RENEE C. HANOVER

INDIVIDUAL | Inducted 1991 [Now Deceased]

A well-known attorney who often provided her services pro bono, she has long been a high-visibility advocate for lesbian and gay rights. She has worked for civil rights legislation of all kinds and has vigorously opposed all forms of discrimination in the law and in the community. In 2000, she moved to Los Angeles, where she now lives at age 77.

A retired attorney, Renee Hanover‘s entire life has involved a blend of skills and causes. As an unflagging advocate for the rights and welfare of lesbians and gay males, she has used and taught us lessons derived from a history of labor organizing, leftist politics, feminism, cultural self affirmation, brotherhood, advocacy of racial justice, and being a lawyer. Her most important contributions have consisted of bringing an analytical approach, combined with passionate commitment, whenever issues affecting gay and lesbian persons were under discussion.

She has also been an invaluable organizer of efforts to address specific community problems. Without employing mere rhetoric, she has always pointed out connections between lesbian or gay issues and other social phenomena, and, by bridging a practice and theory gap between lesbian and gay activism and other social change movements, she has been a living argument against ghettoization.

Hanover has embodied gay and lesbian pride and visibility every time she appeared in court or negotiated on behalf of a gay or lesbian client, and every time she testified or lobbied knowledgeably in policy making settings. All this advocacy was unpaid, and even her law practice was often pro-bono. Her ability to motivate others and to size them up accurately has been of great aid to her own and others’ advocacy efforts.

Hanover’s 40 years of involvement in Chicago’s gay and lesbian and wider communities read like a phone book of activism the list of affiliations requires seven single-spaced pages. Among her organizational affiliations have been: ACTUP/Chicago, Alliance to End Repression, American Civil Liberties Union, American Friends Service Committee, Aspira, Beckman House, Chicago Area Draft Resisters, Chicago Area Military Project, Chicago Committee on Gay People and the Law, Chicago Committee to Defend the Bill of Rights, Chicago Gay Alliance, Chicago Gay Liberation Front, Chicago House, Chicago Lesbians Emerging Against Racism, Chicago Lawyers Committee to End the War in Vietnam, Chicago Legal Defense Committee, Chicago Lesbian Liberation, Chicago Lesbian/Women’s Community Cancer Health Project, Chicago Women Against Rape, Chicago Women in Broadcasting, Chicago Women’s Liberation Union, Citizens’ Committee for Gay Rights, Daughters of Bilitis, Feminist Writers Guild, Frank M. Rodde Memorial Building Fund, Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Metropolitan Chicago, Gray Panthers, Havurat Achayot, Illinois Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Independent Voters of Illinois, Jane Addams Center Senior Caucus, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, Latino Institute, Legacy, Lesbians in the Law, Mattachine Midwest, Midwest Women’s Legal Group, NAMES Project, National Coalition of Jewish Women, National Lawyers Guild, National Women’s Political Caucus, Radical Lesbians, SAGE (Senior Action in a Gay Environment), Southside Rape Action Project, Tavern Guild of Chicago, United Auto Workers, Voters for Peace, White Crane Senior Health Center, WICCA (Women in Crisis Can Act), Women Employed, Women for Women, The Women’s Center, and the YWCA.

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