The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame has extended the deadlines for nominations for consideration for induction into the hall of fame. Nominations will be accepted with a postmark as late as midnight on February 15. The nominations will be reviewed by a committee comprised of current Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame members, after which a slate of inductees will be voted in. Nomination criteria and nomination forms are available at chicagolgbthalloffame.org/nominate. The ceremony for inductees will be held on Tuesday, June 9, 2020 at the Chicago History Museum. The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame was founded in 1991 as the Chicago Gay & Lesbian Hall of Fame.
Its purpose then, as now, is to honor people and entities, nominated by the community, who have made significant contributions to the quality of life or well-being of the LGBT community in Chicago. It is the first city-sponsored hall of fame dedicated to LGBT people, organizations and community in the United States. From its founding in 1991 until 2016 the Gay & Lesbian Hall of Fame relied on support from the City of Chicago. The city ceased funding the Gay & Lesbian Hall of Fame in 2016 as part of then mayor Rahm Emmanuel’s cost-cutting programs. At that time, it was rechristened the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame and has since been supported and maintained by the Friends of the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame, a 501c3 not-for-profit organization, with approval from the City of Chicago. The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame inducted new members, from a slate submitted by Chicago’s LGBT community, in 2016 and 2017. At that point the LGBT Hall of Fame decided to take a year in which to restructure itself, selecting new board members and bringing on new volunteers to better suit as well as re-establishing itself as a 501c3 not-for-profit organization.
Current board co-chair Kathy Caldwell, a 2017 inductee explained, “We have spent the past year assembling a strong cadre of volunteers and board members who are committed to keeping the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame vibrant. The group includes some fresh voices, such as recent new and current board members; Gary Liss, treasurer Marcia Hill, Greg McFall, tech whiz Kevin Bryson, and experienced community organizer Jorge Valdivia. Coming back to offer their invaluable advice are former board members Gary Chichester, Owen Keehnen and Phil Hannema. Rick Karlin, Secretary of the Board and Director of Communications for the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame added, “We felt it was important achievements of Chicagoans, past and present. The new group of folks working to make the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame a success was not willing to let a 30-year tradition slip away.”
The first Chicago Gay & Lesbian Hall of Fame ceremony took place during Pride Week and was held at Chicago City Hall. Mayor Richard M. Daley hosted the ceremony and afterwards, photos of the inductees were displayed in City Hall. The Hall of Fame has no physical facility but maintains a website, which allows anyone to visit the Hall of Fame at any time. Traditionally, the City of Chicago has displayed the Hall of Fame materials during induction periods, Pride and in October, Gay & Lesbian History Month. For more information, visit the organization’s web site chicagolgbthalloffame.org/ or its Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/groups/56108152083/.