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
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
Other GLBT People of Color
Israel Wright moved to
Chicago from Ohio in 1975 and began a 20-year career in
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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