The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame, celebrating its 30th year, announced today that it will hold a scaled-back version of its annual induction ceremony for 2021 inductees on Wednesday, October 6, 2021, from 5:30-8 p.m. The event will be held at Sidetrack, 3349 N. Halsted, and is being sponsored by Sidetrack, J&L Catering, Rick Aguilar Photography, and Dalila Fridi and Elizabeth McNight. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot will speak and present the awards to the individual inductees. The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame will also present a virtual version of the awards presentation on October 28.
The event is by invitation only, a departure from previous ceremonies which were open to the public. “We were concerned about keeping the event to a manageable size both for health and budgetary reasons. We have not been able to do the normal fundraising we would normally do to underwrite such an event,” explained Hall of Fame co-chair, Rick Karlin.
“All attending must provide proof of vaccinations and masks are required,” added co-chair Kathy Caldwell. We are taking every effort possible to make certain that this is a safe event.”
This year’s inductees include the following individuals and organizations:
- Chicago Urban Pride Planning events and programming for Chicago’s African American LGBT community for more than twenty years.
- Ginni Clemmens (posthumous) One of the earliest openly queer recording artists and was an important part of Chicago’s folk music scene.
- Lisa Isadora Cruz An advocate for transgender rights among minority communities.
- Thomas Hunt Better known in his persona of Mz. Ruff N Stuff, he is a nightclub promoter, entertainer, and fundraiser for many community organizations.
- Wayne Johnson The winner of the Today Show’s national “Domestic Diva” contest and a contributor on local television shows.
- Otis Mack Comedian, promoter, host, and emcee extraordinaire and CEO, and founder of Heavy Diva Productions.
- Claudia Mosier A therapist and active member of Chicago’s LGBT community for the last 43 years.
- PRIDEChicago The management and planning team for the annual Pride parade for the past 47 years.
- Ralphi Rosario DJ, producer, and Grammy nominee, he has released several full-length albums and remixed tracks by many headlining artists.
- Betty Lark Ross A founding member and later co-chair for the Chicago chapter of Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Teachers’ Network (later renamed GLSEN.)
- Kirk Williamson A journalist who has covered Chicago nightlife for 11 years.
The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame also posthumously honored an ally, as a “Friend of the Community”
- Lana Hostetler (posthumous) One of the earliest allies in Chicago’s second wave of LGBT civil rights work in the 1980s, she co-founded Equality Illinois.
Earlier this year, the Friends of the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame called for the community to nominate LGBT individuals, businesses, organizations, and allies (Friend of the Community) who have made either contributions to the quality of life of Chicago’s LGBT community and/or of the city of Chicago. Those nominations were then vetted and voted on by a selection committee comprised of individual inductees to the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame.
“We are very excited to recognize the achievements of these individuals and organizations,” said Gary Chichester, board emeritus, “It’s been a challenging couple of years, we are proud to have such a strong slate of inductees.”
The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame is the first city-sponsored hall of fame dedicated to LGBT people, organizations, businesses, and communities 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 Emanuel’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 and support from the City of Chicago.
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 afterward, 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.