Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2017-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

History-making gay judge set to retire
by Byron Flitsch
2010-01-06

facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email


Thomas Chiola, the first openly gay elected individual in Illinois, has announced his retirement from his 16-year Cook County Circuit Court judicial position.

Chiola made history when he won his rigorous campaign for Cook County Circuit Court judge in 1994 in the eighth Judicial Subcircuit.

In a telephone interview, Chiola recounted the campaign as "exciting because of how we were running [ the campaign ] . The "i" in my name was dotted with a pink triangle that was sort of a badge of honor. People knew where it came from and it stood for not backing down. It reminded people that we'd never go back."

According to the Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame's Web site, his momentous win was not only a political landmark, but also offered hope and inspiration for the LGBT community while fueling a connection between a diverse population demographic ranging from citizens living in neighborhoods like Chinatown, the Gold Coast and Cabrini Green.

His campaign was heavily supported by some segments of the Democratic Party, and he was the first gay candidate to have support from a majority in his Democratic ward. Chiola said, "I've been nostalgic [ about retirement ] lately, and while going through old articles and photos I realized how many people helped me get to get this far. My supporters have been instrumental in helping me get to where I am today."

According to QRD.org, Chiola's career began shortly after graduating from University of Illinois-Champaign Law School in 1977. He moved from Springfield to Chicago, where his first position was as a prosecutor for the Illinois Attorney General's Environment Control Division, where he concentrated on pollution cases.

Shortly after, Chiola served as the chief administrative law judge for the General Council for the Illinois Department of Professional Regulation. In his six years as chief judge, Chiola deliberated various medical cases that were often highlighted in the media due to scandals associated with the malpractice lawsuits that were brought to his courtroom.

Chiola later pursued his candidacy for Cook County Judge. About the political run, Chiola recalled, "I remember this giant banner—to me, it looked as big as a football field—hanging in Sidetrack. It was a big deal for me to see that. It [ the campaign ] became very real and exciting."

Chiola's impact on the gay community has been just as influential. As an activist, he successfully aided in passing the Cook County Human Rights Ordinance in 1993—a measure designed to protect all people who live and work in the county from discrimination and sexual harassment based on a variety of instances including sexual orientation. "I knew I had a big opportunity [ to press bigger issues ] in my position and went with it," Chiola told Windy City Times. Before his judicial candidacy, Chiola was a board member for IMPACT ( a Chicago gay and lesbian political action committee ) where he continued to work for passing sexual orientation-based non-discrimination laws with the goal of adding "sexual orientation" to the Illinois Human Rights Act. He's also been celebrated for gaining the support of a variety of political representatives that pay attention to gay and lesbian issues because "people in our community wanted the opportunity to speak for themselves. It was important to be that voice and try to open more doors to more voices."

While volunteering as an attorney for Legal Clinic for the Disabled, Chiola learned HIV/AIDS patients were refused advice. According to QRD.org, in 1986 ( with the help of Howard Brown Health Center ) he organized a free legal project that allotted legal services for patients who would otherwise have no other option. His humanitarian efforts continued as an active participant in fundraising efforts for the Chicago office of Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, the NAMES Project and HIV/AIDS agency Vital Bridges ( previously known as Open Hand ) , where he also volunteers.

Chiola's enthusiasm also extends to sports. Not only has he been an active participant in the organizational aspect of gay and lesbian sporting events across the nation, but he is also an athlete. According to QRD.org, Chiola has been on the board of the Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association ( CMSA ) and Team Chicago; was a member of the Frontrunners; and a director of Proud to Run. He ran a marathon and competed in bowling in the 1990 Vancouver Gay Games. He completed a triathlon and multiple swimming events in the 1994 New York City Gay Games. He also participated in a triathlon in the 2006 Chicago Gay Games, and is preparing for another event in the 2010 Cologne Gay Games.

Chiola was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1998 for his unparalleled career and community efforts. He was honored with a Judicial Leadership Award in April of 2006 given by the Gay and Lesbian Legal Alliance ( GALLA ) from John Marshall Law School. In 2009, he became the president of AIJ ( Alliance of Illinois Judges ) , an organizational resource for fellow gay and lesbian judges.

When asked what was next, Chiola said, "I would like to get more involved in community organizations. Because of my previous position, I wasn't able to be a part of certain projects. Whether it's lobbying or working on state legislation … I'm looking forward to being active in the community again."

Chiola has been a devoted activist, an award-winning professional, an inspiration to gay youth and an avid athlete who continues to make an impact on the LGBT community. His generosity and professional strides will remain a permanent footprint in the history of Chicago public figures.

A private party will be held Jan. 8 to celebrate Chiola's success and retirement.


facebook twitter pin it del.icio.us stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email




Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Inaugural gender/justice symposium focuses on women of color 2017-12-13
World news: Couple tortured, 'Trans Day of Rage,' Bermuda marriage repeal 2017-12-12
National roundup: Trans Ariz. candidate, Kim Davis, Tinder date death 2017-12-12
Trans student talks fight to secure locker-room access 2017-12-12
Attorney discusses Cakeshop case at WBAI event 2017-12-12
Chicago police to wear body cameras 2017-12-12
Color of Change's Rashad Robinson on the work needing to be done 2017-12-11
Fed. Judges reject requested delay on trans military enlistment 2017-12-11
US Supreme Court Denies Lambda Legal Appeal of LGBT Employment Discrimination Case 2017-12-11
Gay Liberation Network hosts Palestinian-focused forum 2017-12-10
Court Filing: Trump administration distorting evidence to prevent trans enlistment 2017-12-08
Net Neutrality is worth fighting for now 2017-12-08
People protest Trump's Jerusalem declaration 2017-12-08
Trans Lifeline co-founder Chaubal appears before immigration-court judge 2017-12-08
Australia legalizes same-sex marriage 2017-12-07
Imprisoned trans woman seeks court order to protect her from assaults by guards 2017-12-07
HRC Calls on Congress to Reject NRA Gun Bill 2017-12-06
VIEWPOINT My Black lesbian body is a target for police brutality 2017-12-06
Supreme Court cake argument, Kennedy leaning toward the baker? 2017-12-06
ACLU launches #OpenToAll campaign before Masterpiece Cakeshop Supreme Court arguments 2017-12-05
National roundup: Texas race, another trans murder, World AIDS Day events 2017-12-05
World news: Marriage in Austria, U.S. envoy, Canada's payment 2017-12-05
Masterpiece Cakeshop Case up today, could have sweeping consequences for LGBTQs 2017-12-05
Supreme Court denies review in Turner v. Pidgeon, GLAD and NCLR respond 2017-12-04
New UN Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity appointed 2017-12-04
Chicago Gang Database Targets Black and Latino Men, New Research Shows 2017-12-04
Masterpiece Cakeshop Case to be heard Dec. 5, LGBT Asians/South Asians file briefs 2017-12-02
Trump-Pence tax scheme, including attack on health care access, passes Senate 2017-12-02
Vermont High Court Rules for Lesbian Mom 2017-12-01
Equality Illinois to honor transgender youth activist Jazz Jennings at 2018 gala 2017-11-30
Symposium to address criminalization of girls, LGBTQ/NIA youth in Cook County 2017-11-30
Lambda urges reverse of decree giving anonymous sperm donor parental rights 2017-11-29
HRC Opposes Trump-Pence Tax Scheme, Attack on Life-Saving Health Care 2017-11-29
Masterpiece Cakeshop, A Return to "We Don't Serve Your Kind Here"? 2017-11-29
HRC releases 2018 corporate index 2017-11-29
Center on Halsted hosts annual TDOR event 2017-11-29
World news: Chile election, Mugabe, UN principles, anti-gay jeweler 2017-11-28
National roundup: Eventful TDOR item, Trump delay, captive lesbian couple 2017-11-28
Family Acceptance Project, 15 years building family support for LGBTQ kids 2017-11-25
NCAVP, HRC/TPOCC release reports on anti-trans violence 2017-11-22
 



Copyright © 2017 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Submit an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.