Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

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

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Lambda Legal Bon Foster benefit honors Fred Eychaner
Video links below.
by Tracy Baim and Gretchen Rachel Blickensderfer
2014-04-23

This article shared 18 times since Wed Apr 23, 2014
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

      More Photos


Longtime businessman, activist and philanthropist Fred Eychaner received a standing ovation from the hundreds of people attending the Lambda Legal Bon Foster benefit April 23 at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Eychaner was given the Lambda Legal National Liberty Award, the first time the honor has been presented outside of New York or Los Angeles.

Bon Foster's bequest of "everything he had"—according to Lambda Midwest Regional Director Jim Bennett— helped establish the Midwest Office of Lambda Legal more than 20 years ago.

The event was a celebration of Lambda Legal's work in Illinois and nationally, not just on marriage equality, but on a myriad of LGBT and HIV/AIDS issues. Speakers included Bennett; Lambda Legal Executive Director Kevin Cathcart; Camilla Taylor, Lambda Counsel and Marriage Project National Director; John McGowan, national leader of presenting sponsor Northern Trust's LGBT and non-traditional practice; and event co-chairs Ray Koenig and Johnny Song, who introduced Eychaner.

In his speech, an emotional Eychaner looked back on more than 40 years of LGBT progress, from the drag queens fighting back at Stonewall, to those in ACT UP fighting for their lives against HIV and AIDS, to the lesbians who gave blood when gay men could not, to the hatred spawned by Reagan-era Republicans, to Irwin Keller and Jonathan Katz of Gay and Lesbian Town Meeting fighting for rights in Chicago in the 1980s, and to the present battle for marriage. "Always remember, never forget," he chanted at several points.

The theme of the evening was "happiness." In looking back at the progress made toward the legal recognition of LGBTQ relationships over the past year, McGowan said that the work of Lambda Legal had made him very happy. Throughout its history, the Midwest Regional Office of Lambda Legal has brought landmark cases in Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. Many of those cases have set new precedents in the struggle for LGBTQ equality.

This past year was no different. A federal lawsuit in Ohio sought and won recognition of out-of-state same-sex marriages. Emergency relief was granted to an Indiana same-sex couple who sought recognition of their marriage. A transgender woman—who was fired from her job in South Dakota after announcing her transition—was granted a settlement that affirmed Title VII protection against discrimination for trans* employees.

"We are on our way," Cathcart said. "I was in Iowa for the five-year anniversary of the Varnum decision. At that time, Iowa was the third state in the country in which same-sex couples could marry. That was only five years ago. We now have 17 states with another half dozen victories in federal district courts in places ranging from Oklahoma to Texas to Virginia to Kentucky, Utah and Michigan."

McGowan noted that—in Illinois this past Friday—the Cook County clerk issued the one thousandth marriage license to a same-sex couple. "I am blown away," he said. "I don't like to count my chicks before they're hatched, but we can all see where this is going."

"Our work is always done by telling stories," Bennett said. "Amazing, courageous plaintiffs are willing to share their lives and illustrate a problem and an injustice that has to be corrected."

Among the plaintiffs present were Jim Darby and Patrick Bova. According to Lambda Legal, the Darby v. Orr case was instrumental in achieving legislative victory for Illinois marriage equality in November. Patricia Ewert—the wife of celebrated activist Vernita Gray who died in March—received an ovation. Gray and Ewert were granted an emergency marriage license that opened the door for marriages to begin in Cook County prior to June 1, 2014. The case brought by Brenda E. Lee and S. Lee Edwards "helped to keep the door open" according to Bennett, while Taylor noted that the Gray v. Orr case has now been cited as justification for striking down marriage bans in states such as Indiana and Ohio.

"Yesterday we filed a new marriage challenge in Georgia," Cathcart said. "So five years after bringing marriage equality to the Midwest, we are determined to bring marriage equality to the south as well."

Cathcart noted that there are currently 65 marriage challenges proceeding at all court levels across the country. "The number of cases will continue to grow," he said "The number of victories will continue to grow. It is highly likely that the Supreme Court could have a marriage case on its docket in its next term. I find it almost impossible to imagine that there will not be a U.S. Supreme Court decision by June 2016."

However, Cathcart added that the work of Lambda Legal does not begin and end with marriage equality. "We get over 7,000 calls a year at our help desks," he said. "The largest number of calls we get are about employment discrimination. We are soon going to be in the very odd position of having states where same-sex couples can marry and where you can be fired from your job without recourse for being lesbian and gay."

Koenig told Windy City Times that he expects Lambda Legal will face such discrimination head on alongside a myriad of other challenges in the coming years; part of a relentless effort towards total equality. "There's a huge part of our community that we will be addressing," he said. "The issues facing our trans* brothers and sisters are monumental both inside and outside of Chicago. The discrimination they face is just criminal."

For Eychaner, the evening offered a chance—not only to celebrate successes—but to reflect upon how they were reached in a spirit of unity and togetherness. "The grassroots process," he recalled. "Fighting in the trenches, one phone call at a time. There was a time when most Americans did not know that they knew an LGBT person. The process of coming out; coming out to friends, our family, our coworkers has lead us to where we are today."

Video by Tracy Baim and Sam Abeysekera

Windy City Times: John McGowan at Lambda Legal Bon Foster Awards at the link:www.youtube.com/watch .

Windy City Times: Jim Bennett at Lambda legal Bon Foster Awards www.youtube.com/watch .

Windy City Times: Camilla Taylor at Lambda Legal Bon Foster Awards at the link: www.youtube.com/watch .

Windy City Times: Jim Bennett on Bon Foster at Lambda Legal Event at the link: www.youtube.com/watch .

Windy City Times: Lambda Legal Executive Director Kevin Cathcart at Bon Foster Awards at the link: www.youtube.com/watch .

Windy City Times: Fred Eychaner receives Lambda Legal Bon Foster Award at the link: www.youtube.com/watch .





This article shared 18 times since Wed Apr 23, 2014
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.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

MUSIC Lil Nas X wins top award at MTV VMAs 2021-09-13
- The MTV VMA Awards took place Sept. 12—and an LGBTQ+ artist took home one of the night's top awards. Lil Nas X won Video of the Year for "Montero (Call Me By Your Name)," besting Cardi ...


Gay News

Nat'l Black Justice Coalition, James Baldwin Legacy Awards honor Black elders 2021-08-21
--From a press release - On Saturday, August 21, 2021, at 12:00pm ET, the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) and AARP, will host a virtual celebration entitled the James Baldwin Legacy Awards in honor of the invaluable contributions of Black men ...


Gay News

Jered Pruitt, CASL COO, honored as a Crain's Chicago Business 2021 Notable LGBTQ Exec 2021-08-06
- Chicago — The Chinese American Service League (CASL), the largest AAPI social service agency in the Midwest, is proud to announce that Chief Operating Officer Jered Pruitt was honored as a Crain's Chicago Business 2021 Notable ...


Gay News

Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame seeks members for selection committee 2021-06-10
- The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame, celebrating its 30th anniversary, invited the LGBTQ+ community to nominate individuals, organizations, businesses, and allies for the 2021 Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame and the response was tremendous. The Chicago ...


Gay News

NBC Out releases annual #Pride30 list 2021-06-05
--From a press release - NBC Out, part of NBCNews.com, has released its annual #Pride30 list, recognizing members of the LGBTQ community around the world who are making a difference. This year's list honors 30 lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer ...


Gay News

Wisconsin LGBTQ History fundraiser honors 60th anniversary of LGBTQ uprising 2021-06-01
--From a press release - Milwaukee, WI - As Pride Month kicks off today across America, the Wisconsin LGBTQ History Project is launching a campaign to celebrate the birthplace of "pride" in Wisconsin, recognize a turning point in local LGBTQ history, ...


Gay News

Chicago LGBT veterans honor the fallen on Memorial Day 2021-05-31
- The Chicago Chapter of the American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER) honored the fallen on Memorial Day with flowers at the granite monument on Halsted Street and Addison which honors LGBTQ veterans. The monument was commissioned ...


Gay News

West Hollywood celebrates Pride on Harvey Milk Day, honors Lady Gaga and The Abbey 2021-05-24
- Each year in California, the City of West Hollywood celebrates the artistic contributions of the LGBTQ community with its 40-day-long One City One Pride LGBTQ Arts Festival. The festival kicked off on Harvey Milk Day (May ...


Gay News

Little library honoring John Pennycuff is unveiled 2021-05-24
- Chicago's Unity Park Advisory Council (UPAC) held "Park Day" May 22 at the site, 2636 N. Kimball Ave.—and one of the events involved the unveiling of a custom-designed little library that honors late LGBTQ-rights activist John ...


Gay News

National Black Justice Coalition honors the life of Monica Roberts 2021-05-04
--From a press release - WASHINGTON, DC — Today, the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) celebrates the life and accomplishments of Monica Roberts, a revered transgender journalist, activist, and founder of the award-winning publication TransGriot. ...


Gay News

Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame announces online nominations 2021-04-23
- The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame announced today that it has made its entire nomination process available online. Those wishing to nominate individuals, organizations, businesses, or "Friends of the Community, may now do so without having ...


Gay News

Hall of Fame honors 21 LGBTQ elected and appointed leaders 2021-04-19
--From a press release - Washington, DC — On Sunday, May 2 during a virtual event, LGBTQ Victory Institute will launch its LGBTQ Victory Hall of Fame to honor the LGBTQ elected officials, appointed officials and candidates who made a lasting ...


Gay News

GALECA: The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics hands out Dorian Awards 2021-04-19
--From a press release - LOS ANGELES, CA, April 18, 2021 — Nomadland, the spare and fact-based drama of a group of struggling Americans living off the grid; the vivid blueswoman biopic Ma Rainey's Black Bottom; the family-happy fish-out-of-water fable Minari; ...


Gay News

GLAAD Media Awards honor creative forces of change in media, culture 2021-04-09
--From a press release, video below - Los Angeles, CA, Thursday, April 8, 2021 — GLAAD, the world's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) media advocacy organization, tonight hosted a virtual ceremony to announce the award recipients of the 32nd Annu ...


Gay News

Newberry Library to honor Lonnie G. Bunch III on May 24 2021-03-26
- In a virtual event on Monday, May 24, at 6 p.m., the Newberry Library will honor Lonnie G. Bunch III for his contributions to the humanities. Bunch became secretary of the Smithsonian Institution in June 2019 ...


 



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.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


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.