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Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-09-06



30 Under 30 to be honored June 20 in 19th annual award ceremony

This article shared 7232 times since Wed Jun 20, 2018
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June 20, Polo Cafe, 3322 S. Morgan St. Reception: 5:30pm. Program: 6-7:30pm. Admission: Free

Windy City Times is proud to welcome co-sponsors AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Chicago House, Center on Halsted, Howard Brown Health and Polo Catering.

NOTE: See photo coverage of the event at .

Grayson Alexander

Grayson, 19, is a rising sophomore at Loyola University Chicago studying political science and sociology-anthropology. In 2017, he became the first transgender page in the Illinois state Senate's history and was a key advocate for the Vital Records Modernization Act.

Currently a member of Equality Illinois's Community Advisory Group, an intern for Illinois state Rep. Ann Williams and friend of the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, Grayson continues his involvement with LGBT activism and passion for youth-inclusive advocacy.

Did you know? Grayson first wrote his personal platform at 8 years old on his grandmother's coffee table, after watching an Obama campaign speech.

Myah Brown

Myah, 27, was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago in the Englewood area, where being Black and Trans continues to be a struggle. No stranger to homelessness and having to drop out of high school in the ninth grade to help raise her little sisters and brothers, Myah proved to be able to overcome hardships. Since then, Myah has become a health outreach specialist at the University of Chicago Medicine Chicago Center for HIV Elimination ( CCHE ) and program director for Brave Space Alliance ( BSA ), the first Black trans-ed organization on the South Side of Chicago; through these roles, she has helped others like herself overcome similar obstacles.

Did you know? Being family-oriented and having a passion for life, people, and the performing arts and attaining many leadership qualities developed early on, Myah became not only mother of the Chicago Chapter of the House of Mizrahi but also, in 2017, was deemed Legendary for the Femme Queen Vogue Performance category.

Delwyn Camp

Devlyn, 25, is the creator and host of the podcast Mattachine: A Serialized Story in Gay History, available on iTunes and recently featured in the Chicago Tribune. They are also the producer and co-host of They & Them, a queer talk show on Que4 1680 AM, and a writer of middle-grade historical fantasy. They studied writing & producing television at Columbia College Chicago.

Did you know? Devlyn has been looking for their aunt Maris Crane since 2004. If anyone has seen Seattle socialite Maris Crane, please contact Devlyn. ( This name is a reference to the TV show Frasier. )

Tonantzin Carmona

Tonantzin, 28, is the chief of policy for the Office of the City Clerk. In her current role, Tonantzin leads City Clerk Anna Valencia's citywide policy priorities, most notably in launching the Chicago Municipal ID program, known as the CityKey. The CityKey has been championed by advocates from the immigrant and LGBTQ communities and well as those experiencing homelessness. Because of Tonantzin's leadership, the CityKey program allows Chicago residents to self-designate their own gender, including a third-option, nonbinary; making Chicago the first municipality in Illinois to recognize a third-gender option.

Tonantzin previously served as U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren's deputy press secretary in Washington, D.C., as well as deputy policy director and director of the Office of New Americans at the Chicago mayor's office. In 2015, Tonantzin was recognized for her work in Crain's Chicago Business "20 in Their 20's." Tonantzin was raised in Chicago's Little Village and currently resides in Pilsen.

Did you know? Tonantzin is buying a couch for the first time in her life, at age 28.

Sky Cubacub

Sky, 26, is a non-binary Filipinx mermex from Chicago ( with a certificate from Weeki Wachee Springs State Park to prove it! ) and the creator of Rebirth Garments—a line of wearables for the full spectrum of gender, size and ability.

They are spearheading the QueerCrip dress reform movement that is based on claiming one's body through the use of bright colors, exuberant fabrics, and innovative design. They refuse to assimilate. Sky is also editor of The Radical Visibilty Zine, a magazine for QueerCrip Teens based off their manifesto, as well as a leader in anti-oppression accessibility workshops with Alison Kopit. For more information, visit .

Did you know? Earlier this year, Sky took part in the Chicago's History Museum's Out at CHM event "Celebrating and Contextualizing Queer Fashion."

Sarah Daoud

Sarah is a 27-year-old Palestinian-Lebanese therapist, educator, social worker, and Chicago Dyke March Collective organizer. Since transitioning from investigative journalism to direct service, Sarah has dived into social work through several different avenues: performer in participatory educational theater, sexual assault crisis counselor, teaching artist in Chicago Public Schools, organizer and facilitator with the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, resource advocate at the Broadway Youth Center, and most recently, therapist at the Chicago Women's Health Center.

Sarah recently graduated from the University of Chicago with a masters in clinical social work, and has been awarded a grant from the Elton John AIDS Foundation to offer support and care to Syrian and Palestinian refugees in Paris this summer. Upon their return, Sarah will continue to provide affirming care and education to QTBIPOC ( queer, trans*, Black, indigenous, people of color ) from a harm-reduction lens. In our increasingly harmful world, Sarah is dedicated to supporting their community as they learn to love themselves, radically and unapologetically, reach their goals, live authentically and gain a deeper understanding of their histories, resilience and power.

Did you know? Sarah is a prison abolitionist, which means they work toward a world without prisons or police. #NoCopAcademy

Raven Feagins

Raven, 25, is a storyteller with an interest in capturing the narratives of people of color, folks within LGBTQ+ communities, women and non-binary folks, young people and people living within the intersections of all these identities.

In 2015, Raven graduated from Columbia College Chicago, with a major in cultural studies and minor in women and gender studies, where they completed a capstone project focused on media representations of people living with HIV and the lack of representation of the epidemic among Black women.

This led Raven to eventually serve as an AmeriCorps member with the AIDS Foundation of Chicago ( AFC ) where she realized a passion for advocating for comprehensive sex education as well as a draw towards capturing the stories of people within the HIV community in Chicago. Through that year and on, Raven has lead a sex-positive digital awareness campaign, Sexperts Slay, that promotes real and honest conversations about sexual health and has raised the voices of over two dozen individuals in her work.

Now, Raven works as the communications coordinator at AFC, where they hope to continue connecting with folks and provide a platform for underrepresented communities whose stories are often not heard.

Did you know? Raven loves any reason to dress up in costume. One of her favorite outfits is that of Tina Belcher from Bob's Burgers!

Ka'Riel Gaiter

Ka'Riel, 28, currently works as the youth development specialist at the Broadway Youth Center ( BYC ), but has previously worked with YEPP ( Youth Empowerment Performance Project ), and with the Chicago youth storage initiative. At the BYC, Ka'Riel also does crisis intervention and creative program development that meet specific needs emerging in the space.

They always make sure the conversation is centering on young people from trauma-informed and transformative-justice lenses. They have no doubt they made this city safer for young people experiencing homelessness, and helped to expand their service lines and improve the quality of care and compassion they do receive at institutions.

Did you know? Ka'Riel's nickname is "Indigo Child."

David Gauna

David, 25, is an artist, community advocate and mentor born in Chicago.

Co-founder of Creative Action, an after-school program that mentors high school youth in areas of self-resilience, community organizing and social awareness through the arts. Much of David's leadership growth comes from the Association of Latinos/as Motivating Action ( ALMA ) board, for whom David serves as the liaison for its associate board.

Although the job titles and the style of how David mentors young people has grown and shifted in different environments over the years, one tradition David has held onto with his youth is gifting them their first sketch artist journal and a pen. Inside the front cover of their journal is written David's mantra: "If it matters to you, write it down."

David currently spends his time as a case manager for El Rescate, serving LGBTQ and/or HIV-positive youth experiencing homelessness, while leading his art program across the city making sure his youth have the tools necessary to become successful. David feels grateful to have the opportunity to work with incredible youth.

Did you know? At 15, David's career goal was to become a famous actor.

Ryan Garrison

Ryan, 29, is a non-profit leader who has lended his energy and enthusiasm to multiple LGBTQ organizations/LGBTQ aligned politicians throughout the midwest. As the current vice chair of the board of trustees for Chicago House and Social Service Agency, Ryan champions the mission of the organization to eradicate homelessness, poverty and marginalization of individuals impacted by HIV/AIDS.

Ryan works as a senior strategist for financial service clients at Imagination Publishing in Chicago.

Born in southwest Michigan, Ryan obtained a bachelor's degree in economics and Spanish from Michigan State University. While in Michigan, Ryan served as a board member of the OutCenter of southwest Michigan and chaired its largest fundraiser to date—The "OutOuting"—ensuring the center's financial viability for several years to come.

Ryan previously served on the board of directors of Howard Brown Health and remains active in myriad political campaigns throughout the city.

Did you know? Ryan's not-so-secret guilty pleasure is Summer Heights High. He has seen every episode at least 15 times.

Isaac Gomez

Isaac, 27, is a Chicago-based playwright from El Paso, Texas/Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

His play La Ruta will receive its world premiere at Steppenwolf Theater Company this fall. Other produced works include The Way She Spoke ( Greenhouse Theatre Center, and others ), Ofrenda ( Albany Park Theater Project ), The Soul of the World ( Actors Theatre of Louisville ) and The Displaced ( Haven Theatre. ) Current commissions include South Coast Repertory, Goodman Theatre, The Theatre School at DePaul University,Steep Theatre, and StepUp Chicago Playwrights. His plays have been developed at Steppenwolf, Primary Stages, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Goodman Theatre, Victory Gardens, Northlight, and others.

He is a member of the Goodman Theatre's Playwrights Unit, resident playwright at Chicago Dramatists and an artistic associate with Victory Gardens. He is represented by The Gersh Agency & Circle of Confusion.

Did you know? Isaac had lunch with Snooki ( from The Jersey Shore ) in Florence, Italy? Yeah. It was crazy.

Estephany Guzman

A stand-up comedian and writer in Chicago, Estephany, 28, puts together showcases and open mics for performers and audiences alike to share space and empower each others' vision. They also write and create zines for Marimacha Monarca Press, a creative collective of queer and trans people of color who publish zines and who hold a monthly film series centering around queer folks of color.

Currently, in collaboration with the non-profit Cultura in Pilsen, they produce "FUSE Open Mic & Show," a mixed-arts open mic and show in Pilsen that features POC, women and non-gender conforming performers in Chicago. They are also the co-producer of Jaden Smith Open Mic at La Parada Cafe in Pilsen and "Orange Sosa" in Back of the Yards. Estephany intentionally produces suggested donation-based events in the South Side as an incentive to create accessible entertainment and performance space for POC women and LGBTQ folks. In addition, they are the co-producer of Mi Gente Showcase for the Chicago Public Library YouMedia programming.

They have been featured in BAPS: A Comedy Variety Showcase., Las Locas Comedy, The Corner Series.

Did you know? Estephany tells people she's an Olympic swimmer—but can barely do a lap.

Daniel R. Hernandez

Daniel, 28, is an owner and founder of The Attorneys at Walczak Hernandez, P.C. Upon graduating law school in 2016, Daniel set out on a mission to become a social entrepreneur. He and his law-firm partner, TJ Walczak, deliberately decided to create a cost-friendly flat-fee law firm.

Daniel practices in the areas of family law, real estate and LGBT rights. Daniel serves as the LGBT Committee Chair for the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois, is the vice-chair of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee of the Young Lawyers Division at the American Bar Association, and is the Hispanic National Bar Association's communications chair for the LGBT Division. He also serves on the board of directors at Between Friends, a nonprofit organization that provides free educational and social services to victims of domestic violence.

Daniel previously worked for the civil rights firm of Loevy & Loevy, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, American Bar Association and the Hon. Pamela Meyerson. During his spare time, Daniel also volunteers for Gigi's Playhouse Chicago, an organization that provides free services to children with Down Syndrome.

Did you know? Daniel enjoys spending time with family, kickboxing and participating in Stonewall Chicago's kickball league.

August "Gus" Hupp

August Hupp, 20, is an intersex+nonbinary trans person creating a safer, equitable and radically compassionate world through their work with young people.

On any given week, you might find Gus providing childcare through the Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, or for families with LGBTQ children. They might be facilitating a panel of transgender students for an educational institute day, or presenting one of the workshops they co-created, Beyond The Binary. Gus might be working to support an event for Youth Outlook, Youth Services of Glenview/Northbrook, the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, or various PFLAG chapters. They might be planning activities for LGBTQ campers at ISSA's Action Camp. They might be supporting a queer student of color through a meeting with an ombudsperson, or speaking at a school board meeting in support of a trans high schooler, or helping edit and revise a student's Title IX complaint.

Or they might just be trying to actively dismantle the system of adultism and the massive power imbalances between adults and young humans by talking with a 6 year old at Target about glitter.

Did you know? August was the 2017 recipient of Youth Outlook's "Michael Fairbank's Youth Leadership Award," and is an alumnus of 360 Youth Service's LGBTQ Transitional Housing Program. They received a mountain of love and support while being a homeless queer youth—which is why they spend 90 percent of their time working to provide that same love and care for youth who need it now.

Van Huynh

Van ( she/her ), 29, is a Vietnamese American and an immigration attorney whose legal and advocacy work strives to build movements with organizers, in order to effectively address root causes of criminalization.

She has been involved with Asian Americans Advancing Justice — Chicago, PASO — West Suburban Action Project, Dope AAPI, the Resist, Reimagine, Rebuild ( R3 ) Coalition, working to build relationships among Asian-American and immigrant communities with Black-led organizing.

Did you know? After her first year of law school, Van interned with the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia—which apparently no one knows what a big deal that is.

Peter Johnson

Peter—a 2013 Brown University graduate who is 27 and originally from Hockessin, Delaware—is a development officer at Center on Halsted, Chicagoland's LGBTQ community center. Prior to his appointment this appointment, he served as the Center's director of communications and public relations, having worked for the organization for approximately five years.

In his role as director of communications and public relations, he represented Center on Halsted through multiple milestones and historically significant events, including the opening of Town Hall Apartments, passage of marriage equality, the 2016 Pulse massacre and the organization's expansion to the south side through its Youth Housing

Initiative. Since January 2017, he has leveraged his community and coalition building skills to bolster Center on Halsted's corporate portfolio, fostering workplace diversity and inclusion as well as strengthening corporate engagement and support of the programs, services and mission of Center on Halsted. Outside of work, he has had an active role in Chicago's cultural scene.

Did you know? Peter concentrated in Egyptology and Assyriology at Brown. Upon graduation, he received a fellowship from the Archaeological Institute of America to work in Erbil, Iraq.

Daniel Kyri

Daniel is a Jeff Award-nominated actor, filmmaker, and writer. He is featured on this season of Chicago Med and in Stephen Cone's award-winning film Henry Gamble's Birthday Party, now streaming on Netflix.

He has starred in productions at Lookingglass Theatre (Moby Dick), Steppenwolf Theatre Company (Monster), Chicago Shakespeare Theatre (Tug of War pt. I & II) and Goodman Theatre (Objects in the Mirror), and was most recently seen in Robert O'Hara's production of Macbeth at The Denver Center for the Performing Arts. He is represented by Stewart Talent and is currently working on his writing/ directing/producing debut, the T, for which he was named Chicago's 2018 Filmmakers-in- Residence and is starring as the titular character in The Gift Theatre's summer production of Hamlet.

Did you know? One of the first novels he read was one he wrote himself as a child.

Grant Ladniak

Grant, 30, is a Chicago native who has a bachelor's degrees in psychology, gender and social justice, as well as a master's in organization development.

He is passionate about issues of social justice, racial inequality and, especially, homeless youth initiatives. Someone who loves to volunteer, Grant is a former volunteer director at Center on Halsted.

He is currently an associate board member of AIDS Foundation Chicago and Leadership Council member of Out & Equal Chicagoland.

A self-described "huge nerd trapped in a jock's body," Grant reading, travel and movies, and is a huge Marvel fan (Black Panther and Thor all the way!). He also indulges in biking, swimming hiking, playing sports, weight training and cooking (having a very special relationship with food). He also has certifications in automotive performance machining and engineering, and loves rebuilding and performance modifying engines.

Did you know? Grant has an affinity for plants and gardening, and has hundreds of bizarre, edible and unique plants that he's very attached to.

Gnat Rosa Madrid

Gnat, 27, is an artist, designer, and party producer working in Chicago. Her brand, GNAT, provides the babes of the world with glittering femme-centric fetish and bondage gear. Made for decorate your gorgeous, bodacious body so that you can harness your sexuality. GNAT gear promotes safe, exciting, and consensual sex, BDSM, body positivity, gender fluidity, trans liberation, and femme4femme love.

Madrid is also the assistant producer for DURO: Chicago's Queer Latinx twice-monthly dance party. DURO strives to uplift all people of color and gender minorities, showcases the talent of artists across the city, and provides free HIV testing.You can also find her installation art at Femme's Room.

In March, she showed her new fashion collection at the Chicago History Museum sponsored by OUT at CHM.

Did you know? Gnat is also a Point Scholar alumnus and member of the CFDA: Council of Fashion Designers of America.

Jazmin Martinez

Jazmin is a 28-yea-old, queer, gender non-conforming immigrant living in La Villita, Chicago, who comes from a lineage of Mexican campesinos.

They are currently working on establishing a worker cooperative called Catatumbo Cooperative Farm.

Their background includes organizing with Organized Communities Against Deportations (OCAD), working with survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, providing support to folks living with HIV and working with previously incarcerated folks.

They have participated in multiple direct actions throughout the years to fight against the deportations and criminalization of communities of color and immigrant communities throughout Chicago.

They are rooted in community work and healing, centering collective work to envision a world and past work in organizing, working with communities who are systematically marginalized created a commitment to envision and create other possible worlds.

Did you know? Jazmin is a Capricorn sun, Libra rising and Scorpio moon—and likes to bootyshake while farming.

beyza ozer

beyza, 23, is a queer/trans Muslim writer living in Chicago. beyza's work has appeared in and is forthcoming from The Offing, Pinwheel, Vinyl, Nightblock, Witchcraft Magazine, Shabby Doll House, & the anthology Subject to Change: Trans Poetry & Conversation (Sibling Rivalry Press 2017). beyza is the author of Fail Better (fog machine 2017) & I DON'T MEAN TO REDSHIFT (Maudlin House 2016).

They are deputy director of social media at YesYes Books, and work at The Poetry Foundation.

Did you know? Beyza got the highest score in their college astronomy class and won a Marie Curie bobblehead doll that glows in the dark.

Deivid Steven Rojas Jimenez Pacheco

Daivid, 29, was born in Colombia and raised in Miami; he has called Chicago home for the last five-years.

Deivid has worked for the Fight For 15 campaign in different positions, including organizer, communicator and digital wizard. As the communications director for the Fight For 15 in Chicago, he has worked with renowned local and national outlets to place countless stories that highlight the struggles of lowwage workers and the LGBTQ community. For example, he worked with INTO magazine to place a story by a McDonald's workers titled "Trans Rights = Workers Rights." He's produced various digital viral content and helped organize many protests, press conferences, actions, and rallies to mobilize workers.

As a poet and filmmaker, Deivid explores the intersections of queerness with immigration, globalization, politics, mental health, masculinity and love. His poems have been shared by Gozamos and The Gran Varones, and he's performed in venues across the city. He was also a production assistant for Signature Move, an award-winning LGBTQ and Chicago-based film.

Deivid is also part of the organizing committee of Vives Q, which was recently recognized by ALMA with the Community Service Award for "elevating the Latinx and LGBTQ community."

Did you know? Deivid is a momma to more than 50+ plants. He's also so proud to be from Miami, that you can still catch him dialing you with that 305 area code.

Nikk Selik

Nikk, 29, is a transgender man and activist for the trans community. He serves as the group leader for T-MAC: Transmasculine Alliance Chicago, a community support group for transmasculine adults at the Center on Halsted. For the past eight years, Nikk has spoken publicly to educate people on trans identity at a variety of schools, organizations and conferences. Nikk also mentors trans youth and works with parents to help them be supportive.

Did you know? Nikk has been reading tarot

cards for more than a decade.

Denise Yvette Serna

Denise, 29, is a theater practitioner and arts activist whose credits include HIR (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Earthquakes in London (Steep Theatre Company), The View Upstairs (Circle Theatre Chicago), For the Love of... (Pride Films & Plays), La Chingada, (the)forget_meknot (inappropriate theatre company) and Climate Change Theatre Action - Chicago. She is co-founder of Global Hive Laboratories, a collective of international practitioners working toward a global theatre. She co-curates HOMESET, a quarterly artist salon.

Did you know? Denise collects editions of Le Petit Prince from countries she visits. Her collection includes copies of the book in Finnish, Icelandic, Russian and Greek.

Daniella Silva

Daniella, 28, is the development & events specialist at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago(AFC). Dani plays an integral role in advancing AFC's brand, managing relationships as well as cultivating new donors and partners. Her work producing events includes AIDS Run & Walk Chicago, the largest HIV event in the Midwest that raises awareness and critical funds for more than 30 organizations in Chicago. Also, Dani serves as staff liaison to the AFC Associate Board, a group of young professionals and emerging leaders who are passionate advocates for HIV and LGBTQ services.

Originally from Miami, Dani graduated from Loyola University with an MA in global politics, specializing in the Western Hemisphere and human rights. In addition to her work with AFC, Dani is active with Mujeres Latinas en Accion, a Pilsen-based organization that provides support to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as immigration aide in the Latinx community.

Did you know? Dani has volunteered extensively in Latin America, including sanitation projects in Honduras, Nicaragua, Republica Dominicana and Colombia.

Iris Sowlat

Iris, 24, is a theater director and producer who uses theater to create welcoming spaces, spark conversations about social issues, and to "make the invisible, visible."

Iris is a company member at Pride Films & Plays, where she recently directed The Days Are Shorter, and produced (directing portions of) History Lezons, After Orlando (with No-Passport), SheFest, and two WeFests. Other directing credits include Joan of Arc (RhinoFest at Prop Theatre), Narratives of Achromatopsia (Chicago Fringe), Jane by Paula Kamen (Chicago Women's History Center & Pride Arts Center) and work with Stage Left, Collaboraction, Chicago Theatre Marathon and Global Hive Labs, among many others.

Did you know? Iris is legally blind. She has a visual impairment called achromatopsia.

And last year, she created a documentary theatre piece based on her own experiences and interviews with others who had this impairment.

Sung Yim

Yim, 28, is a writer and interdisciplinary artist from Korea who was a finalist for the 2018 Lambda Literary Award in transgender nonfiction. They are the author of What About the Rest of Your Life (Perfect Day Publishing) and Flowers Are for Pussies (Ghost City Press). Their work has appeared in Rattle, Kweli Journal, Contrary, The James Franco Review, The Wanderer, and Crab Fat Magazine.

Did you know? Sung can knit with their eyes closed.

Joanna Thompson

Dr. Joanna Thompson, 30, has been committed to the Chicagoland LGBTQ community since moving here in 2010.

As an academic, Joanna worked on A Trans* and Queer Student Guide to the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2014. Joanna recently defended her Ph.D., facilitating lectures from Toronto to Berlin, Germany. As an activist, Joanna has been a member of the Chicago Hate Crimes Coalition since 2011. In her current position as the community outreach and engagement coordinator for the Anti-Violence Project at Center on Halsted, she filmed a TEDx on what it means to be a half Black/half Latina and queer female.

Did you know? Joanna recently studied criminology, law and justice at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Regina Victor

Regina is a 25-year-old producer, dramaturg, director, writer, performer and critic. Hailing from Oakland, California, Victor is a member of the Victory Gardens Directors Inclusion Initiative 17/18, the SDCF Observership 17/18 Class, and recently finished serving as the Steppenwolf Artistic Apprentice and Multicultural Fellow. They are the co-founder of online theater journal Rescripted ( ), and are a freelance critic for Windy City Times. Recent credits include BLKS at Steppenwolf Theatre, The LIght at The New Colony, and To Catch a Fish at Timeline Theatre.

Did you know? Regina Victor speaks French.

Mia Vivens

Mia, 27, is a queer poetess/ mover/ maker originally hailing from Columbus, Ohio. She is an alumna of Valparaiso University, having studied theater and dance. She is specifically interested in exploring the intersections of the queer community amongst Black and brown folks. She works for About Face Theatre as the associate director of outreach and engagement, and she tours a show about gender and sexuality to local Chicagoland middle and high schools. She has also worked with many theaters in Chicago as both an actor and a director.

Did you know? You can see her the The Fly Honey Show this summer! : )

Aaron-Raheim White

Aaron-Raheim—who is 29 and describes their preferred pronoun as "anything in love"—is a Chicago native who earned their Masters of Fine Arts degree from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and his Bachelors of Fine Arts from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, both in dance performance and choreography.

Raheim is a Reiki master teacher, sound healer, and crystal healing adornment designer as well as the director of community programming at Lax Energy Worx, all while performing as an ensemble member with Lucky Plush Productions. Their mission is to aid individuals in their return to wholeness by providing tools and services that promote balance, personal development, self-sufficiency, positivity and growth. Aaron-Raheim desires to be a beacon of light, inspire freedom and facilitate healing through Reiki, dance, meditatio, and education.

Did you know? Aaron-Raheim is the eldest of 13.

Derrick Woods-Morrow

Derrick ( age 28, and from Brown Summit, North Carolina ) is a multidisciplinary Chicago-based artist working in photography, sculpture, installation and performance.

His practice navigates and negotiates sexual identity by fragmenting notions of representation, exploring personhood, memories & reimagining ways to understand power dynamics as they pertain to consent and self preservation. He is an alum of the Fire Island Artist Residency 2016, Terry Plumming Scholar & Acre Residency Alum 15' and Latitude Chicago Artist in Residence 2017, and is currently a Chicago Artists coalition 2017-2018 bolt resident. he is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Photography and Teaching Artist at the University of Illinois Chicago.

Did you know? Derrick once tripped, fell and lost two teeth while hanging out with the Jersey Shore cast in Florence, Italy? He never saw them again—and he was thankful. Also, Derrick loves sniffing poppers while eating gelato.

Honorable Mention

Erin Bailey

Erin just turned 18 this year. She enjoys being out in nature, creating art and advocating for others. On multiple occasions, she has protested for better gun control laws and for women's rights at the Indiana state House. She from a small town called Columbus, Indiana—which also happens to be Vice President Mike Pence's hometown.

Did you know? Erin made national news by organizing the first-ever Pride festival in Vice President Mike Pence's hometown. It was a huge success, and more than 2,000 people attended. It helped send a message to our community that everyone is welcome!

Nova Maday

Nova, 18, graduated from Palatine High School in May 2018. An artist and photographer, Nova will attend the Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design following a deferred enrollment.

In November 2017, Nova filed a lawsuit against District 211 schools after her school denied full use of the locker room to dress for gym classes, simply because she is transgender. Nova spoke out publicly in announcing the lawsuit, sharing her story with media outlets and others—giving voice to all students who are transgender who simply want to be recognized and respected.

Did you know? This past March, three "friends of the court" briefs were filed to bolster Nova's case—one from 12 groups that work to advance civil and human rights in Illinois, one from eight national and statewide medical organizations, and one by the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance.

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LGBT HISTORY PROJECT: Exploring 70 years of lesbian publications, from 1940s zines to modern glossy magazines
Since the '40s, lesbians have created a vibrant history of publications. From the exploration of daily lesbian life to literary and feminist pursuits, to the modern age of glossy magazines, for over 70 years, lesbians have ...

Gay News

THEATER 'This Bitter Earth' tackles both political and personal commitments
I have more decades behind me than before me. Thus, my history comes at me in timeless waves. An event from 1986 will often assail my mind while one from last year follows, dreamily, behind it. ...

Gay News

Sean Fader memorializes LGBTQ+ history with Insufficient Memory
One of artist Sean Fader's recent projects project may be named Insufficient Memory, but his crucial work in memorializing LGBTQ+ history will hopefully never fade over time. In 2018, Fader—A New York City and New Orleans-based ...

Gay News

NHL reverses decision to ban Pride Tape, allowing players to show support for LGBTQ+s
--From a press release - (New York, NY - October 24, 2023) Today the National Hockey League (NHL) reversed its decision to ban Pride Tape and other displays of support for LGBTQ people on the ice, stating: "After consultation with the ...


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