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Chicago Gay And Lesbian Hall Of Fame Names 12 New Inductees

Photo Credit: Thinkstock.com

Photo Credit: Thinkstock.com

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CHICAGO (CBS)The Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame has announced 12 people and three organizations that will become the newest inductees this November.

The Chicago Phoenix reports the nominees were submitted by the public and reviewed by a panel composed of former inductees. The names were released Friday by the non-profit Friends organization, which took over operations of the Hall this year in cooperation with the Chicago Commission on Human Relations.

The inductees this year include:

• Lois Bates, a longtime transgender activist and manager at the Howard Brown Health Center, where published reports say she created transgender groups for both youth and adults and worked on behalf of HIV prevention. Bates died last November at the age of 41, and is being honored for her 14 years as an advocate for transgender and other LGBT youth, the Tribune RedEye reported.

• St. Sukie de la Croix, 60, a journalist, columnist and author who is known as one of the foremost experts on the history of gay Chicago. A native of Great Britain, de la Croix he has written for several Chicago publications – including the Windy City Times and the old Free Press and Gay Chicago – since moving to the U.S. De la Croix has also acted as a tour guide on gay Chicago history, writes the “Queer Street” blog on the Tribune’s Chicago Now site, and recently published the book Chicago Whispers: A history of LGBT Chicago Before Stonewall. He is being honored for his 25 years of commentary and research on gay Chicago, the RedEye reported.

• Sanford E. Gaylord, 47, an actor who has been seen onstage in numerous productions in Chicago, and co-starred in the 2001 TV drama “Kevin’s Room” about the lives and struggles of five African-American gay men. Gaylord is also the founder of A Real Read, an African-American LGBT performance ensemble, which was inducted into the Hall of Fame five years ago. He is being honored for his 17 years as an actor, HIV/AIDS activist and creative person, the RedEye reported.

• William W. Greaves, 61, the longtime director of the City of Chicago Advisory Council on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues. He joined the council in 1995 and became director five years later, serving in that capacity until Mayor Rahm Emanuel revamped the city’s advisory councils at the beginning of this year. He is being honored for his work as an political activist and editor focusing on HIV/AIDS, according to the RedEye.

• Keith Green, 35, a founding member of the Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus and an HIV treatment and prevention advocate. Green was appointed the director of federal affairs at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago last year. He is being honored for a decade of work fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic among African-American gay and bisexual men, the RedEye reported.

• Mark Ishaug, 48, president and chief executive officer of AIDS United. Ishaug joined the advocacy organization last year, after 13 years as president and chief executive officer as the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, and is being honored for his work as an activist and social service administrator, the RedEye reported.

• Bill Pry, 64, the co-owner of Skokie-based BBJ Linen, as well as a philanthropist and advocate. He is being honored for his 25 years of community service, the RedEye reported.

• Chuck Rodocker, 63, the owner of the Touché leather bar, in operation since 1977 and located for the past several years at 6412 N. Clark St. in Rogers Park.

• Heather C. Sawyer, 48, a civil rights attorney who has fought for gay rights since the early 1990s. She served for about 10 years with the gay civil rights firm Lambda Legal in Chicago, until moving to Washington, D.C. to serve as the senior counsel for the U.S. House Committee on the Judiciary in 2007. She is being honored for her work in both capacities, the RedEye reported.

ΠHoney West, 51, a well-known Chicago cabaret singer and entertainer who has become known for integrating her transgender identity into her performance, the RedEye reported. She is being honored for her more than 25 years before audiences.

The organizations being honored include the Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus – an advocacy group dedicated to bridging gaps between traditional and nontraditional health care providers serving African-American gay men; Chi-Town Squares, the LGBT square dance group that is seen annually in the Gay Pride Parade; and Proud to Run Chicago, which organizes races and rallies during Pride Week in June.

Cook County Clerk and former alderman and interim Mayor David Orr, and Chicago Sun-Times columnist and former Chicago Reporter editor Laura Washington, are also being honored as friends of the community.

The Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame was founded in 1991, with a mission of making Chicagoans and people around the world aware the contributions of the city’s LGBT community. Late newspaper columnist Jon-Henri Damski, pioneering gay businessman Chuck Renslow, the Howard Brown Health Center, and Gay Chicago — then known as Gay Chicago Magazine — were among the first inductees.

The new inductees will be honored in a ceremony on Nov. 12 at the Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St.