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Chi. Mayor Hopefuls at LGBT Forum

Chi. Mayor Hopefuls at LGBT Forum

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An LGBT group sponsoring a Chicago mayoral candidates' forum Wednesday night says all major candidates are scheduled to attend, despite a competing forum sponsored by the city's leading African-American newspaper.

A coalition of organizations will hold the Chicago Mayoral Candidate Forum on LGBTQ Issues from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Adler School of Professional Psychology in downtown Chicago. A capacity crowd is expected -- RSVPs are no longer being accepted -- but the event will be broadcast live on the Internet.

The LGBT coalition announced the forum date January 31 and had been planning it for over a month, but found out last Friday that the Chicago Defender, a newspaper with a largely African-American readership, was planning a candidates' panel for the same night. The Defender had rescheduled its event from February 2 due to a blizzard that shut down most of the city's activities.

"It is unfortunate that this last-minute scheduling conflict has emerged," said Anthony Martinez, co-executive director of LGBT Change, one of the sponsors, in an e-mail to The Advocate. "Repeated attempts to remedy the situation with the candidates and the Chicago Defender to allow both sessions to proceed uninterrupted have not resulted in any mutually beneficial solutions."

He said that as of this morning, candidates Rahm Emanuel (pictured, right), Carol Moseley Braun (pictured, left), Gery Chico, Miguel del Valle, and William Walls were expected to attend the LGBT forum, with Patricia Van Pelt-Watkins as a "maybe." Most of the candidates are reportedly trying to attend at least a portion of the Defender event as well; it will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the DuSable Museum on the city's south side. "The LGBT forum had already scheduled candidates for separate 20-minute sessions to accommodate candidates' busy schedules," Martinez said. He added that the LGBT coalition had moved its forum date once already to avoid conflict with an Urban League event scheduled for Thursday.

Organizing the event, he said, represents an "unprecedented display of unity among the almost 30 LGBTQ groups that have come together." Many of them work in communities of color, he noted. "We are trying to dispel the myth that all gay people are white and live in Boystown," he said. "We are finally able to promote the amazing diversity of our community and the fact that we reside in every part of the city. That is the most important thing we need our next mayor to understand -- that we are everywhere, in every community across the city, not just on the north side."

He added that he hoped both the Defender and LGBT forums would be successful and that he hoped gay groups could work in coalition with the Defender in the future.

The LGBT forum will be moderated by Tracy Baim, publisher and executive editor of Chicago gay newspaper Windy City Times. It will be Webcast beginning at 6 p.m. Central at WindyCityTimes.com and WRTE.org.

The nonpartisan election, in which candidates are vying to replace retiring mayor Richard M. Daley, will be February 22, with a runoff April 5 if no candidate wins a majority.

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Trudy Ring

Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.
Trudy Ring is The Advocate’s senior politics editor and copy chief. She has been a reporter and editor for daily newspapers and LGBTQ+ weeklies/monthlies, trade magazines, and reference books. She is a political junkie who thinks even the wonkiest details are fascinating, and she always loves to see political candidates who are groundbreaking in some way. She enjoys writing about other topics as well, including religion (she’s interested in what people believe and why), literature, theater, and film. Trudy is a proud “old movie weirdo” and loves the Hollywood films of the 1930s and ’40s above all others. Other interests include classic rock music (Bruce Springsteen rules!) and history. Oh, and she was a Jeopardy! contestant back in 1998 and won two games. Not up there with Amy Schneider, but Trudy still takes pride in this achievement.