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In Memoriam
Inductees whose contributions are not forgotten.
Paul Adams
Inducted 2011 [Posthumous]
Paul Adams (1954-2000), an early AIDS campaigner who helped form Chicago for AIDS Rights (CFAR) and turned his status as a Mr. Windy City contest winner into an effective activism vehicle. Other involvements included Open Hand Chicago, the Pink Angels anti-crime group, Chicago Anti-Bashing Network, and a press column. [More about Paul Adams ]
Robert J. Adams
Inducted 1994 [Now Deceased]
A practicing lawyer earlier, he led Chicago’s NAMES Project chapter and from 1989 to 1991 was IMPACT’s first full time executive Director. He then joined the staff of openly gay U.S. Rep. Gary Studds; returned to Chicago in 1992 as development director for the Chicago Department of Health AIDS programs; and resigned for health reasons in 1993. Born in 1952, he died in 1994. [More about Robert J. Adams]
Jane Addams
Inducted 2008 [Posthumous]
Jane Addams (1860–1935), 1931 Nobel Prize winner, for her pioneering work in founding Hull House in 1890, which created a lasting model for social change and diverse thought. [More about Jane Addams]
Ortez Alderson
Inducted 1991 [Posthumous]
Born in 1952, he was an actor and activist who, among other achievements, helped organize the People of Color Aids Conference. He died of complications from AIDS in 1990. [More about Ortez Alderson]
Robert Henry Allerton
Inducted 2016 [Posthumous]
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. [More about Robert Henry Allerton]
Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap
Inducted 2006 [Posthumous]
Margaret Anderson (photo)(1886-1973) and Jane Heap (1883-1964), partners and free-thinking literary figures, for founding, editing, and publishing The Little Review, an avant-garde magazine that featured works by some of the most influential modern American and English writers between 1914 and 1929. See Jane Heap for her photo. [More about Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap]
Gerald Arpino
Inducted 2014 [Posthumous]
Gerald Arpino (1923–2008), co-founder of the Joffrey Ballet, which is celebrating its 20th year in Chicago, for his more than 50 Joffrey years as dancer, choreographer, and company director. [More about Gerald Arpino]
Robert Sloane Basker
Inducted 1993 [Now Deceased]
He founded Mattachine Midwest in 1965, began Chicago’s first gay and lesbian telephone hotline, and started discussions with police amid arbitrary raids and arrests. He also took part in pre-Stonewall national organizing and in Dade County organizing during the Anita Bryant era. Born in 1918, he remained a social-change activist in a variety of causes until his death in 2001. [More about Robert Sloane Basker]
Minister Lois L. Bates
Inducted 2012 [Posthumous]
Minister Lois L. Bates (1970-2011), for her 14 years as an advocate for transgender youth and other LGBT youth. She served as an adviser, trainer, and health educator on HIV-prevention and transgender issues; as secretary of the Windy City Black Pride Committee; and as a clergywoman in Chicago and in a national transgender ministry. [More about Minister Lois L. Bates]
David Brian Bell
Inducted 1999 [Posthumous]
After being diagnosed with AIDS, he became a visible public advocate for persons with HIV/AIDS and helped to build support, information, and protest networks for use in their struggle. [More about David Brian Bell]
Caryn Berman
Inducted 1995 [Now Deceased]
A psychotherapist and social worker, for some 20 years she has worked professionally and as a volunteer and political activist to improve Chicagoan’s lives. She has focused on the health and civil rights of lesbians and gay men but has skillfully built coalitions and has been an influential HIV/AIDS educator and policymaker. [More about Caryn Berman]
Roger Brown
Inducted 2004 [Posthumous]
Roger Brown achieved international recognition for innovations in American art. He developed a unique way of portraying and pointedly commenting on urban infrastructure, social issues, nature, history, and events both personal and societal. [More about Roger Brown]
George S. Buse
Inducted 1994 [Now Deceased]
As journalist, activist, actor, and minister, he made his mark on Chicago’s gay and lesbian community. A subject of Studs Terkel’s ‘The Good War’ and of the video documentary ‘Before Stonewall’, he was a WW II Marine veteran (discharged from a later Navy chaplaincy for being gay). He was a civil rights and anti-Vietnam War activist in the 1960s. Born in 1924, he died in 2000. [More about George S. Buse]
James A. Bussen
Inducted 1994 [Now Deceased]
Since 1973, his engaging personality and senses of humor and fairness have aided many Chicago gay and lesbian efforts. Besides much activity in local and state gay rights lobbying and fundraising, he is a longtime leader of Dignity/Chicago, the organization for lesbian and gay Roman Catholics, and was president of Dignity/USA from 1985 to 1989. [More about James A. Bussen]
Chef Tania Callaway
Inducted 2003 [Posthumous]
As an out lesbian and a longtime promoter and caterer for community events, she hosted house parties that became legend in Chicago’s African American lesbian community and beyond. She often donated services and was chef at the Heartland Cafe for some 10 years. [More about Chef Tania Callaway]
Roger "RJ" Chaffin
Inducted 1997 [Now Deceased]
One of Chicago’s most visible gay businesspersons for more than 25 years and a reliable volunteer for gay and lesbian and AIDS groups, he has produced numerous large charitable and special events, raised thousands of dollars for local organizations, gives his own money as well, co-produced a hate crimes documentary film, and been an active member of business groups. [More about Roger "RJ" Chaffin]
Samson Chan
Inducted 1995 [Posthumous]
During a short, courageous life he has built a legacy of social change here and overseas. In 1984 at the age of 23 he co-founded and became the first president of Asians and Friends-Chicago, a group for gay Asians and non-Asians that has been replicated in other cities internationally. After failing to gain a permanent U.S. residence, he returned to Hong Kong in 1991, became a pioneering and attention-getting gay and AIDS organizer there, but died of AIDS complications in 1995. [More about Samson Chan]
E. Kitch Childs, Ph.D.
Inducted 1993 [Posthumous]
She was a prominent clinical psychologist and advocate of gay and lesbian human rights legislation since 1973 as a feminist, lesbian activist, and founding member of the Association for Women in Psychology. She worked to revise the American Psychological Association’s attitude toward homosexuality. [More about E. Kitch Childs, Ph.D.]
Christopher Clason
Inducted 2004 [Posthumous]
For several years in the 1970s and 1980s, Chris Clason was a talented, entertaining figure as a singer-comic on local stages. He was also an Actors Equity member and worked onstage and backstage in community theater, children’s theater, and professional dinner theater as well as modeling. He had several other jobs in restaurants, catering, even the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. [More about Christopher Clason]
Charles E. Clifton
Inducted 2004 [Posthumous]
Charles E. Clifton made significant contributions as a health advocate for nearly 15 years before his death at age 45 on August 15, 2004. [More about Charles E. Clifton]
Jerrold Cohen
Inducted 1993 [Posthumous]
He was involved in forming more than a dozen community groups including University of Chicago Gay Liberation, Chicago Gay Alliance, Windy City Gay Chorus, and Chi-Town Squares. He was a key participant in the NAMES Project’s Chicago chapter and a charter member of Test Positive Aware Network. Born in 1943, he died of AIDS complications in 1991. [More about Jerrold Cohen]
T. Chris Cothran
Inducted 1995 [Now Deceased]
He was a veteran member of PrideChicago, which plans the annual pride parade. He helped to lead local and national gay and lesbian business organizations; the National Coalition of Black Lesbians and Gays; Kupona Network; and the Advisory Council on Gay and Lesbian Issues and its precursor committee. He died in 1996. [More about T. Chris Cothran]
Sarah Craig
Inducted 1995 [Posthumous]
She joined ‘GayLife’s’ staff in the late 1970s and rose to become coeditor. Then she started a typesetting business that helped many gay and lesbian groups. She became heavily involved in gay and lesbian political efforts and, as journalist and dramatic speaker, pushed for a city gay rights bill. In the late 1980s she was associate editor of ‘Windy City Times’ for five years. She died in 1994. [More about Sarah Craig]
Jacques Cristion
Inducted 2006 [Posthumous]
Jacques Cristion (1936-2003), dancer, costume designer, and dressmaker; for more than 31 years of hosting and performing in the annual Halloween drag ball on the South Side, which created a community of gay men and lesbians that continues today. [More about Jacques Cristion]
Jon-Henri Damski
Inducted 1991 [Now Deceased]
He was a columnist for ‘GayLife’, ‘Gay Chicago Magazine’, ‘Windy City Times’, and ultimately ‘Nightlines’ and ‘Outlines’. His lobbying efforts were important to the passage of the Chicago human rights ordinance in 1989 and the hate crimes ordinance in 1990. Born in 1937, he died of melanoma complications in 1997. [More about Jon-Henri Damski]
Samuel F. Davis, Jr.
Inducted 1994 [Posthumous]
From 1987, as an entrepreneur and attorney, he developed a nurturing environment particularly for Chicago’s gay and lesbian African Americans. Bars he co-founded were Dëeks, Pangea, and the Clubhouse. He also aided the Kupona Network, the Minority Outreach Intervention Project, and the Reimer Foundation. [More about Samuel F. Davis, Jr.]
The Rev. Gregory R. Dell
Friend of the Community Inducted 2008 [Now Deceased]
The Rev. Gregory R. Dell, 62, for his support of recognizing the unions of same-sex couples in the face of a church trial and suspension from his pastoral duties, and for his ongoing support of social justice for sexual and other minorities. [More about The Rev. Gregory R. Dell]
Dan Di Leo
Inducted 2010 [Posthumous]
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. [More about Dan Di Leo]
Thom Dombkowski
Inducted 1992 [Now Deceased]
He was a leader in the development and formation of Chicago House and Social Service Agency, where he also served as principal fund-raiser and eventually as executive director. He also proposed establishment of the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame and brought his idea to fruition during his tenure on the Advisory Council on Gay and Lesbian Issues. [More about Thom Dombkowski]
Eddie Dugan
Inducted 2008 [Posthumous]
Eddie Dugan (1944–1987), showman and patron of the arts, for defining and helping to invent the disco phenomenon in Chicago by launching with great fanfare, in June 1973, the legendary Bistro — a precursor of the hoopla that later surrounded Studio 54 in New York — and later nightlife venues in Chicago. [More about Eddie Dugan]
Mary "Merry Mary" Featherson
Friend of the Community Inducted 2005 [Now Deceased]
For more than 25 years of volunteer service as a Lake View resident to such groups as Howard Brown Health Center, NAMES Project, Chicago Gay Men's Chorus, Windy City Gay Chorus, Unison, Dignity/Chicago, Archdiocesan Gay and Lesbian Outreach, Chi-Town Squares, and Vital Bridges' GroceryLand Pantry. [More about Mary "Merry Mary" Featherson ]
Antonia “Tata” Flores
Inducted 2011 [Posthumous]
Antonia “Tata” Flores (1958-2008), founder in 1987 of Chicago’s Dykes on Bikes motorcycle contingent, which appears in parades as a symbol of lesbian visibility. She coordinated and hosted its activities for the rest of her life, ran lesbian-affirming nightclubs, and aided diverse community causes before her death of breast cancer. [More about Antonia “Tata” Flores ]
Robert T. Ford
Inducted 1993 [Now Deceased]
He pioneered outreach of the gay cultural experience into the African American community through publication o the ‘zine Thing and as a writer for numerous publications. He died in 1994. [More about Robert T. Ford]
Jeannette Howard Foster, Ph.D.
Inducted 1998 [Posthumous]
Born in 1895, she was and educator, librarian, translator, poet, scholar, and author of the first critical study of lesbian literature, ‘Sex Variant Women in Literature’ (1956). She was also the first librarian of Dr. Alfred Kinsey’s Institute for Sex Research, and she influenced generations of librarians and gay lesbian literary figures. She died in 1981. [More about Jeannette Howard Foster, Ph.D.]
Robert Bonvouloir Foster
Inducted 2003 [Posthumous]
As an openly gay, high-achieving student and lawyer, he was the chief founder of the Lesbian and Gay Bar Association of Chicago. He also volunteered as an attorney at Howard Brown Memorial Clinic. He died of AIDS complications in 1991. His bequest helped to open Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund’s Chicago office. [More about Robert Bonvouloir Foster]
Henry Blake Fuller
Inducted 2000 [Posthumous]
Born in 1857, he was an author, poet, critic, and composer. He wrote novels and short story collections that were set in Chicago. His 1896 play ‘At Saint Judas’s’ was effectively the first play on a homosexual theme published in America. In 1919, he courageously published a philosophic novel centered on homosexual characters ‘Bertram Cope’s Year’. He died in 1929. [More about Henry Blake Fuller]
Bob Gammie
Inducted 2010 [Now Deceased]
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. [More about Bob Gammie]
Martin Gapshis
Inducted 2007 [Now Deceased]
Martin Gapshis, 60, president of Progress Printing, for long-standing service to the city of Chicago, including the City’s green initiatives, Lakefront Supportive Housing, Chicago International Film Festival, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, the NAMES Project, and the Center on Halsted. [More about Martin Gapshis]
Henry Gerber
Inducted 1992 [Posthumous]
He was the founder of Chicago’s Society for Human Rights in 1924, the first gay rights organization in the United States. [More about Henry Gerber]
Ralph Paul Gernhardt
Inducted 2004 [Now Deceased]
Ralph Paul Gernhardt has fostered the development and cohesion of Chicago’s sexual-minority communities by helping to provide them for nearly three decades with the news and information vital to any community’s growth. [More about Ralph Paul Gernhardt]
Frank Goley (posthumous) and Robert Maddox (now deceased)
Inducted 2001 [Now Deceased][Posthumous]
They helped to pioneer openly gay business in Chicago beginning in 1972 with their Male Hide Leather store. There Goley created many designs that found favor with leather and motorcycle enthusiasts worldwide, gay and nongay for their originality and craftsmanship. [More about Frank Goley (posthumous) and Robert Maddox (now deceased)]
Adrienne J. Goodman
Friend of the Community Inducted 1994 [Now Deceased]
She was named “Friend of the Community” for her commitment to lesbian and gay inclusion in politics. She chaired Grant L. Ford’s openly gay 1975 campaign for 44th Ward alderman. As City Council staffer and Democratic Party activist, she advocated for gay and lesbian rights. [More about Adrienne J. Goodman]
Vernita Gray
Inducted 1992 [Now Deceased]
She organized a gay and lesbian hotline in 1969 and hosted support groups in her home. She has published extensively in literary and poetry magazines and was an early leader in the Chicago gay liberation movement. [More about Vernita Gray]
Ida Greathouse
Friend of the Community Inducted 1997 [Posthumous]
Born in 1952, as a mother and activist she drew national attention to the needs of herself and other living with AIDS. She advocated visibly for increased AIDS funding and for special programs for women and children with AIDS. For this she was selected as a “Friend of the Community.” She died in 1995. [More about Ida Greathouse]
Peg Grey
Inducted 1992 [Now Deceased]
She has provided key leadership over two decades in building lesbian and gay athletic programs and organizations and in organizing lesbian and gay teachers. [More about Peg Grey]
Arlene Halko
Inducted 1996 [Now Deceased]
After joining Dignity/Chicago in 1975, she became its first lesbian president and was on its board for five years. She was a co-founder of Chicago House in 1985 and has tirelessly assisted it. As a medical physicist, she was a familiar face on Cook County Hospital’s AIDS ward until 1993, and as owner of Piggens Pub from 1982 to 1989 she used the bar as a community support vehicle. [More about Arlene Halko]
John Hammell
Inducted 1997 [Posthumous]
As an American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois lawyer, he fought for any and lesbian rights and for the rights of persons living with HIV and AIDS. He also helped to lead in other groups, including Howard Brown Health Center and the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. Born in 1957, he died of AIDS complications in 1995. [More about John Hammell]
Renee C. Hanover
Inducted 1991 [Now Deceased]
A well-known attorney who often provided her services pro bono, she has long been a high-visibility advocate for lesbian and gay rights. She has worked for civil rights legislation of all kinds and has vigorously opposed all forms of discrimination in the law and in the community. In 2000, she moved to Los Angeles, where she now lives at age 77. [More about Renee C. Hanover]
Lorraine Hansberry
Inducted 1999 [Posthumous]
Born in Chicago in 1930 and best known for ‘A Raisin in the Sun’, which in 1959 became the first play by an African American woman to open on Broadway, she was an early supporter of equal rights regardless of sexual orientation. Same-sex attraction figured in some of her work, and she is credited with writing two pro-lesbian 1957 letters in ‘The Ladder’, an early lesbian periodical. She died in 1965. [More about Lorraine Hansberry]
Jean V. Hardisty
Inducted 1995 [Now Deceased]
She helped open Chicago’s first shelter for battered women; has written and organized for women’s social and health needs; and, besides private philanthropy, co-founded the Crossroads Fund, a nontraditional funder of many gay, lesbian, and AIDS groups. In 1981, she formed what is now Political Research Associates, of Cambridge, Mass, which educates the public on right-wing tactics. [More about Jean V. Hardisty]
Pearl M. Hart
Inducted 1992 [Posthumous]
She spent her entire legal career of 61 years defending the civil rights of all persons. [More about Pearl M. Hart]
Jane Heap and Margaret Anderson
Inducted 2006 [Posthumous]
Jane Heap (1883-1964)(photo) and Margaret Anderson (1886-1973), partners and free-thinking literary figures, for founding, editing, and publishing The Little Review, an avant-garde magazine that featured works by some of the most influential modern American and English writers between 1914 and 1929. See Margaret Anderson for her photo. [More about Jane Heap and Margaret Anderson]
Derrick Allen Hicks
Inducted 1999 [Now Deceased]
He organized in the African American lesbian and gay communities of Chicago and Washington, D.C., for more than 20 years. He founded ‘Diplomat’ magazine and helped to lead AIDS, political, and social service groups. Born in 1955 he died in 2002. [More about Derrick Allen Hicks]
Earnest E. Hite, Jr.
Inducted 1994 [Now Deceased]
In 1987, he co-founded Image Plus to provide support for young gay and bisexual males of African descent. As an HIV/AIDS health educator and youth worker who is openly HIV-positive and gay, he has assisted community-based groups, especially those serving African American. [More about Earnest E. Hite, Jr.]
Tony Jackson
Inducted 2011 [Posthumous]
Tony Jackson (1876-1921), a pioneer in early-20th-century popular music. He brought musical influences from his native New Orleans to Chicago, gained fame as a talented and colorful performer, mentored such jazz figures as Jelly Roll Morton, wrote the 1916 hit “Pretty Baby,” and lived as an openly gay man when that was rare. [More about Tony Jackson ]
Rudolph Johnson, Jr.
Inducted 2013 [Posthumous]
Rudolph Johnson, Jr. (1947–2006), for 23 years as a well-known and well-regarded North Halsted Street bar owner who led the Northalsted Merchants Association and other neighborhood groups, instituted and promoted local festivals, sponsored sports leagues and events, and lent and recruited support for a wide array of LGBT nonprofit organizations and pro-LGBT politicians. [More about Rudolph Johnson, Jr.]
Stephen (Wanda Lust) Jones
Inducted 2008 [Posthumous]
Stephen Jones (deceased 1980), entertainer and health advocate; known widely in Chicago’s gay community as his 1970s drag persona “Nurse Wanda Lust,” for serving — quite literally — as the poster person for VD testing and for his groundbreaking promotion of sexual health awareness. [More about Stephen (Wanda Lust) Jones]
Ira H. Jones
Inducted 1998 [Posthumous]
In Mattachine Midwest and other venues, for well over 20 years he was one of the city’s most visible, energetic spokespersons for sexual-minority rights. He was leader in the gay and lesbian business community, active in religious circles as an openly gay advocate, committed to racial justice, a worker in Regular Democratic organizations, and a leader in numerous gay and lesbian groups. [More about Ira H. Jones]
William B. Kelley
Inducted 1991 [Board Member][Now Deceased]
Since 1965, he has led in many pioneering efforts – among them helping to organize the first national gay and lesbian conferences (1966), co-founding the "Chicago Gay Crusader" and Illinois Gays for Legislative Action (early 1970s), attending the first White House gay rights meeting (1977), co-chairing the Illinois Gay Rights Task Force (late 1970s), and co-founding the National Lesbian and Gay Law Association (1988). Now a lawyer, he chaired the Cook County Commission on Human Rights for its first 10 years. [More about William B. Kelley]
Frankie Knuckles
Inducted 1996 [Now Deceased]
As a producer, remixer, and DJ, he is the inventor and popularized of “house” music, known worldwide as “Chicago house” and named after Chicago’s Warehouse nightclub, where he drew huge crowds between 1977 and 1987. He is now a DJ and an album producer of international stature. [More about Frankie Knuckles]
Joe La Pat
Inducted 2008 [Posthumous]
Joe La Pat (1943–2008), entrepreneur, for his generosity and wide-ranging support for Chicago’s LGBT community, including early key support for Proud to Run, Strike Against AIDS, Chicago House, Gay Games VII — especially for international athletes who participated — and the Center on Halsted. [More about Joe La Pat]
Jeffrey E. McCourt
Inducted 2007 [Posthumous]
Jeffrey E. McCourt (1955–2007), founding publisher of Windy City Times, award-winning journalist, businessperson, and activist, for helping to win mainstream respect and political victories for Chicago's LGBT communities, including passage of the City's 1988 Human Rights Ordinance. [More about Jeffrey E. McCourt]
Larry McKeon
Inducted 1997 [Now Deceased]
He made a historic, indelible mark on Chicago politics in 1996 by winning an Illinois House of Representatives seat as the state’s first openly gay or lesbian state legislator. Before that, he served effectively as director of the city’s Advisory Council on Gay and Lesbian Issues, held leading positions in social service administration, and was a police officer. [More about Larry McKeon]
Harley McMillen
Inducted 1992 [Now Deceased]
He played an important role in the formation of the Howard Brown Memorial Clinic, no known as the Howard Brown Health Center. He was instrumental in organizing the AIDS Action Project, which contributed in large part to development of the City of Chicago’s comprehensive AIDS Strategic Plan. [More about Harley McMillen]
Scott McPherson
Inducted 1992 [Now Deceased]
He was one of the first openly gay, HIV-positive American artists, a renowned playwright and accomplished actor. He was the author of the critically acclaimed play Marvin’s Room, later made into a film. Born in 1959, he died of AIDS complications in 1992. [More about Scott McPherson]
Tony Midnite
Inducted 1996 [Now Deceased]
After coming to Chicago in 1951 as a female impersonator, he opened a costume design studio and eventually worked 16-hour days to meet worldwide demand. He defied police disapproval of such shows in the early 1950s by booking the Jewel Box Revue for a sold-out run, which set a precedent. In 2000 he moved to Las Vegas. His reminiscences span nearly 50 years of visible gay life. [More about Tony Midnite]
Ifti Nasim
Inducted 1996 [Now Deceased]
Born in Pakistan, he wrote ‘Narman’, an award winning book of Urdu poetry – said to be the first direct statement of “gay” longings and desires to ever appear in that language. Its courageous publication met with revilement but critical acclaim and inspired other Pakistan poets. He co-founded Sangat/Chicago and has been president of the South Asian Performing Arts Council of America. [More about Ifti Nasim]
Dawn Clark Netsch
Friend of the Community Inducted 1995 [Now Deceased]
She was selected as a “Friend of the Community” for her long career of public service as a constitution writer, legislator, and state comptroller, especially her support of lesbian and gay rights and efforts against HIV/AIDS. [More about Dawn Clark Netsch]
Renae Ogletree
Inducted 1998 [Now Deceased]
She has engaged in wide-ranging volunteer and professional activities that have brought people together around issues of diversity, development, and health care within Chicago’s gay and lesbian communities. She is a health care activist, a professional youth services executive, and co-founded and has co-chaired Chicago Black Lesbians and Gays. [More about Renae Ogletree]
Dom "Etienne" Orejudos
Inducted 1992 [Posthumous]
He was a dancer and choreographer with the Illinois Ballet Company for 15 years, a respected businessman, a major figure in founding the International Mr. Leather pageants, and an internationally known artist, famous for his male physique studies drawn under the name Etienne. Born in 1933, he died of AIDS complications in 1991. [More about Dom "Etienne" Orejudos]
Kathy Osterman
Friend of the Community Inducted 1993 [Posthumous]
As a “Friend of the Community”, 48th Ward alderman, city special events director, and longtime political activist, she helped to forge critical links between Chicago government and the lesbian and gay community. She played a crucial role in passage of the city’s human rights ordinance. Born in 1943, she died of cancer in 1992. [More about Kathy Osterman]
Andrew Patner
Inducted 2013 [Now Deceased]
Andrew Patner, 53, for more than three decades as a journalist, editor, biographer, lecturer, teacher, and internationally active arts critic and interviewer in print and electronic media, besides media advocacy since 1979 for LGBT and HIV/AIDS concerns. A lifelong Chicagoan, he is critic-at-large for WFMT Fine Arts Radio and contributing critic to the Chicago Sun-Times. [More about Andrew Patner]
John Pennycuff
Inducted 2003 [Now Deceased]
On front lines, on sidelines, and behind the scenes, besides supporting reproductive choice and AIDS funding, he has been an outspoken, proud, and ceaseless activist since 1991 for sexual-minority rights in civil society and his United Methodist denomination. His commitment, courage, and energy have made him an exemplar for direct-action, educational, and political work toward equality. [More about John Pennycuff]
Adrene Perom
Friend of the Community Inducted 1999 [Now Deceased]
She was a “Friend of the Community” who’s North Side gay bar, Big Red’s, nurtured Chicago institutions in their development during the 1970s and 1980s. She sponsored sports teams that were supportive social milieux for hundreds, held countless fund-raisers, collaborated with other business owners, and helped to start and supported Chicago House. Born in 1935, she died in 2000. [More about Adrene Perom]
Laird Petersen
Inducted 2006 [Now Deceased]
Laird Petersen, 49, currently state Rep. Larry McKeon's chief of staff, for 25 years of volunteer and professional contributions to Chicago's LGBT communities, including fund-raising and administrative work to support social service, HIV/AIDS, and political organizations. [More about Laird Petersen]
Mary D. Powers
Friend of the Community Inducted 1992 [Now Deceased]
She was recognized as a “Friend of the Community” for her 30 years of commitment in addressing abusive police behavior and being a consistent advocate for gay and lesbian rights both in civil society and in her church as a Roman Catholic. [More about Mary D. Powers]
Frank M. Robinson
Inducted 2009 [Now Deceased]
Frank M. Robinson, 83, journalist, novelist, and award-winning science fiction writer, for creating the gay and lesbian community tabloid newspapers that catalyzed the emergence of the gay press in Chicago, and also for his service as speech writer for gay activist and politician Harvey Milk. [More about Frank M. Robinson]
Ron Sable, M.D.
Inducted 1993 [Now Deceased]
As an openly gay physician he co-founded the first comprehensive HIV/AIDS clinic at Cook County Hospital. He was active in local politics, running as an openly gay candidate for 44th Ward alderman and founding IMPACT, a gay and lesbian political action committee. Born in 1945, he died in 1993 of AIDS complications. [More about Ron Sable, M.D.]
C. Michael Savage
Inducted 2005 [Posthumous]
Social work executive and religious activist, for leading programs that served such groups as the homeless, the addicted, low-income persons with HIV/AIDS, immigrants, and the medically needy as well as leading Dignity, the gay and lesbian Roman Catholic organization. [More about C. Michael Savage]
Bruce C. Scott
Inducted 1993 [Now Deceased]
A Chicago resident for more than 50 years, he successfully fought federal anti-gay employment policies in groundbreaking lawsuits. In a 1965 decision with far-reaching implications, the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C., ruled that a vague charge of “homosexuality” could not disqualify one from federal government jobs. Scott was also and early officer of Mattachine Midwest. Born in 1912, he died in 2001. [More about Bruce C. Scott]
Jon Simmons
Inducted 2011 [Posthumous]
Jon Simmons (1955-1994), a city government liaison to LGBT Chicagoans under three mayors. Before being appointed by Mayor Eugene Sawyer in 1988, he had been Joseph Holmes Dance Theatre’s executive director and a freelance writer and researcher. He was found murdered in Beverly Hills, Calif., while on a 1994 vacation. [More about Jon Simmons ]
David B. Sindt
Inducted 1995 [Posthumous]
In the 1970s and 1980s, he fought homophobia in civil and religious societies. As a social worker, he advocated for gay parents and gay children. As a minister, he formed what became Presbyterians for Lesbian and Gay Concerns but later had to leave the ministry because of gayness. Born in 1940, he died of AIDS complications in 1986. His house became the first Chicago House-owned residence. [More about David B. Sindt]
Lawrence E. Sloan
Inducted 2005 [Posthumous]
Theatrical director and fund-raiser, for achievements at the Goodman Theatre and Remains Theatre and for serving as the first executive director of Season of Concern, the Chicago theater community's AIDS fund-raising organization. [More about Lawrence E. Sloan]
Adrienne J. Smith, Ph.D.
Inducted 1991 [Now Deceased]
She was one of the first openly gay lesbian psychologists within the American Psychological Association. She wrote and edited several publications and appeared on local and national television and radio programs promoting gay and lesbian rights. Born in 1934, she died of cancer in 1992. [More about Adrienne J. Smith, Ph.D.]
Barbara Smith
Inducted 2015 [Posthumous]
Barbara Smith (1946–2015), founding board member of Affinity Community Services, for her leadership, managing Affinity’s finances for 12 of it’s 20 years, founding its Forty Plus and Trailblazers groups, and for her advocacy role in the mentorship and support of black lesbians throughout the broader community. [More about Barbara Smith]
James Monroe Smith
Inducted 1995 [Now Deceased]
As a quietly persistent young lawyer, in 1988 he founded the AIDS Legal Council of Chicago, an unprecedented vehicle for involving the city’s general legal community in helping persons with HIV/AIDS. Before leaving ALCC in 1993, he received the Chicago Bar Association’s Maurice Weigle Award for his work. He published two textbooks on AIDS and health care and taught AIDS-related college and law school courses. Born in 1957, he died in 2003. [More about James Monroe Smith]
Daniel Sotomayor
Inducted 1992 [Posthumous]
He was an openly gay, nationally syndicated political cartoonist and prominent Chicago AIDS activist. He died of AIDS complications in 1992. [More about Daniel Sotomayor]
Gregory A. Sprague
Inducted 1994 [Posthumous]
Nationally known for research in Chicago lesbian and gay history, he co-founded the Committee on Lesbian and Gay History of the American Historical Association and was active in the Gay Academic Union. In 1978 he founded the Chicago Gay History Project, a precursor of the Gerber/Hart Library. [More about Gregory A. Sprague]
Valerie Taylor
Inducted 1992 [Now Deceased]
Born in 1913, she was an outspoken advocate of lesbian and gay concerns from the 1950s onward and wrote several lesbian-themed novels and poems. She edited the ‘Mattachine Midwest Newsletter’ while in Chicago and was active in the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom. Retired in Tucson, she was writing and active in social change until her 1997 death. [More about Valerie Taylor]
Studs Terkel
Friend of the Community Inducted 2001 [Now Deceased]
The renowned author and oral historian, broadcast host, commentator, arts supporter, and activist is a “Friend of the Community” because more than half a century during which his championship of social justice has consistently been marked by support for sexual minority rights, from backing Perl M. Hart for alderman in the 1940s to including gay interview subjects in his latest book. [More about Studs Terkel]
Burr Tillstrom
Inducted 2013 [Posthumous]
Burr Tillstrom (1917–1985), a native Chicagoan, for his contributions to the early days of television and in particular for his creation of unforgettable puppet characters such as Kukla and Ollie. He enriched the lives of children and adults through the Kukla, Fran and Ollie show with co-host Fran Allison, as well as through other performances over five decades beginning in 1936. [More about Burr Tillstrom]
Elizabeth E. Tocci
Inducted 1994 [Now Deceased]
She opened her first gay bar in 1963 and, beginning in 1971, owned and ran The Patch in Calumet City, which became one of the oldest lesbian-owned establishments in the nation. She is active in local business circles and has long given financial aid and a supportive to lesbian and gay persons. [More about Elizabeth E. Tocci]
Marilyn Urso, R.N.
Friend of the Community Inducted 2009 [Now Deceased]
Marilyn Urso, R.N., for her service from 1990 to 2007 as research registered nurse for the Howard Brown Health Center's Multi-Site AIDS Cohort Study (MACS), the world's largest epidemiological study on sexual practices and how they relate to the transmission of HIV, where she furnished warm, welcoming support to the participants and other important services on- and off-site, becoming what some clients called their “second mother.” [More about Marilyn Urso, R.N.]
Richard M. Uyvari
Inducted 2006 [Now Deceased]
Richard M. Uyvari, 62, athlete, real-estate investor, and philanthropist, for 27 years of dedicated service to the LGBT sports community as a bowler, tournament director, leader, fundraiser, and sponsor. [More about Richard M. Uyvari]
Rene A. Van Hulle, Jr.
Inducted 2000 [Now Deceased]
Since the 1970s, he has been vigorously active in community organizations and instrumental in many of their fund-raising projects. He co-founded the Tavern Guild of Chicago and for years helped to raise community center funds, sponsored sports teams, and supported Chicago House. [More about Rene A. Van Hulle, Jr.]
Al Wardell
Inducted 1993 [Now Deceased]
From 1978, he was a prominent Chicago gay and lesbian community leader and a mainstay of the Illinois Gay and Lesbian Task Force. He helped to initiate the first sensitivity training on gay and lesbian concerns for the Chicago Police Department and developed gay and lesbian counseling materials for Illinois public schools. Born in 1944, he died in 1995. [More about Al Wardell]
Harold Washington
Friend of the Community Inducted 2007 [Posthumous]
Harold Washington (1922–1987), as mayor of Chicago, promoted and facilitated LGBT political participation and empowerment, which laid groundwork for passage of the City's 1988 Human Rights Ordinance. He appointed the first mayoral liaison to the LGBT communities; was the first Chicago mayor to headline a gay rights rally; and established the City's first official Committee on Gay and Lesbian Issues (forerunner of today's Advisory Council on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues) with an openly lesbian staff director. [More about Harold Washington]
Bennet Williams
Inducted 2014 [Posthumous]
Bennet Williams (1947–2001), a community organizer, for almost 20 years as an HIV-positive man advocating and educating about HIV and human rights, especially with African Americans. [More about Bennet Williams]

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