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  WINDY CITY TIMES

ILLINOIS Year in review
by Karen Hawkins
2001-01-03

This article shared 4182 times since Wed Jan 3, 2001
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For the Chicago-area GLBT community, the year 2000 brought a dizzying series of arrivals and departures, missed opportunities and second chances, changes and turnovers. One of our greatest friends and allies, the Rev. Gregory Dell, returned to his spiritual home at Broadway United Methodist this summer, as we watched some of our most beloved activists&emdash;such as Renee Hanover and Steve Wakefield&emdash;leave the city for personal and professional reasons. We also said goodbye this year to luminaries George Buse and Ruth Ellis.

We gained visibility as a record number of us and our allies attended this year's Pride Parade, but we again fell short of securing needed legislative protections. Though local gay Democrats decried the controversial victory of President-elect George W. Bush, the state's openly gay elected officials held their ground.

Here is a list of 2000's local news:

LEGISLATION

Gov. George Ryan and state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz announced passage of the first-in-the-nation Gender Violence Act, state legislation allowing victims of gender violence threats&emdash;including GLBTs &emdash;to sue perpetrators in civil court for damages.

House Bill 3430 passed the state House with 93 votes in March. In part, the bill sought to address the problem of mixed motives in the state's hate-crimes law, which mandates that hate-crime charges can only be brought if hate is the primary motive in a crime.

In September, DeKalb became the second city in the state to provide protections for transpeople in its human-rights ordinance. Evanston is the other city.

SOCIETY

The Rev. Gregory Dell returned to Broadway United Methodist Church in July after a yearlong suspension related to his conducting a commitment ceremony for two men. Dell returned vowing to continue conducting such unions, a promise he has kept.

Chicago-based Bank One added domestic-partner benefits, effective Jan. 1, 2001.

CNA, one of the nation's largest insurers, offered domestic-partner benefits to its active employees, effective Jan. 1, 2001.

The Chicago Board of Education plans to name a new or existing public school after poet laureate Gwendolyn Brooks, who passed away in the fall.

The city Commission on Landmarks has recommended landmark protection status for the onetime home of Henry Gerber, founder of what is believed to be the nation's first gay-rights organization. Gerber's former home is at 1710 N. Crilly Ct.

The Oak Park Area Lesbian and Gay Association applauded the village's United Way campaign in October for giving donors the option of deselecting the Boy Scouts from their beneficiaries.

The Evanston United Way dropped funding of the local Boy Scouts of America chapter because of the organization's ban on gays.

Bert Weinman Ford, 3535 N. Ashland, launched a youth initiative entitled "Give a Teen the Keys to Life." The dealership gave $25 for every consumer who mentioned the initiative and $100 for every car bought.

POLITICS

In early December, Oak Park Village Trustee Joanne Trapani became the first openly gay official to be slated for village president. If she is elected on April 3, Trapani will be the first openly gay village president in the state.

Four openly gay men sought ward committeeman posts in the primaries this March: Jim Snyder ( D-46th ) , Frank Fuscaldo ( D-48th ) , Dan Lockart ( R-32 ) and Tim Drake ( R-2nd ) . Only Drake was victorious, becoming the only openly gay committeeman in the city.

Chicago's GLBT community sent several representatives to the Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles in August. Michael Bauer, Kelly Cassidy and Mary Morten attended as delegates for Al Gore, while Bill Bradley supporter Miranda Stevens-Miller attended as one of the only transgendered delegates in state history.

More than 30 people attended Equality Illinois' annual Lobby Day in Springfield in March.

Openly gay elected officials Tom Chiola and Larry McKeon held on to their posts with this year's election, both by sizable margins. Circuit Court Judge Chiola kept his seat on the bench for a second six-year cycle, while McKeon ( D-34th ) returned to the state House of Representatives for a third two-year term.

Equality Illinois praised the platform committee of the state Republican Party for rejecting attempts to add anti-gay planks to the party's stances.

The non-partisan GLBT coalition We Are Voting Illinois registered 10,526 voters for the November election.

More than 70 GLBT leaders and activists&emdash;including state Rep. Larry McKeon, Mary Morten and Brandon Neese&emdash;publicly announced their endorsement of Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore in October.

Representatives from the Log Cabin Republicans, the Stonewall Democrats, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the Human Rights Campaign, It's Time! Illinois and PersonalPAC came together for a GLBT election forum in October.

The Gill Operating Foundation chose Chicago as a location for its Gays Out to Vote Campaign 2000.

Green Party presidential candidate Ralph Nader spoke at a fundraising rally Oct. 10 at the UIC Pavilion, and Dem candidate Al Gore swooped in Nov. 2 for a rally at Daley Plaza.

PROTESTS/RALLIES

The Chicago Anti-Bashing Network had a busy year, organizing and staging several high-profile protests and demonstrations.

In January, CABN protested at the Cook County Merit Board against the beating of Terry Phalen, a gay man who says officers beat and brutalized him while he was being processed at 26th and California. That month also saw the beginning of the lengthy Liar's Club debacle, involving two gay men who claimed bouncers at the Lincoln Park bar gay-bashed them. The men, who CABN maintained were the real victims, were eventually convicted of battery and assault charges. Throughout the course of the year, CABN's actions in the case included a protest at the Liar's Club and a meeting with Cook County State's Attorney Dick Devine in June.

In April, CABN members joined activists from several other city organizations for a 200-person strong protest of WBBM-TV ( Channel 2 ) for the CBS affiliate's decision to air Dr. Laura Schlessinger's TV talk show Dr. Laura. The show has subsequently been pushed from its afternoon time slot to an overnight shift.

In August, the group joined forces with the Church of the Open Door for a speakout to protest the murder of black gay man Arthur "J.R." Warren of West Virginia. Later that month, CABN released the details of a racist, homophobic attack on West Side resident Frederick Mason, who said Chicago police officers assaulted him with a billy club at an 11th District interrogation room. He has filed a $2 million civil suit for his injuries.

In October, between 300 and 400 people marched in frigid temps for CABN's second annual March Against Anti-Gay Hate. This year's march included a keynote speech by Roanoke, Va., defense attorney Sam Garrison.

In November, the organization held what is believed to be the Chicago area's first anti-Boy Scouts protest since the Scouts won the right to discriminate against gays.

An Anti-Violence Rally/March/ Speakout was held in October in recognition of Domestic Violence Month, LGBT History Month and National Coming Out Day.

The Lakeview Action Coalition packed St. Peter's Episcopal Church with about 400 people in May for its Rally Against Hate.

About 30 "ex-gays" and their children protested at the American Psychiatric Association's annual convention May 17, demanding that the APA hold a debate on reparative therapy. Among them was John Paulk, who months later was spotted at a gay bar in Washington, D.C.

Clergy from across the city, including a representative from the GLBT community, issued a "statement of conscience" against police brutality in Chicago.

VIOLENCE AND THREATS

Horizons Community Services received a threatening letter from anti-gay the Rev. Fred Phelps' Anti Gay and Lesbian Coalition of North America in March. Similar letters were received by anti-violence projects in Los Angeles and New York.

Horizons announced that the number of documented anti-gay hate crimes rose 87% in 1999, a rise attributed, in part, to stepped-up reporting methods.

The Berwyn United Neighborhood Gay and Lesbian Organization filed a request with the U.S. attorney's office seeking an investigation into an anti-gay letter sent out to voters a week before the March primary. The U.S. Attorney's Office subsequently declined to pursue the case.

The Oak Park-based Metropolitan Community Church of the Incarnation and the Oak Park Area Lesbian and Gay Association receive death threats within a week of each other in January.

It's Time! Illinois reported 24 cases of anti-transgendered violence and discrimination in 1999, the largest number since the group began documenting incidents in 1995.

Horizons Anti-Violence Project joined forces with AVPs around the country to launch UnitedAgainstHate. org, an Internet campaign promoting passage of the federal Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

A straight Rogers Park man accused Chicago police of beating him after he hugged a friend outside a Northwest Side bar.

A suburban gay man, John Radloff, was found dead in a forest preserve known for cruising. His confessed killer was released from prison just one month before.

San Francisco resident Nicholas Renault was gay-bashed in broad daylight in September after attempting to help a dog being beaten by three men.

A 17-year-old student confessed in November to torching the car of Kennedy High School teacher Tina Beacock, faculty sponsor of the school's yet-to-be formed Gay-Straight Alliance.

Horizons reported a leap in reported incidents of same-sex domestic violence in ྟ, an increase attributed to the agency stepping up tracking methods.

Bailiwick Repertory Theatre was the victim of vandalism in October when someone splashed bright orange paint across the front of the building to cover up posters for the gay-themed play Party.

State Rep. Larry McKeon held a press conference to denounce an anti-Native American letter sent to members of the Illinois General Assembly.

AIDS & HEALTH

AIDS activists claimed victory in this year's fight for increased funding after Congress settled on an appropriations bill that awards $213 million more for the Ryan White CARE Act for 2001. The increase brings total funding for the Act to $1.808 billion.

The Chicago Department of Public Health launched Men of Color HIV/AIDS 2000 ( MOCHA ) , a program intended to increase and improve HIV/AIDS services for its targeted population. The three-year, $36 million program is funded by the federal Office of Minority Health.

State officials announced in February that Illinois AIDS cases rose by 24 percent in 1999. According to the state Department of Public Health, there were 1,557 new cases reported in ྟ, 332 more than in 1998.

In June, the Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. was joined by about 50 ministers across the U.S. for a mass, public HIV testing. In July, Jackson was a lead panelist at a Town Hall Meeting on HIV/AIDS held during the Operation PUSH convention at the Hyatt Regency.

The Chicago Department of Public Health unveiled The Faces of AIDS&emdash;Personal Stories from the Heartland exhibit at in July ( July 5 ) . The exhibit made the rounds throughout the city and state last year, including stints at Northalsted Marketdays, the state Capitol and City Hall.

Syphilis is on the rise among the city's gay men, Chicago health officials report.

A city HIV/AIDS program targeting the Greater Roseland neighborhood received a $1.3 million HUD grant this fall.

Former Democratic U.S. Rep. Glenn Poshard, who was attacked within his own party for his anti-gay views during his race for governor, spoke at the Southern Illinois AIDS Walk 2000 in October. The event raised about $20,000.

The West Town-Humboldt Park HIV/ AIDS Service Providers Association ( WHAPA ) held a public forum on the virus' impact on the city's Latino communities.

The Three Tenors&emdash;Jose Carreras, Luciano Pavarotti and Placido Domingo&emdash;allowed AIDS Foundation of Chicago to use a portion of their Dec. 17 performance tickets to resell as a benefit for AFC.

TransGenesis founder Lorrainne Sade Baskerville attended the International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa, in July.

COMMUNITY

The Chicago Commission on Human Relations Advisory Council on Gay and Lesbian Issues announced its 10th annual list of inductees into the Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame. They were: Lorrainne Sade Baskerville ( transgender activist, founder of TransGenesis ) ; Henry Blake Fuller ( posthumous&emdash;Chicago's first serious novelist ) ; Philip A. Hannema ( volunteer for AIDS, political and sports efforts ) ; Sarah Lucia Hoagland ( professor, author, organizer ) ; Nancy J. Katz ( the first self-identified lesbian judge in the Cook County Circuit Court ) ; Danny Kopelson ( special-events planner, fundraiser ) ; Patricia S. McCombs ( entrepreneur, activist, teacher ) ; Rene A. Van Hulle Jr. ( bartender, owner, organizer ) ; and Israel Wright ( activist and photojournalist ) . This year's organization inductees were a defiant ACT/UP Chicago, the Association of Latin Men for Action and the Chicago chapter of the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. Ald. Helen Shiller was inducted as this year's friend of the community.

Lambda Publications, publishers of Outlines since 1987, purchased the Windy City Times this fall, with the merged paper debuting Sept. 20 under the banner Windy City Times. WCT had been co-founded in 1985 by Lambda Publications' Publisher Tracy Baim; in 1987 Baim co-founded Lambda and started publishing Outlines.

It was a year of turnover for many city agencies and departments, most notably on the Mayor's Advisory Council on Gay and Lesbian Issues. In January, Mary Morten stepped down as head of the council to become director of the Office of Violence Prevention at the Chicago Department of Public Health. Her replacement wasn't brought in until close to a year later, when city officials announced the hiring of former Chicagoan Bill Greaves.

October saw the departure of Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Sheila Lyne; her replacement has not been announced.

Horizons Community Services and Howard Brown Health Center gained and lost executive directors this year, respectively. Roger Doughty joined Horizons in January, replacing Liz Huesemann. He had been the director of program administration for the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center. At Howard Brown, Executive Director Eileen Durkin stepped down in late October after eight years to become the chief executive officer of the Victor C. Neumann Association, an organization that works with the developmentally disabled. Her replacement has not yet been named. Also at Howard Brown, Stacey Long was hired as director of the Women's Program.

Test Positive Aware Network hired Keith Waltrip as its director of programs and Charles Clifton as its representative to MOCHA 2000.

Lesbian Community Cancer Project Executive Director Vicky DiProva stepped down in February after two and a half years. She is currently with AIDS Alternative Health Partners.

Community activist Steve Wakefield left in February to become director of community education of the HIV Vaccine Trials Network in Seattle.

Longtime Chicago attorney Renee Hanover moved to Southern California to be closer to her family.

The Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network hired Kristen White as its Midwest field organizer in July.

Horizons also expanded its full-time staff of service providers throughout the year, adding:

K.J. Jackson, full-time domestic violence coordinator in the Anti-Violence Project; Proshat Shekarloo, full-time victim advocacy coordinator; Stephen Majsak to replace Development Director Paul Fairchild; Karen Hutt, director of the LGBTQ Youth Services Program; Prem Pahwa, the agency's first Youth Services Counselor; Ernest Patterson, South Side Prevention Case Manager; Bonnie Wade, North Side Prevention Case Manager; Perry Wiggins, the agency's first full-time Mature Adult Program Coordinator; Heather Grace Lynch, the first full-time Volunteer Coordinator. Horizons also lost Donald Rolfe, marketing and public information coordinator.

Lora Branch replaced David Wick as the head of the Chicago Department of Public Health Office of Lesbian and Gay Health. Wick left to resume his private psychotherapy practice.

Michael Brickman, executive director of AIDS Alterative Health Partners since 1990, stepped down in December for health reasons.

In February, the historic Leather Archives and Museum moved into its new home at 6418 N. Greenview, the former home of the Greenview Arts Center. The 12,500-square-foot space includes a theater, museum and gallery, archives and store.

Former Windy City Times staffer Mark Schoofs won a Pulitzer Prize this year for his Village Voice series on AIDS in Africa.

A record 350,000 attended this year's Pride Parade, up from 300,000 in 1999. Thousands of Chicagoans also rolled out for the Belmont Rocks and Chicago Black Pride.

An estimated 1,500 riders raised $5 million for AIDS organizations in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois for the Twin Cities>Wisconsin>Chicago AIDS Ride in July.

The 11-year-old AIDS Walk Chicago announced in early November that it would fall "significantly short" of its $1.9 million campaign goal. In subsequent weeks, officials have refused to quantify that shortfall, but estimates put it at close to $1 million. That reportedly means none of the event's beneficiaries will receive any money this year, speculation that officials have also declined to verify. The AIDS Walk board is reportedly reviewing several options for the future, including the chance to have the Walk acquired by another non-profit.

Lesbian activist and author Kathleen Rose Winter won $50,000 from the Chicago Park District for an incident at Lincoln Park Zoo in 1997. Winter toppled out of her wheelchair while attempting to use a bathroom which was not accessible.

Scores of Chicagoans participated in the Millennium March on Washington in May, attending everything from the Equality Rocks concert to the mass wedding. The nearly $1 million in missing funds from the Millennium Festival were never found.

The Chicago Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce opened one of the world's first Gay and Lesbian Visitors Centers in March, out of the donated offices it shared with Lambda Publications during its first four years. The center, founded at 3713 N. Halsted, includes information for tourists and newcomers to the area. On Jan. 5, 2001, it will move its administrative offices to 3356 N. Halsted.

The U.S. Small Business Administration signed a partnership agreement in June with the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Community Centers in Los Angeles to increase GLBT participation in the group; the chicago GL Chamber was included and a signing was also held later in the Windy City.

Checkers closed in Chicago in January, only to have the Halsted and Addison location reopen in August. The Lakeview store had been the scene of several anti-gay incidents, including homophobia from employees.

The Chicago area sent 10 individuals to Sydney, Australia, in November to participate in the Annual Meeting of the Federation of Gay Games. Six of them represented Chicago 2006, the group working to bring the Gay Games to Chicago in 2006.

Five men were nabbed for public indecency in a steamroom sting at a suburban Bally's gym.

Naperville North High School students sparked a lengthy and emotional debate by seeking the inclusion of sexual orientation in the school district's anti-discrimination policy. The school board eventually settled on policy language that does not specifically address anti-gay harassment.

Chicago-based writer and activist Ifti Nasim won the Adeeb International Award from the Sahir Cultural Academy Ludhiana.

The organization TransAction held a "Trans/Gender" forum in November, addressing some of the issues in the young trans community.

Openly gay deli owners Bil Wood and Larry Roney made headlines when they asked a vocal Republican couple to leave their shop.

Horizons and the Color Triangle Coalition signed an agreement in July making the agency the official "home" of the organization.

Chicago-area activists Jim Boushay, Rickey Sain and Lynnell Stephani Long were among the presenters at this year's NGLTF Creating Change conference in Atlanta.

TransGenesis founder Lorrainne Sade Baskerville blazed a trail as the lone GLBT booth-holder at the Black Expo.

After a series of delays, depositions began in November in the federal discrimination lawsuit filed against the McGaw YMCA in Evanston by openly HIV-positive volleyball director Bob Williams.

Lesbian mom Julia Heath filed complaints with the state Human Rights Commission and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission after being suspended and subsequently fired from the Department of Human Services for taking time off to care for her HIV-positive daughter.

EVENTS

The National Black Lesbian and Gay Leadership conference held Healing and Rebuilding, its annual conference, at Chicago's Westin Hotel in February.

The 12th Lambda Literary Awards, the Lammys, were held at the Palmer House Hilton on June 1.

Passing Twice, an organization of GLBT stutterers, gathered in Chicago as part of the annual convention of the National Stuttering Association.

Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund held its annual Freedom to Marry Day celebration Feb. 12, passing out information on gay marriage to passersby outside Water Tower Place and at Sidetrack and Roscoe's.

Close to 1,000 people attended Witness Our Welcome 2000: God's Promise is for You, the largest ecumenical gathering of welcoming churches and individuals ever held.

The largest queer history conference ever, The Future of the Queer Past: A Transitional History Conference, was at the University of Chicago.

Asians and Friends had more than 250 attendees in town in August for its International Friendship Weekend.

Chi-Town Squares hosted square dance lovers from across the country at the annual Labor Day weekend Crossfire event.

The Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network held its fourth annual national conference in suburban Arlington Heights in October, drawing an estimated 800+ participants.

Members of the American Library Association's Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgendered Round Table met in July in conjunction with the ALA's annual conference.

ANNIVERSARIES

Amigas Latinas celebrated five years this summer.

Mountain Moving Coffeehouse celebrated its 25th anniversary in May, and Artemis Singers turned 20 in October.

Legacy bar on Irving Park celebrated its 39th anniversary in June.

The New Town Writers, the city's premier gay/lesbian writers group, turned 20 in August, as did Men of All Colors Together/Chicago.

The Association of Latin Men in Action turned 10 in August.

PASSAGES

Steve Whitson, 38, editor of Positively Aware, died in January.

Actor and former Chicagoan Ted Bales, 35, died Feb. 10.

Poet and writer Alfredo Gonzalez, who contributed to En La Vida newspaper, died Feb. 5.

BEHIV board member and AIDS advocate Derrill Edwards died Feb. 27.

Gay erotic film director Steve Cadro was murdered in his native city of Budapest, Hungary, in April.

Longtime Chicago activists George Buse, 75, and Edward Louzao, 70, both died April 20.

Leading international AIDS activist Kiyoshi Kuromiya died May 10 of AIDS-related complications.

Author Dale Jennings, co-founder of Mattachine Society and ONE, died May 11 at age 82.

World-renowned composer William Ferris, 63, of the William Ferris Chorale, died in May of a heart attack.

Bartender and community organizer Diane "Delilah" Kenney died May 9.

British actor Sir John Gielgud, 96, died in late May.

POZ magazine writer and Community Prescription Service founder Stephen Genden, 34, died in July.

Tony DeBlase, creator of the Leather Pride Flag and one of the founders of the city's Leather Archives and Museum, died in July after a long illness.

Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame Friend of the Community Adrene "Big Red" Perom passed away this fall.

Dan Neuwelt, cofounder of the Midwest Men's Center, died in September.

Travel consultant Michael Stantion died Oct. 17.

Illinois poet laureate Gwendolyn Brooks, 83, died Dec. 3.

Teacher and Unity Church chairperson Edward Joseph Towe died Nov. 28.

John Hadley Nicanor Hemingway, the godson of Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas, died in November.

Donald "DJ" Biwer, a Chicago retail fixture for nearly 20 years, died Nov. 18.

Passionate activist and Mr. Windy City 1987 Paul Adams, 46, died on Nov. 10.

Larry Osburn, president of the board of directors for Bailiwick Repertory Theatre, died Oct. 28.

Musician Jerry Keller, a leader in the Chicago chapter of PFLAG, died Oct. 26.

AIDS service organization worker and activist Michael James, 32, died on Sept. 10.

Tireless volunteer Bruce "Dad" Gant, life partner of Bob Rolofson, died Aug. 19.

Ruth Ellis, 101, the world's oldest African-American lesbian, died Oct. 5.

Robert C. Torri, 55, who spent his entire life in the theater, died Sept. 18.

Jim Peters died Aug. 31.

The Dec. 27, 2000 Windy City Times also had several year-in-review articles.


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