Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Archives OUT! Guide    Marriage



Author/academic John D'Emilio on new book, future endeavors
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times

This article shared 1752 times since Thu Oct 1, 2020
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Queer Legacies: Stories from Chicago's LGBTQ Archives is a new book by Gerber/Hart Library and Archives President and University of Illinois at Chicago History and Women's and Gender Studies Professor Emeritus John D'Emilio.

D'Emilio told Windy City Times that "through short, focused stories about an individual, event, organization or issue, I hoped to make the history of Chicago's LGBTQ communities come alive and to emphasize the importance of preserving and sharing widely these pieces of our history."

Focusing on Chicago's LGBTQ history has been important to D'Emilio because it is less visible than what people know about New York City or San Francisco's queer histories. D'Emilio added that he wanted to utilize Gerber/Hart's collections because they are rich and varied.

"The collections range from oral histories to the papers of individuals and organizations stretching over more than half a century," said D'Emilio. "So much of the documentation is not about famous people and headline-making events, but of individuals and groups whose work nonetheless made a difference and helped create the world we live in today. It can be eye-opening and inspiring to read about these lives and moments from the past. Stories like the ones I tell in Queer Legacies can give us a sense of connection to and appreciation for our LGBTQ ancestors."

D'Emilio said so much of what he found during the research process surprised him. He pointed to the story of Robinn Dupree, a "female impersonator" who looked after younger trans women and other performers. Another story involved Merle Markham who only officially came out publicly and joined the lesbian feminist world of the 1970s and 1980s after decades of living "in the closet" with a female partner.

Other surprises included a gay Mass in the 1970s where it seemed like the Catholic Church was on the verge of welcoming LGBTQ people as full members and the long history of police harassment and violence toward the LGBTQ community that included the decade after Stonewall where Chicago police were still raiding bars and arresting people for being queer.

"It was also revealing to discover how far back in time transgender organizing in Chicago goes," said D'Emilio. "The Transvestite Legal Committee and the Transvestite Information Service both existed in the early 1970s."

D'Emilio said he would like to see this book added to the list of resources for the new LGBTQ-inclusive mandated public school curriculum. He added that the 38 short, self-contained essays that span from the 1950s to recent years are perfect for middle and high school students to delve into.

As for what D'Emilio hopes the readers take away from the book, he said it is important for everyone to realize that many people have made a difference "by acting against oppression and for justice and equality for all. And we can be inspired by the lives of individuals that were not headline-making leaders and by campaigns that have disappeared from contemporary memory. I also hope that readers, especially younger readers, come away with an appreciation for how exciting historical research can be.

"The collections at Gerber/Hart are available for anyone to look through and make surprising discoveries. You do not need to be a professional historian or writer to explore and learn from them. I hope readers appreciate, as they move from the earlier essays to those describing more recent events, they learn that so much has changed in the last half century and so much more needs to change."

When asked what his plans are for forthcoming books, D'Emilio said he wants to write a short overview of LGBTQ activism history from the 1950s to the present that can be used in classrooms with the working title Armies of Lovers. Another book will focus on significant episodes in the history and politics of sexuality in Chicago across the 20th century.

Unabridged Books is hosting a Zoom book discussion and Q&A with D'Emilio on Thursday, Oct. 22, at 7 p.m.

To register for the event, visit .

This article shared 1752 times since Thu Oct 1, 2020
facebook twitter pin it 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.


Gay News

BOOKS/ART Local man releases sketches by famous artist uncle
Cuban American painter Gustavo Ojeda (1958—89) is best known for lush and meditative urban nightscapes that brought him recognition in the 1980s downtown New York art scene. He exhibited works alongside artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, ...

Gay News

Five Worth Finding: Restaurants, OUT100, children's book, face mask
—Perry's Steakhouse & Grille ( This suburban spot (with two restaurants in Oak Brook and Schaumburg) is well-known for its delicious cuts of meat, sumptuous sides and hand-crafted cocktails. It's ...

Gay News

Artist Riva Lehrer talks new memoir, career, state of the world
In queer artist, writer and curator Riva Lehrer's recently released memoir Golem Girl, she takes readers on a journey through her life via the lens of her being born with spina bifida and the way that ...

Gay News

MUSICALS 1997 version of Anyone Can Whistle out Dec. 4
On Sunday, Dec. 4, Jay Records will release a 1997 recording of the musical Anyone Can Whistle, which originally had music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim as well as a book by Arthur Laurents. The production ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Wentworth Miller, Whitney, lesbian author, Mark Wahlberg
Out actor Wentworth Miller said he doesn't want to be involved in a new season of the TV show Prison Break if it happens, according to Deadline. On Instagram, he thanked fans for his support and ...

Gay News

LGBT HISTORY: SF house includes Joplin, Log Cabin Republicans in its history
The day Peggy Caserta took acid for the first time changed her life — and that of San Francisco's Haight-Ashbury neighborhood — forever. "They told me it'd help me learn a book I was reading for ...

Gay News

Playwright book and lyrics by Paul Gordon, music by Paul Gordon and Jay Gruska At Skylight Music Theatre online at Tickets: $25. Runs through Dec. 31, 2020. Two things to remember when proposing to transform a ...

Gay News

WORLD Church leaders, Amnesty International, students
Pope Francis included a U.S. archbishop who has made several strong, positive statements about LGBTQ people in the group of 13 church leaders named cardinals; there are also a bishop from the island nation of Malta ...

Gay News

BOOKS Former Warner Brothers head Alan Shayne reflects on a pivotal summer
Many things happened in 1941—Pearl Harbor was attacked, the Wonder Woman comic began publication and Franklin D. Roosevelt was sworn in for his third term as U.S. president. It was also a pivotal year for Alan ...

Gay News

Booksellers launch "Boxed Out" campaign, a look at consumer choices
--From a press release - (New York, New York) 20% of independent bookstores across the country are in danger of closing. Today, theAmerican Booksellers Association launched the "Boxed Out" campaign to draw attention to the high stakes indie bookstores face this ...

Gay News

BOOK REVIEW Gay Like Me: A Father Writes to His Son
By Richie Jackson $24.99; Harper; 163 pages Like father, like son. When you were small, people said you looked just like your dad. As you grew up, they said you had his sense of humor or his temper, you laughed alike, ...

Gay News

LGBT HISTORY: QAnon's 'SaveOurChildren' slogan has long anti-LGBT history
Model and cookbook author Chrissy Teigen recently shared devastating news with her social media followers: she and her husband, singer John Legend, had lost their child halfway through her pregnancy. She shared heartbreaking black-and-white photos of ...

Gay News

BOOKS Max Fox takes on late friend's work, 'Sexual Hegemony'
The late Christopher Chitty started a dissertation titled "Sexual Hegemony: Statecraft, Sodomy, and Capital in the Rise of the World System" while he was a PhD candidate. Writer, editor and friend Max Fox took on Chitty's ...

Gay News

DRAG: Miss Toto builds a full-bodied career in Chicago
Miss Toto blew into the Windy City toting a tornado of talent after leaving Cumberland, Maryland behind. Toto quickly made a name for herself as "Chicago's Bodybuilder Barbie" and landed bookings all over the city. Toto ...

Gay News

MOVIES 'Cicada' flies into virtual film festivals this fall
Set in New York City, a queer-centered movie called Cicada is now hitting virtual film festivals and explores complicated relationships with a backdrop of childhood trauma. Ben and Sam meet at a bookstore and a journey ...


Copyright © 2020 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 Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Archives OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
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      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      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.