The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame (founded in 1991) held its annual induction ceremony Oct. 3 at the Chicago History Museum. These individuals and organizations were chosen by 29 previous Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame inductees from a slate of 50-plus candidates nominated by the general public.
Inductees and guests gathered for a reception in the Chicago Room Hall before the awards ceremony in the museum's McCormick Theater. The National Anthem was played with the packed theater audience singing along ahead of emcee Dr. Carla "C. C." Carter's opening remarks.
Carter, a 2002 inductee, also introduced Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, who joked that he hoped to one day be famous enough to be known by one name or initials like she is. Johnson called the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame "an important treasure in our city as you all continue to uplift and share the stories of our LGBTQ+ community … It is important that we continue to educate our city on all of those achievements…by individuals, organizations and allies."
The mayor also mentioned past honorees whose contributions "have made life better for all of us. I am so proud to recognize and congratulate all of this years deserving inductees that are joining this incredible list," and noted that October is LGBT History Month.
Carter and fellow emcee and Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame Board Co-Chair Tarrina Dikes called out the inductees' names, and some of their achievements, as Johnson handed outtheir awards amidst rapturous cheers from the audience.
Individual inductees (all of whom were in attendance to accept their awards) included Women and Children First Co-Founder and former Co-Owner Linda Bubon; LGBTQ+-focused journalist and food writer Andrew Davis, who is also former executive editor of Windy City Times; longtime high-end Jan Dee Custom Jewelry Owner Jan Dee; E3 Radio (the only radio station that exclusively plays queer music and reports on queer news) Founder, #AnnasGotAWord podcast host and OUTspoken LGBTQ+ Stories Co-Host Anna DeShawn; and Gay Horizons' (now Center on Halsted) first mental health professional and later Executive Director Joe Loundy.
Also honored were Chicago philanthropic, corporate and civic events planner Robert Neubert; LGBTQ+ advocate, philanthropist, Tawani Foundation and Tawani Enterprises Founder, Pritzker Military Library Founder and veteran Col. Jennifer Pritzker; Chicago Chapter of Queer Nation Co-Founder; 1990 Chicago Mayoral candidate, 1992 Presidential candidate (whose campaign slogan was "Lick Bush in '92") and drag queen Terence Alan Smith, aka Joan Jett Blakk; and the first out Black gay man to be Chicago Poet Laureate and University of Chicago Arts and Public Life Artist-In-Residence and award-winning teaching artist avery r. young.
Additionally, Chicago Symphony Chorus Founder, Conductor and Chorus Director Margaret Hillis was inducted posthumously with Chicago Symphony Chorus Associate Director and Margaret Hillis: Unsung Pioneer author Cheryl Frazes Hill accepting the award on her behalf.
The Friend of the Community inductee this year was Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago Gender Development Program for its work to provide gender-diverse children, transgender adolescents and other patient-families with comprehensive medical care, behavioral health and social support services. Multiple Gender Development Program staffers accepted the award.
The Organization honor went to Black Alphabet, the worlds oldest and largest Black LGBTQ+ focused arts organization. Black Alphabet is dedicated to elevating Black cinema with its Black Alphabet Film Festival and more recently to promote social equity awareness and education writ-large using media and the creative arts to get its message across. Many Black Alphabet members accepted the award for the organization.
Young closed out the evening with a poignant and lively poem that highlighted the achievements of his fellow inductees. This elicited cheers and a standing ovation from the crowd.
See chicagolgbthalloffame.org/ and chicagolgbthalloffame.org/hall-of-fame-announces-2023-slate-of-inductees/ .