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Year end roundup: Local headlines

This article shared 3879 times since Wed Jan 5, 2011
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Here are a few of the headlines that will make 2010 a year to remember, from rallies/protests to agency developments:

—There goes the judge: Tom Chiola, the first openly gay elected individual in Illinois, has announced his retirement from his 16-year Cook County Circuit Court judicial position. He made history when he won his rigorous campaign for Cook County Circuit Court judge in 1994 in the eighth Judicial Subcircuit. He later branched out into acting, taking part in the production F**king Men at Bailiwick Chicago.

—Red Line attack: Three men attacked Daniel Hauff, a gay individual, Jan. 10 on a Red Line train. Hauff avoided further injury by smearing blood on his attackers and saying he was HIV-positive, although he wasn't. The alleged attackers' cases are still pending.

—Election rejection: For the most part, gay and lesbian candidates did not fare well in the Feb. 2 elections, as individuals lost while vying for everything from the Illinois General Assembly to judicial seats. One bright spot is that Mary Trew, who lost a tight race for a post in the Cook County Circuit Court, was appointed by year's end.

—Putting a Spin on it: The Boystown nightclub Spin became the subject of a lawsuit regarding a contractual dispute. The suit alleged that representatives of Spin failed to fulfill the terms of an arrangement made when plaintiffs Andrea Cruzatti and Maria Christina Wiesmore—acting as A&C Productions—booked and promoted a February show by Kid Sister.

—The Baim game: In an eventful year for Windy City Times Publisher Tracy Baim, she published the book Obama and the Gays: A Political Marriage and was named the inaugural recipient of the Chicago History Museum's OUT Fellowship.

—Kelly girl: Dana V. Starks, chairman and commissioner of the City of Chicago Commission on Human Relations, announced that Mayor Richard M. Daley appointed Elizabeth A. Kelly, Ph.D., as the new chairperson of the Commission's Advisory Council on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues.

—Trial and error: Federal regulators decided not to disqualify Northstar Medical Center's Dr. Daniel Berger, whose clinic had submitted false information in a drug trial. Berger, who has been the subject of a Food and Drug Administration (FDA) investigation following alleged improprieties at the center, had reached an agreement with the FDA that will allow him to continue coordinating HIV/AIDS drug trials.

—Agency drama: Howard Brown Health Center had an eventful 2010—which may be an understatement. President/CEO Mike Cook and CFO Marc Joslyn were fired amid allegations of financial mismanagement. New President/CEO promised transparency, and the center managed to surpass its goal of raising $500,000 in 50 days. In addition, the board is being totally revamped.

—Transitions: Jim Lobianco, an openly gay man who was deputy commissioner at the Office of Homeless Services for the City of Chicago, left his post after having an accident while reportedly driving drunk. He is now executive director of StreetWise, Inc.

—End of an era: Local gay newspaper Chicago Free Press closed. CFP was launched in August 1999 by former staffers of Windy City Times. Those two papers battled it out in the community and the courts for a year before Jeff McCourt shut down WCT and then sold it to Outlines Publisher Tracy Baim, who had co-founded WCT with McCourt, Bob Bearden and Drew Badanish in 1985. Baim merged Outlines newspaper with WCT in the fall of 2000. In addition, WCT marked its 25th anniversary in 2010.

—Marking 25: The AIDS Foundation of Chicago marked its 25th anniversary with a gala that raised more than $500,000 as The Bangles performed. Also marking a quarter-century: the LGBT organization Asians and Friends.

—Marching on: The Chicago Dyke March took place in the neighborhood of South Shore this summer, with an ending rally in Jackson Park. Following a 2009 decision for the march to remain in the same neighborhood for two consecutive years, the march will take place in South Shore this year as well.

—Game over?: The Chicago Red Stars, a local women's professional team, changed coaches—but the biggest change took place when the team decided to suspend operations, at least for 2011.

—Off the Mark?: Then-Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kirk became the subject of gay rumors, as blogger Mike Rogers—who has a reputation for outing politicians—claimed that Kirk was a closeted gay man. Kirk denied the claim, and eventually overcame misstatements about his own military career to narrowly defeat Democrat Alexi Giannoulias for Barack Obama's former seat.

—Gless is more: Actress Sharon Gless received the "Bridge to Unity" Award from the Lesbian and Gay Police Association-Gay Officers Action League of Chicago at the 14th Annual International LGBT Conference for Law Enforcement & Criminal Justice Professionals. She also attended a release party for the lesbian-themed (and Chicago-made) film Hannah Free, in which she starred.

—I love a parade: The prestigious trophy known as the Stanley Cup made an appearance at Chicago's pride parade, and it was carried by (now-former) Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Brent Sopel. Also, the Chicago Cubs (who has one gay owner, Laura Ricketts) were in the parade, in the person of legend Ernie Banks.

—Sign language: Addressing a problem whose publicity was beginning to mushroom across the nation, Gov. Pat Quinn signed the Jason Flatt Act, which provides for suicide detection and prevention training, over Pride Weekend. He also signed an anti-bullying bill.

—Cuffed: Local gay-rights activist Marc Loveless was arrested and charged with simple battery after allegedly shoving the Coalition for Justice and Respect's (CJR's) board chair, John Hickman. (Charges were later dropped.) Multiple allegations then transpired, from both Loveless and CJR.

—Testing, testing: Cook County Jail resumed HIV/STD testing for the first time since 2007. Cook County Board Commissioner Bridget Gainer announced a program that will screen county detainees for HIV, gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis, and revealed a new 22-room intake facility.

—Exodus: Mary Ann Smith, alderman of Chicago's 48th Ward on the North Side (which includes Andersonville and Edgewater), announced she was not seeking re-election—joining at least seven other aldermen (including 43rd Ward Alderman Vi Daley and 46th Ward Alderman Helen Shiller).

—Protest: In what Gay Liberation Network's Andy Thayer called Arlington Heights' largest LGBT demonstration ever, more than 120 protesters filled the sidewalk in front of Arlington Heights' Christian Liberty Academy Aug. 5 to condemn Americans for Truth About Homosexuality's "Truth Academy."

—Dean's list: A historic conference took place Aug. 6-7 in Chicago when a group of lesbian and gay presidents of higher-education institutions convened at the Adler School of Professional Psychology and Roosevelt University.

—Art and soul: After 17 years serving the Chicago community, the Aldo Castillo Gallery closed Aug. 28. Director Aldo Castillo accepted the role of associate director at the Miami International Art Fair.

—Hero effect: Openly gay Trevor Hall, 17, saved another teen from drowning at Silver Lake in Kenosha, Wis., on Aug. 23. However, there was a harsh aftermath: The Aurora Medical Center billed him $2,000 for the tests it performed on Hall. However, after public pressure, the hospital relented and waived the bills.

—Daley news: In an announcement that had local, national and even international ramifications, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley announced he would not seek a seventh term in the February 2011 elections. Daley, who has been mayor of Chicago since 1989, has been one of the most pro-LGBT public officials in the country. His announcement led to a wealth of potential successors, including former Obama Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun.

—Like a Rock(ford): Representatives from Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, the Gay Liberation Network, and Diversity of Rockford showed up to protest the Exodus International "ex-gay" conference in Rockford Sept. 25. Among those present were Amy Pirtle and her 15-year-old son, Bobby, who just recently came out to his family.

—School daze: Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn approved $8.1 million in new federal funding for school and community-based comprehensive sexual health education programs in 2011. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced the awards Sept. 30.

—Terrorism target?: In one of the most bizarre stories from last year, the local LGBT synagogue Congregation Or Chadash was one of two Jewish places of worship that were initially thought to be the targets of a terrorist plot that was foiled Oct. 28. It later was discovered that terrorists intended to blow up the cargo planes.

—School daze, part two: A week set aside to promote anti-bullying at St. Charles North High School became enveloped in controversy as some students decided to show their opposition to the LGBT community. Three male students wore T-shirts with the slogan "Straight Pride" on the front and a Bible verse from Leviticus on the back.

—School daze, part three: Openly gay Chicago Public Schools CEO Ron Huberman stepped down from his post Nov. 29 after serving fewer than two years in the position.

—Historic passage: The Illinois Senate passed the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act 32-24 on Dec. 1, completing a historic sweep through the General Assembly. Openly gay state Rep. Greg Harris described the pressure to pass the measure as "enormous. ... We had to turn the tide."

—Splitsville: Rick Garcia—seen by many as the voice of local LGBT activism—was let go from his position as director of public policy for Equality Illinois. However, Garcia has not gone away quietly, as the activist and Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov (among others) have weighed in on the situation.

—Not home alone: The Center on Halsted launched its new homesharing program, which aims to help LGBT seniors and provide affordable housing to renters. The provider will have to have a minimum of two bedrooms in his or her home, apartment or condo, and the renter will have to have an income of at least $750 per month and be willing to live with an older LGBT adult and provide assistance with household chores and tasks.


—Flo McGarrell: The transgender multidisciplinary artist/activist was killed Jan. 12 in the earthquake that devastated Haiti. McGarrell earned his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago ( SAIC ) in 2004.

—Jim Dohr: Dohr, a gay-rights activist who was very active in the leather scene, passed away at 59. He worked at the Chicago Department of Health as director of administrative services.

—Renae Ogletree: Chicago activist Ogletree, 59, died April 23, after a battle with lung cancer. Ogletree's most recent job was with the Chicago Public Schools, in the post-secondary education and student development office of high schools and high school programs. Inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1998, Ogletree was involved in dozens of organizations and issues.

—Earl "Peacock" Battles: Battles—an outspoken individual known for his longtime activism—died May 19, at age 56. Battles was also involved with Test Positive Aware Network, Vital Bridges and Center on Halsted's SAGE program.

—Selma Diaz: Diaz, a transgender woman, was found May 16 by Chicago police officers in Montrose Harbor. Although her death was ruled a suicide, friends and neighbors disputed the conclusion.

—Janine Denomme: Denomme, a lesbian ordained priest, passed away May 17. Denomme, 45, was director of youth programs for the Center on Halsted and an active Catholic who served as a lay preacher, church musician, parish council member, spiritual director and religion teacher. She was ordained a month before her passing.

—George: The green macaw, 36, was originally owned by the late cartoonist/activist Danny Sotomayor. The bird then lived with business/life partners Art Johnston and Pepe Pena for two decades.

—Sandy Woulard: The transgender woman was a homicide victim, as she was shot in the chest in Hamilton Park. She was found June 21.

—Albert Gaskin: Gaskin, a groundbreaking real-estate agent, died July 1 at age 76 after battling prostate cancer. Gaskin—who is survived by his partner of 41 years, Robert Bachand— was the first African-American member of the North Shore Board of Realtors.

—Robert Mazzacone: Mazzacone, 55, delivered Chicago gay publications, including Windy City Times, for many years.

—Lael Scoglio: Scoglio passed away July 29 in her Chicago home of cancer; she was 62. She founded the Northside Parent's Network in 1980 and chaired Kindred Hearts, a women's support organization in Evanston, for many years. Scoglio also helped her husband, Frank, operate the Burgundy Inn, a popular North side Chicago restaurant, for three decades.

—Martin Gapshis: Gapshis, an openly gay Chicago business owner and philanthropist, died at age 63. Gapshis, who was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 2007, was honored at Center on Halsted's 2010 "Human First" gala. As co-chair of the center's capital campaign, he helped raise $20 million for the construction of the organization's current Lake View location.

—Laird Petersen: Laird Petersen died from a series of infections Oct. 6 in Richmond, Va.; he was 53. A Chicago native, Petersen contributed nearly 30 years of service to Chicago's LGBT communities and counts more than $12 million he raised for LGBT community-based organizations. Petersen was a board member and director of development for Gay Horizons (now the Center on Halsted) and helped lead the agency out of a $190,000 deficit into a $1.2 million budget.

—Alicia Amador: Long-time Mujeres Latinas en Accion staff member, friend and compañera Alicia Amador died of cancer Oct. 7 from cancer; she was 56. She was a founding member of Amigas Latinas, Chicago's Latina lesbian organization.

—Dillie Grunauer: Grunauer, 78—the longtime partner of Renee C. Hanover—died after a long illness. Grunauer was a neurologist with Cook County Hospital since the late 1970s. She was well-respected in her field, very involved with Jewish organizations and the State of Israel, and active in the gay-rights movement.

—Rosalind Glanton: The longtime community activist died suddenly Nov. 8. Glanton was recognized for her work as a founding board member of Affinity at the agency's 15th anniversary benefit at Sidetrack in October. As a photographer, Glanton helped document hundreds of community events, and produced a calendar of African-American women.

—Quinn Collins: Collins, the transgender man who inspired Chicago's first PFLAG support group for parents of transgender kids, was killed in early hours of Nov. 1 in New Buffalo, Mich., when his stopped 2007 Honda Accord was rear-ended on I-94. He was 38.

—Jamie Moravec: Moravec, who played three sports in Chicago's gay leagues, died Nov. 14 from injuries sustained in a fall from his fifth-floor condominium in the Uptown neighborhood. He was 35.

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