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social sciences

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Nancy J. Katz's 1999 appointment and subsequent election to Cook County Circuit Court made her Chicago's first openly lesbian official. Tom Tunney's 2003 election as 44th Ward Alderman (a district that includes Lakeview) made him the city's first openly gay alderman.

In 1996, the Chicago Area Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce was established. By the early 2000s, it would have a membership of more than 600 businesses.

Sponsor Message.

In 1997, the Chicago City Council extended domestic partnership benefits to municipal employees.

In 1998, Boystown received the distinction of being America's first officially recognized gay village. As part of a city-sponsored $3.2 million restoration project, the North Halsted Street strip was decorated with lighted rainbow pylons. The bronze pylons, more than 10 feet high with rainbow circles, were constructed by the city as an official designation of Chicago's most prominent glbtq neighborhood.

In 2005, the Illinois legislature passed legislation outlawing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, credit, and public accommodations, in effect extending the protections pioneered in Chicago and Cook County to the entire state.

In July 2006, Chicago's queer community hosted the Gay Games VI Sports and Cultural Festival.

In March 2007, Horizons Community Service's long-awaited Center on Halsted, after some five years of planning, is scheduled to open. Intended to be a focal point for Chicago's glbtq community, the Center aims to meet the diverse social, recreational, cultural, and social service needs of a population that has too often been neglected.

One of America's most storied cities, Chicago is one of the world's leading commerical and industrial centers. It boasts numerous cultural, educational, and social opportunities, from renowned institutions such as the Art Institute, the Chicago Symphony, and the Joffrey Ballet to lively bars and restaurants catering to people of all sexual orientations. A vital part of the city is its diverse and energetic glbtq community. The annual gay pride celebrations now attract hundreds of thousands of participants, as does the annual Northalsted Market Days celebration, which has become the largest two-day festival in the state.

Tina Gianoulis

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social sciences >> Overview:  Gay Rights Movement, U. S.

The U.S. gay rights movement has made significant progress toward achieving equality for glbtq Americans, and in the process has become more inclusive and diverse, but much remains to be done.

literature >> Overview:  Journalism and Publishing

The gay and lesbian press is of prime importance in sustaining a frequently embattled minority and has been crucial in the development of a national mass movement for gay rights.

social sciences >> Overview:  Leather Culture

"Leather" is a blanket term for a large array of sexual preferences, identities, relationship structures, and social organizations loosely tied together by the thread of what is conventionally understood as sadomasochistic sex.

social sciences >> Overview:  McCarthyism

McCarthyism, which attempted in the late 1940s and early 1950s to expunge Communists and fellow travelers from American public life, made homosexuals the chief scapegoats of the Cold War.

social sciences >> Overview:  Parades and Marches

Both parades and marches have served to render the glbtq community visible; whereas marches typically attempt to effect political change, parades and pride events affirm identity and community.

social sciences >> Overview:  Saugatuck

Saugatuck, Michigan is a popular resort destination for glbtq vacationers, especially from Chicago and Detroit

social sciences >> Overview:  Settlement House Movement

It is significant for glbtq history that a number of the women volunteers in the settlement house movement--which flourished at the turn of the twentieth century--formed close, lasting relationships with one another while living and working together.

social sciences >> Overview:  Sodomy Laws and Sodomy Law Reform

Sodomy laws, which provided the legal basis for police harassment of sexual minorities, were conclusively overturned by the United States Supreme Court in 2003, after more than half a century of efforts at reform.

social sciences >> ACT UP

Using bold images and confrontational tactics, ACT UP worked to promote awareness of AIDS and challenge the complacency of politicians and government officials in the early years of the epidemic.

social sciences >> Addams, Jane

American reformer, social worker, peace activist, and Nobel Laureate Jane Addams is remembered as the founder of Hull House in Chicago, but her involvement in same-sex relationships has consistently been hidden or minimized by biographers.

social sciences >> Brown, Howard

A distinguished physician and founder of the National Gay Task Force, Dr. Howard Brown helped change the image of gay men and lesbians in the United States.

arts >> Darger, Henry

Now considered one of the most original artists of the last half of the twentieth century, Henry Darger died completely unknown in his native Chicago.

arts >> Gay Games

A quadrennial sporting and cultural event designed for the glbtq community, the Gay Games has become a lucrative attraction for host cities.

social sciences >> The Legacy Walk (Chicago)

The Legacy Walk in Chicago is an outdoor history museum that reclaims and celebrates glbtq contributions to world history and culture.

social sciences >> Mattachine Society

One of the earliest American gay movement organizations, the Mattachine Society was dedicated to the cultural and political liberation of homosexuals; but in the face of McCarthyism, it adopted conservative policies of accommodationism.

social sciences >> Stonewall Riots

The confrontations between police and demonstrators at the Stonewall Inn in New York City the weekend of June 27-29, 1969 mark the beginning of the modern glbtq movement for equal rights.

arts >> Teske, Edmund

American photographer Edmund Teske created a distinct and inventive body of work that embraced multiple styles and subjects, from somber urban vistas to intimate, often eroticized, portraits.

social sciences >> Wolfenden Report

The Wolfenden Report, a 1957 British government study, recommended that homosexual behavior between consenting adults in private no longer be criminalized in England.


Baldacci, Leslie. "Gerber/Hart: The Library That Rescues Chicago's Gay History." Chicago Sun-Times (January 8, 2006):

Bergquist, Kathie, and Robert McDonald. A Field Guide to Gay and Lesbian Chicago. Chicago: Lake Claremont Press, 2006.

"The Brass Check and Thomas Payne: A Lecture by Studs Terkel." University of Illinois Website.

Drexel, Allen. "Before Paris Burned: Race, Class, and Male Homosexuality on the Chicago South Side, 1935-1960." Creating a Place for Ourselves: Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Community Histories. Brett Beemyn, ed. New York: Routledge, 1997. 97-118.

Heap, Chad. "Gays and Lesbians." The Encyclopedia of Chicago.

Johnson, David K. "The Kids of Fairytown: Gay Male Culture on Chicago's Near North Side in the 1930s." Creating a Place for Ourselves: Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Community Histories. Brett Beemyn, ed. New York: Routledge, 1997. 119-144

Lehoczky, Etelka. "Radio Free Homo: Chicago-Based, Homofrecuencia Is Bringing Gay Outreach To Teenagers Around The Globe." The Advocate (December 10, 2002): 58.

Nash, Carl. "Gay and Lesbian Rights Movements." The Encyclopedia of Chicago.

Perreten, Dan. "Gay Old Times." Chicago 47.6 (June 1998): 24-25.

"Turning Points in Lesbian and Gay History in Chicago." Chicago Metro History Education Center.

Warren, Ellen. "A Chicago Political Family Stands Up for Gay Rights." Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service (April 27, 2004): K5888.


    Citation Information
    Author: Gianoulis, Tina  
    Entry Title: Chicago  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
    Publication Date: 2006  
    Date Last Updated October 25, 2006  
    Web Address  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
1130 West Adams
Chicago, IL   60607
    Today's Date  
    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2006 glbtq, Inc.  


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