Individual | Inducted 2021 

Kirk Williamson has tirelessly devoted the last two decades to informing and entertaining Chicago’s LGBT community through his work in the local queer press. He started in 2000, working for Gab Magazine. In 2001 he moved on to Windy City Times working his way up to art director.

His skilled eye is responsible for the clean look of many issues of both Windy City Times and its sister publication Nightspots, for which he had served as managing editor for 11 years. At Nightspots, he committed himself to covering the broad spectrum of LGBT nightlife paying attention to those locations individuals and events underrepresented in other outlets.

Kirk’s work included writing a popular events column, documenting the nightlife community with thousands of photos, laboring over creative layouts in years of Pride issues, helping to produce books on local and national LGBT history on subjects ranging from Chuck Renslow to Vernita Gray, Jim Flint, and Barack Obama, and helping to highlight the achievements of Chicago’s LGBT community.

Kirk branched out to producing the official guidebooks for many esteemed local organizations including International Mr. Leather, Illinois Gay Rodeo Association, The Legacy Project, Bear Pride, and PRIDEChicago, on which he worked very closely with Rich Pfeiffer. In addition to the above, Kirk served on the committee for fundraising events for Test Positive Aware Network.

Kirk is a perfect example of an individual with decades of work lifting up important queer institutions. It is work that is often not seen, and often not recognized, but is work that is the backbone of our community.

He started at Windy City Times in his 20s, embedded himself in this community to make sure diverse voices were represented, and now he serves as production manager at the Chicago Reader. Kirk’s new role allows him to make sure that LGBT people are not just represented and shaping the narrative within our community, but now he makes sure that a legacy media outlet also is inclusive.