Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22



by Karen Hawkins

This article shared 2213 times since Wed Jan 17, 2001
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Alleging discrimination based on gender identity, TransGenesis founder and Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame inductee Lorrainne Sade Baskerville has filed a complaint with the Chicago Commission on Human Relations against the DuSable Museum of African-American History.

"I'm fighting my own Black people," Baskerville said. "I'm very hurt. I'm tired of all this discrimination."

The DuSable, however, said the unfortunate situation is the result of a misunderstanding and miscommunication...nothing more.

On Dec. 21, 2000, Baskerville signed a contract reserving a room at the DuSable, 740 E. 56th Place, for her organization's benefit on Feb. 8. She put down a $254 deposit and began advertising for the event.

She was pleased and proud after her first meeting with DuSable staff, emotions bolstered by the fact that she was holding her event in the same room she had won the Bayard Rustin Award in several years earlier.

But the trouble began on Jan. 2, 2001, when she was notified by Tracey Williams, manager of facility rental for the museum, that there had been a mistake and that Feb. 8 was taken, as was the rest of February.

Baskerville said when she tried to reschedule for March 23, she was told that that date was also unavailable, and Williams offered to return TransGenesis' check rather than offer another alternative.

Baskerville said she felt uneasy about the situation and, according to the CHR report, she had a TransGenesis board member call the DuSable to schedule an event for Feb. 8 without identifying himself as a member of the organization.

He was informed by DuSable staff that both Feb. 8 and March 23 were available, and he was sent a rental agreement package.

The realization that the DuSable had effectively closed its doors to her was a blow, Baskerville said.

"I was having nightmares, I couldn't sleep," she said. "The Hall of Fame disappeared, my degree, my accomplishments were a blur when I realized I'd been discriminated against because of my gender identity. It all became cloudy ... . My awards, they didn't protect me at all."

Miranda Stevens-Miller, of It's Time! Illinois, echoed her sentiment.

"No one is safe," Stevens-Miller said. "It's just atrocious that an institution of the caliber of the DuSable Museum has discriminated against someone of the caliber of Lorrainne Sade Baskerville, a Gay and Lesbian Hall of Famer."

But Raymond Ward, director of media relations for the DuSable, said the situation isn't what it seems.

"First of all, the lady in facility rentals was at fault," Ward said, "because museum events come first," and a museum event had long been scheduled for Feb. 8, Baskerville's first pick for her event.

Second, he said, February is the DuSable's busiest month of the year, with one-third of their business coming from Jan. 15 to March 1. As for the March 23 date, the museum had already booked singer Nancy Wilson to conduct a book-signing in the space, something Baskerville was not told. She also was not notified when that event was cancelled, re-establishing March 23 as a possibility.

"This was done in a very unprofessional manner," Ward said, adding, "I don't want anyone to think the museum is prejudiced toward anyone."

To make amends, Ward said he would offer Baskerville the space she wants on March 23 free of charge and would even send her flowers to apologize.

"I'm really upset that her feelings were hurt," he said. "I will take her through every step myself."

Baskerville was unavailable to comment on Ward's offer, but after filing with the CHR she said her goals for the case were to get a free rental from the museum, an apology, sensitivity training for museum staff and reparations for the money she spent and the anguish she suffered.

People in the community were baffled when they heard of what was happening to Baskerville, citing that the DuSable has always been supportive of GLBT events and organizations.

"It's very strange to me to hear what happened because I know that the DuSable Museum has been very open to the community in the past," Stevens-Miller said.

In fact, one of the first gay events at DuSable was the one-year anniversary celebrationg for BLACKlines newspaper, Windy City Times' sister publication.

For now, Baskerville's complaint with the city is still pending, and the museum has 10 days from the filing date to respond.

Because gender identity is not covered by the city's Human Rights Ordinance, Baskerville filed that she was discriminated against because of her sex, sexual orientation and disability.

The latter category—disability—has left her insulted.

"I'm disabled because I'm not wealthy," she quipped.

Stevens-Miller said the disability classification applies to those transpeople diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

"It's not very satisfying to have your human rights at the hands of a medical professional," she said, adding that not everyone who's gender different is gender dysphoric.

According to Miriam Pickus of the Human Relations Commission, transgendered concerns are covered by the Human Rights Ordinance only if the victim is also gay or an assumption is made by the violators that the victim is gay. Without that perception, the ordinance may not apply, she said.

"Of course it ( this incident ) speaks to the need for this kind of protection in our city," Stevens-Miller said, adding that activists should use what happened to Baskerville in their lobbying to the City Council.

She said It's Time! Illinois documented 24 cases of trans discrimination in 1999, the most recent year for which numbers are available. The organization has tracked 80 cases of discrimination in its five years of keeping data, and the majority of those involved employment bias.

Of the 80, 42% involved employment, 5% housing, 15% civil-rights violations, 15% assaults and 4% murders. Eighteen percent involved public accommodations such as schools, libraries, stores, restaurants, shelters or medical establishments, and Stevens-Miller said she could not recall a case involving an institution such as a museum.

No matter what happens, Baskerville said she plans to continue with her event, which is currently on hold. She has come too far in her life, she said, to be turned back now.

This article shared 2213 times since Wed Jan 17, 2001
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email


Gay News

Biden appoints Laura Ricketts to Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition
President Joe Biden has appointed Laura Ricketts—the lesbian co-owner of the Chicago Cubs, board chair of Chicago Cubs Charities and board chair of LPAC, which works to elect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer women and ...

Gay News

Michaela Jae Rodriguez honored at HRC dinner
On March 25, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) hosted its Los Angeles dinner at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE—and honored Golden Globe-winning and Emmy-nominated trans actress Michaela Jae Rodriguez, per a press release. Human ...

Gay News

WORLD Venezuela code, Oxfam, Bosnia items, 'Brokeback,' Pope Francis
Venezuela's Supreme Court annulled a controversial part of the military justice code that had criminalized same-sex relations within the armed forces, the outlet Punch noted. The court annulled the provision, which had provided for a penalty ...

Gay News

NATIONAL 'Don't Say Gay,' anti-trans bills, gay Irish leader visits, gay Calif. mayor
In Indiana, approximately 100 students from the Center For Inquiry School 27 held a walk-out to protest the state's "Don't Say Gay" bill, which would restrict how teachers are able to discuss sexual orientation or gender ...

Gay News

Baldwin leads 22 colleagues in calling on FDA to end discriminatory blood donation policy
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) has headed up a group of 22 colleagues in sending a letter to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Dr. Robert Califf expressing support for the agency's ...

Gay News

Iowa, Georgia ban medical treatment for trans minors
Two more states have enacted laws that prohibit medical treatment for transgender minors. On March 22, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds signed two bills into law that affect transgender minors in the state, NBC News reported. Senate ...

Gay News

World Athletics Council: Trans women banned from track-and-field competition
The World Athletics Council has barred transgender women from competing in elite female competitions if they have gone through male puberty, ESPN reported. Organization president Sebastian Coe said at a press conference that the decision was ...

Gay News

Illinois House passes legislation allowing gender-neutral multiple-occupancy restrooms
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Advocates celebrated passage by the Illinois House of legislation that will reduce barriers for businesses serving their communities and customers by allowing for the adoption of gender-neutral multiple-occupancy ...

Gay News

Mayoral candidate forum centers BIPOC LGBTQ+ issues, Vallas declines to participate
Chicago mayoral candidate Brandon Johnson participated in a March 22 virtual LGBTQ+-focused forum co-hosted by Affinity Community Services (Affinity), Association of Latinos/as/xs Motivating Action (ALMA) Chicago ...

Gay News

Utah bans conversion therapy
On March 22, Republican Utah Gov. Spencer Cox signed a bill that bans licensed professionals from practicing conversion therapy—the discredited practice that attempts to turn LGBTQ+ people heterosexual—on minors, Q ...

Gay News

US Bishops' statement limits trans health care in Catholic health care facilities, DignityUSA responds
--From a DignityUSA press release - On March 20, 2023, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Committee on Doctrine released a policy statement on how Catholic medical institutions should treat transgender and nonbinary people. Entitled "Doctrinal Note on the Moral Limits to ...

Gay News

Uganda bans people from identifying as LGBTQ+
On March 21, Uganda's parliament passed a law making it illegal to identify as LGBTQ+, Reuters reported. The development hands authorities broad powers to target LGBTQ+ Ugandans who already face legal discrimination and mob violence. In ...

Gay News

Kentucky lawmakers pass anti-trans youth bill; governor plans to veto measure
In Kentucky, Republican lawmakers passed a bill that bans minors from receiving gender-affirming care, lets educators refuse to refer to trans students by their preferred pronouns and would not allow schools to discuss sexual orientation or ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Black Adam,' Cyndi Lauper, Sondheim, Oscars, OutFest
Cultured Magazine recently profiled Quintessa Swindell—who became the first out, non-binary actor to play a lead superhero in the DC universe when they portrayed Cyclone in the 2022 movie Black Adam. Swindell grew up in Virginia ...

Gay News

WORLD German bishops, trans woman's death, Hungary, human-rights event
Germany's Catholic bishops voted (38 to nine, with 11 abstentions) to adopt formal ceremonies for the blessing of same-sex relationships, defying the Vatican and testing church unity on what has become one of the most contentious ...


Copyright © 2023 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.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.