Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01



Dignity/Chicago marks 45 years with dinner, awards ceremony
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times

This article shared 522 times since Wed May 24, 2017
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

DignityUSA Executive Director Marianne Duddy-Burke was the keynote speaker at Dignity/Chicago's ( the advocacy organization for LGBTQI Catholics and their allies ) 45th anniversary celebration May 20 at Francesca's on Taylor.

Ramon Rodriguez, president of Dignity/Chicago's board of directors, spoke about what it must have felt like to be one of the founders of Dignity.

"Just a few years earlier, we would have felt the hope and excitement brought by Vatican II, but also a measure of disappointment that its reforms didn't go far enough," said Rodriguez. "On the civil-rights front, we would have just experienced the thrill of Stonewall and the initial cries for freedom, equality and dignity. And yet, it is also important to remember that in those days, LGBT people were routinely arrested, discriminated and violently attacked."

Rodriguez noted that it was under this backdrop that DignityUSA, and a few years later the Chicago chapter emerged. He spoke about some of Dignity/Chicago's past events including hosting two, and soon to be three biennial DignityUSA national conferences and co-founding Call to Action in 1978 along with other progressive Catholic groups.

"Dignity/Chicago has no doubt a storied past, but we are only as good as how we tackle the current and future needs of our community," said Rodriguez. "Catholic institutions continue to unjustly terminate LGBT workers and women are still being shut out from ministerial life. Children of LGBT families are still being ostracized or placed in unhealthy, untenable situations and church teaching on a host of issues is still far behind the times. At the same time, young Catholics of every sexual orientation and gender identity are being turned off by a church leadership that is out of touch with their needs and reality. Our work is far from done."

Rodriguez also acknowledged the presences of long-time Dignity/Chicago members Ald. James Cappleman and his husband, Richard Thale, as well as former national officers Jim Pilarski and Ken Mayka.

Also in attendance was Dignity/Chicago member Matt Tedeschi. Tedeschi was recently fired from his religious studies teaching job at St. Ignatius College Prep after students found his online dating profile, outed him to others at the school and harassed him both at school and online.

The theme of Duddy-Burke's speech was Dignity at the Crossroads.

"One way that Dignity, as both local communities and as a national movement, has been graced with longevity achieved by few LGBTQI organizations is that we have always paid attention to the movement of the Spirit, and adapted our ministry and advocacy to changing circumstances," said Duddy-Burke. "This is certainly a time like no other, and I believe we are being called to change in unprecedented ways.

Duddy-Burke explained that they established rituals to affirm their lives and relationships and launched many LGBTQI organizations from political groups to bowling leagues. She noted that they blessed relationships years before they were legal in the eyes of the law as well as cared for those with depression, addictions, HIV/AIDS and cancers. Duddy-Burke said they have also advocated for ordinances, legislation, policies and practices that advanced equality and inclusion since the group's inception.

"Now there's a new, destabilizing reality," said Duddy-Burke. "Last June, the deadliest mass shooting in our nation's history was carried out at Pulse, a nightclub that primarily served the LGBTQI Latino community. ...The murder rate of transgender people, especially trans women of color, continues to climb, with a record 22 trans folks killed in 2016 and 10 murdered already so far this year. Our country has a president who seems to see trading away human rights as just a cost of doing business. He's willing to appease those who helped him ascend to our highest office by enacting policies that divide families, leave the ill and the poor vulnerable, and justify themselves through bigotry."

In terms of the future of Dignity in this current political climate, Duddy-Burke gave three examples of a way forward: continue to exist, worship, pray and be a community in an inclusive way; find new allies like those in the progressive movement are doing; and continue to articulate and model a vision of Church that is just, inclusive and affirming.

Lambda Legal was the recipient of this year's James A. Bussen Award ( named after the late DignityUSA president ). According to Dignity/Chicago's website, "this award is presented to individuals or organizations that promote justice and equality on behalf of LGBTQI individuals." Lambda Legal was recognized for its work in securing equality under the law for LGBTQI people and everyone living with HIV.

Christopher Clark, Lambda Legal's Midwest regional director and national pro bono director, accepted the award on behalf of the organization. He spoke about how they achieved marriage equality in Iowa by turning to religious people in the state who were able to carry that message to their congregants.

The President's Award was given to Cornelius "Corney" Sippel ( who was not in attendance ) in recognition for his many years of loyal service to the chapter, in ways both large and small.

The Spirit of Dignity ( in recognition of outstanding contributions to the chapter ) awardees were Rev. Barbara Zeman ( who also gave the blessing at the event ) and Rev. Mary Ramsden. Zeman and Ramsden are ordained women priests and preside over many Dignity/Chicago masses.

A celebration Mass took place the following day at Dignity/Chicago's host church, Broadway United Methodist Church. Members do not meet in any Catholic space because they oppose the Roman Catholic Church's teachings on LGBTQI people and women's ordination.

See for more information.

This article shared 522 times since Wed May 24, 2017
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

NATIONAL Foster-parent case, stars speak out, Texas youth, 'Queer Eye,' HIV
Americans United for Separation of Church and State and Lambda Legal, together with the law firm Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), along ...

Gay News

LGBT History Month: '40s and '50s instant photography gave LGBT people 'Safe/Haven'
Two men dressed in drag for a tea party, and two women cuddled up at the beach. Today these might be benign photographs but, in the early 1950s, they were memories shuttered away from public view. ...

Gay News

Kit Kat Lounge hosting Kamayan feast Oct. 24
Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club, 3700 N. Halsted St., in honor of Filipino American History Month, will host a special "diva-infused" Kamayan feast featuring Chef Jordan Andino on Sunday, Oct. 24. Andino is the creative ...

Gay News

Activists speak about former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington's LGBTQ legacy
by Max Lubbers - LGBTQ+ advocates reflected on former Chicago Mayor Harold Washington's legacy at Center on Halsted Oct. 13, discussing his role in the city's Human Rights Ordinance and outreach to the LGBTQ+ community. A display of 1980s Windy ...

Gay News

LGBTQ History Month: Pauli Murray, architect of history
By Victoria A. Brownworth - (Note: The pronouns she/her are used in keeping with Murray's own writings, but Murray was a transmasculine and gender-nonconforming lesbian.) Some say Pauli Murray is the most important U.S. activist many have never heard of. An ...

Gay News

OP-ED The Black church was one of R. Kelly's enablers
The long-awaited justice for R. Kelly's survivors finally came last month when a New York federal jury found him guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking. For nearly 30 years, underage Black girls and their families have ...

Gay News

ART Contemporary yet timeless exhibition 'Young, Gifted and Black' arrives at Gallery 400
To be a Black art collector is to stand on the shoulders of a proud lineage. Throughout history, Black patrons have supported Black artists when nobody else did. Bernard Lumpkinā€”a New York City-based art patron, educator ...

Gay News

Coming Out for LGBTQ+ History
October 11th is National Coming Out Day, a day established in 1988 by members of the LGBTQ+ community to encourage people to stop hiding and be open about their identity. Coming out increases visibility of the ...

Gay News

LGBT History Month: Reclaiming 41, journey to heal notorious trauma for LGBT Mexicans
Until recently, Alberto B. Mendoza hated 41. He cringed if his dinner bill or hotel room number had the number in it, and with the countdown to his 41st birthday, he dreaded the year to come. ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Songs for Nobodies
Title: Songs for Nobodies. Playwright: Joanna Murray-Smith At: Northlight Theatre at the North Shore Center for the Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd. Tickets: $30-$89. Runs through: Sunday, Oct. 31 You won't find their names in the history ...

Gay News

Pandemic Pivot: Museum launches major digital exhibit for LGBT History Month
"In Plain Sight' offers website visitors a digital timeline of LGBT achievements including 800 entries across 10 categories Visitors to the Stonewall National Museum and Archives (SNMA) in Fort Lauderdale, one of the largest LGBT lending ...

Gay News

LGBT HISTORY MONTH Pro baseball player Glenn Burke refused to live a lie
You could say that Glenn Burke, the first Major League Baseball player to come out, is having a good season. In March, best-selling author Andrew Maraniss published a thoughtful biography called Singled Out: The True Story ...

Gay News

Urban Village Church hosting drag worship service, Pride prom Oct. 10
On Sunday, Oct. 10, Urban Village Church (UVC) will host a drag worship service at its Wicker Park site, 1012 N. Noble St. Worship begins at 10:30 a.m. (CST) with performances from local drag artists, including ...

Gay News

LGBT History Month: Dutch gay man defied the Nazis and saved thousands
In the final days before his execution in July 1943 at the hands of the Nazi party, Willem Arondeus asked his lawyer for one last request: to spread a message after he was gone. "Let it be known," he said. "Homosexuals ...

Gay News

LGBTQ History Month: Until legal ruling, Disneyland banned same-sex dancers
Deemed the "Happiest Place on Earth," Disneyland sadly didn't live up to that billing for same-sex couples during its first three decades. Opened in 1955 by the late Walt Disney, the family-oriented amusement park was built ...


Copyright © 2021 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      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.