JON-HENRI DAMSKI

INDIVIDUAL | Inducted 1991 [Now Deceased]

He was a columnist for ‘GayLife’, ‘Gay Chicago Magazine’, ‘Windy City Times’, and ultimately ‘Nightlines’ and ‘Outlines’. His lobbying efforts were important to the passage of the Chicago human rights ordinance in 1989 and the hate crimes ordinance in 1990. Born in 1937, he died of melanoma complications in 1997.

Jon Henri-Damski has been referred to as the “gay Studs Terkel.”

A native of Seattle, Damski earned a Ph.D. at the University of Washington and later taught Latin and Roman history at Bryn Mawr College. Since 1977, he has been a contributor to GayLife, Gay Chicago Magazine, and the Windy City Times; Damski has penned over 700 articles chronicling gay and lesbian life in Chicago.

He also teaches adult education, with a focus on current events.

As a member of the “Gang of Four,” Damski’s lobbying efforts were critical to the passage of the Chicago human rights ordinance in 1989 and the city hate crimes bill in 1990.

Damski keeps his finger on the pulse of the community; he knows the powerful players, as well as the little people. From the playrooms of the Bijou to the antechambers of City Hall, his colorful neckties and his Cubs cap are familiar trademarks. Damski captures the sights, the sounds, the style, and the spirit of the gay and lesbian community.

Back