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Meet The Newest Members of Chicago's Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame

Meet The Newest Members of Chicago's Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame


Inductees into the nation's only government-supported LGBT hall of fame made their mark in a variety of endeavors.

Honorees drawn from politics, journalism, the arts, and more were inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame Wednesday.

There were 15 individuals and two organizations among this year's inductees into the hall of fame, which is the nation's only government-supported hall of fame honoring LGBT people and their allies, reports Windy City Times.The ceremony took place at the Chicago History Museum.

LGBT individuals honored were the late Gerald Arpino, cofounder of the Joffrey Ballet; Jennifer Brier, a historian who writes on LGBT people and the AIDS epidemic; state representative Kelly Cassidy; Terry Cosgrove, president and CEO of Personal PAC, a reproductive rights organization; Christina Kahrl, the nation's first openly transgender sportswriter; Edward Mogul, a lawyer, teacher, and president of the Illinois Academy of Criminology; Lisa Marie Pickens, cofounder and board president emeritus of Affinity Community Services, which focuses on black LGBT communities and queer youth; Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago commissioner Debra Shore; Ross A. Slotten, a physician and biographer; and the late Bennet Williams, a community organizer.

Non-LGBT people inducted as Friends of the Community included state senator Heather A. Steans, lead sponsor of the Illinois marriage equality bill; Lucretia Clay-Ward, an HIV survivor, counselor, and advocate; and Clarence N. Wood, former chairman of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations.

Organizational honorees were Out & Proud in Chicago, which produces television documentaries about Chicago LGBT history and people, and Silk Road Rising, a theater company focusing on stories of Americans of Asian or Middle Eastern descent, including LGBT stories.

When the hall of fame was founded 20 years ago, "the idea of a gay and lesbian hall of fame was radical -- a revolutionary concept," said Commission on Human Relations chairman and commissioner Mona Noriega at the ceremony, according to Windy City Times. "Because being out could cost you your job and could cost you your family. ... Many years later, today, we have elected officials, some of whom are being honored here tonight. ... But that in no way means that we have achieved equity."

State representative Cassidy said it felt "surreal" to be inducted into the hall of fame. "Being in this kind of company is just amazing," she said. "It's something you'd think happens when you reach 'the end.' Still, I'm very proud, and I'm not done."

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