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The Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame



The Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame is both a historic event and an exhibit. through the Hall of Fame, residents of Chicago and the world are made aware of the contributions of Chicago's lesbian and gay community and the community's efforts to eradicate homophobic bias and discrimination.

With the support of the City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations, the Advisory Council on Gay and Lesbian Issues established the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in June 1991. The inaugural induction ceremony took place during Gay and Lesbian Pride Week at City Hall, hosted by Mayor Richard M. Daley. This was the first event of its kind in the country.

The Hall of Fame recognizes the volunteer and professional achievements of lesbians and gay men, their organizations, and their friends, as well as their contributions to the lesbian and gay community and to the City of Chicago. This is a unique tribute to dedicated individuals and organizations whose services have improved the quality of life for all of Chicago's citizens.

Induction into the Hall of Fame symbolizes that the recipient either has made a contribution with far-reaching effects on the quality of life for Chicago's lesbian and gay community or the city of Chicago, or has made a significant long-term contribution to the well-being of Chicago's lesbian and gay community.

The Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame is privately funded through generous donations from individuals, businesses, and organizations. Staff support is provided by the City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations, members of the Advisory Council on Gay and Lesbian Issues, and volunteers.

Other GLBT People of Color

Israel Wright moved to Chicago from Ohio in 1975 and began a 20-year career in  banking and finance.

His Chicago volunteerism began at Horizons Community Services. “I went to Horizons looking for a black boyfriend and found the pool of potential black men pretty shallow,” he relates. Wright remonstrated and soon obtained a seat on the Horizons board.

Through a focus group developed by Horizons’ Diversity Committee, he was introduced to members of organizations for people of color. He met with organizations such as Chicago Black Lesbians and Gays, the Minority Outreach Intervention Group, the Greater Chicago Committee, and Kupona Network. Eventually, Wright served as the second treasurer of Chicago Black Lesbians and Gays, served on the Kupona Network board, became president of the Greater Chicago Committee, and received the 1997 “Male of the Year” award during the latter group’s annual Bayard Rustin Awards ceremony.  [Read More]


Israel Wright

Lorrainne Sade Baskerville is an experienced HIV/AIDS case manager and a professional social worker. Baskerville founded transGenesis in 1995 as an agency aimed at addressing the special concerns of persons in the city’s transgender community, such as gender identity, substance abuse, HIV/AIDS, sex work, harm reduction, and self-empowerment.

TransGenesis aims to provide a safe environment for transgendered persons to pursue common social and personal goals. The organization supports awareness of and openness about gender identity and the way gender is expressed. It seeks to aid personal development and integrity in the transgender population. Its HIV/AIDS prevention program is called T-PASS (Trans-People Advocating Safer Sex) and includes street and community outreach, education, testing, and counseling. It also offers a weekly drop-in program for youth and young adults, called TransDiva, and a peer-led transgender support and discussion group. 
[Read More]


Lorrainne Sade Baskerville 2000

A Chicago native, Phill Wilson has achieved prominence as an eloquent advocate for persons with AIDS, particularly those of color. His work has had national impact.

Wilson has served as Director of Public Policy for AIDS Project Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest AIDS service organization. He interacted with federal, state, and local governments, helping to draft legislation that would increase public funding for AIDS-related research, education, and support services and would affect national public policy on AIDS and HIV disease.

Wilson is also the former AIDS Coordinator for the City of Los Angeles. In that capacity, he was responsible for implementing, monitoring, and supervising AIDS policy and for directing the city’s AIDS residential, education, awareness, and rental-assistance programs. He also hosted a monthly cable television show and oversaw workplace training for 65,000 city employees.  [Read More]


Phill Wilson

An internationally known, three-time winner of Chicago’s Ruth Page Award as Outstanding Choreographer of the Year (1988, 1990, 1992), Randy Duncan has often used his dance talents to raise funds for the fight against AIDS and to include gay and lesbian themes in his body of work.

A Chicago native and Austin High School alumnus who began his professional career at 15 as a dancer with the Joseph Holmes Chicago Dance Theatre, Duncan rose to become artistic director (1986 to 1993) after the death of founder Holmes.

Drawing on ballet, jazz dance, and modern dance for choreography, Duncan has created works that have also been performed by other companies including the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, River North Dance Company, and Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago as well as companies in Seattle and Tel Aviv. He has also choreographed and performed in musical theater. In 1987, he choreographed for the first all–African American cast of A Chorus Line, and he contributed work to the 20th-anniversary production of Michael Butler’s Hair. [Read More]


Randy Duncan

Born in Chicago in 1930, Lorraine Vivian Hansberry spent her short life as the author of essays and dramatic works, creatively interpreting the African American experience. She was also an early supporter of equal rights regardless of sexual orientation.

In 1959, Hansberry became the first African American woman to have a play, A Raisin in the Sun, produced on Broadway. That year, she also became the first African American to win the New York Drama Critics Circle’s Best Play award. The play later became a film and still later a television adaptation. It is critically viewed as among the century’s most memorable works of drama.
[Read More]


Lorraine Vivian Hansberry

A longtime resident of Chicago’s Cabrini-Green neighborhood, Jesse White has been a loyal supporter of lesbian and gay rights. He was an early fixture on the civil rights scene, working with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in Montgomery, Alabama. He has continued his advocacy through today with ongoing support of equal rights for all.

Born in Alton, Illinois, White received a B.S. degree from Alabama State College (now Alabama State University), was an Army paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division, played professional baseball with the Chicago Cubs organization, and had a 33-year career as an educator and administrator in the Chicago Public Schools. He is the founder of the internationally known Jesse White Tumblers, which in 1999 celebrated 40 years as a positive alternative for at-risk youths.
[Read More]


Jesse White


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