into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, the only known government-sponsored hall of fame that honors members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community, announced Chairman and Commissioner Dana V. Starks.

Those honored in 2010 are:

Individuals

Claudia Allen,
55, perhaps the most prolific contemporary writer of lesbian-themed
plays; 11 of her 24 produced plays have lesbian themes or a major
character who is lesbian or bisexual, including "Hannah Free," which
premiered at Chicago's Bailiwick Repertory Theatre in 1992 and became an
award-winning feature film in 2009.

Dan Di Leo
(1938-1989), a U.S. Army veteran and co-founder of Gay Chicago Magazine;
his experience and knowledge as a journalist and businessman were
largely responsible for the early growth of the magazine, which is a
cornerstone of Chicago's LGBT community; he died of complications from
AIDS.

Scott Free, 50, activist, musician, and founder of
both Homolatte, the longest running queer performance series in the
nation, and ALT Q, another of the nation's longest running festivals for
LGBTQ performers.

Bob Gammie, 84, an active organizer and
fundraiser since 1949, for his many years of community service,
including being one of the first organizers of gay activities in non-bar
settings, in particular the volleyball games in Lincoln Park that grew
into the Lincoln Park Lagooners, which continues to flourish.

E. Patrick Johnson,
43, scholar, artist, and performer; for his leadership in the
African-American LGBT community, including publishing two books that
focus on black LGBT life:  Black Queer Studies and Sweet Tea:  Black Gay
Men of the South, an oral history of black gay men.

David Ernesto Munar,
40, for his leadership and advocacy on both local and national LGBTQ
and Latino issues and, as a person living with HIV, for his work to
shape local, state, and federal policy on HIV/AIDS.

Achy Obejas,
54, activist and writer; appointed by former Mayor Harold Washington to
the city's first Committee on Gay and Lesbian Issues and by former
Mayor Eugene Sawyer to his Advisory Council on Gay and Lesbian Issues,
she worked to secure passage of the Chicago Human Rights ordinance; as a
journalist she shared a Pulitzer Prize in 2001, and she has published
fiction, non-fiction, and poetry.

Paul G. Oostenbrug, 60,
runner and community volunteer, for his long and dedicated service to
Team Chicago, which takes LGBT Chicagoans to the Gay Games, and for his
involvement on the boards of the Federation of Gay Games and Chicago
House, a local AIDS service agency.

Jose R. Rios, 42,
police officer, for his nine years of service as the Chicago Police
Department's liaison to the LGBT communities of Chicago, including his
extensive outreach to the deaf community, youth, other government
offices, community organizations, and police departments across the
nation.

The Rev. Stan Sloan, 47, Episcopal priest and CEO
of Chicago House, for his dedicated and innovative leadership in the
homeless and AIDS service communities, including opening Sweet Miss
Giving's Bakery, which serves as both a jobs program and a source of
income for Chicago House.

Mark E. Wojcik, 48, legal
scholar, John Marshall Law School professor, and founder of the Chicago
Bar Association's Committee on Legal Rights of Lesbian and Gay Men, for
leadership and mentorship in the legal profession and for promoting
legislative change at the state and federal levels.

Organizations

Asians & Friends -
Chicago, for 26 years of providing a social network for gay men of Asian
descent and building a bridge between them and the larger LGBT
community, culturally, socially, and philanthropically; as one of the
first organizations of its kind, it inspired other similar groups to
form elsewhere.

International Mr. Leather, for 31 years of
drawing worldwide attention and attendance to Chicago by way of its
annual weekend of events for the international leather community,
significantly contributing to Chicago's tourism revenue; it has also
been a pioneer in support of LGBT rights and health issues.

Friends of the Community

American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois,
for decades of support for the civil liberties of the LGBT community
and persons living with HIV as well as for advocacy of nondiscrimination
laws covering sexual orientation, gender identity, and HIV status.

Chicago History Museum,
for decades of acquiring and preserving LGBT historical documents and
artifacts and for its groundbreaking "Out at CHM" lecture series, which
presents LGBT history in the context of Chicago history.

Among some of the attendees at the induction ceremony were mayoral hopefuls Rahm Emanuel and Carol Moseley Braun.

And,
what was really exciting is that the State of Illinois hosted its 2010
Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame Exhibit in the atrium of the James
R. Thompson Center.  Photos and biographies of the inductees were on
display, highlighting their achievements and contributions to the City
of Chicago.

One day, I truly hope to be apart of this prestigious
list of the only known government-sponsored gay and lesbian hall of
fame. I love this city!

Congratulations, honorees!

*Photos courtesy of Rick Aguilar Studios

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