Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame Virtual Induction Ceremony

  • headshot Dean RichardsWGN-TV

    headshot Dean RichardsWGN-TV

Updated 9/28/2020 12:11 PM

The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame, now entering its 30th year, announced today that it will hold a virtual induction ceremony for 2020 inductees on Tuesday, October 13, 2020 from 6-8 p.m. WGN-TV personality Dean Richards will host the event.

Viewers will be able to access the Facebook Live event via the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame's Page at The multi-media presentation will honor those being inducted this year.


This year's inductees include the following individuals, organizations, and businesses.

• John Ademola Adewoye, for his work helping LGBT refugees.

• Caprice Carthans, for her work with the transgender community.

• Raymond Crossman, the openly gay head of Adler University.

• Jay Paul Deratany, for his extensive work with LGBT youth, especially in the foster system and for his filmmaking.

• Ronald J. Ehemann, for his role as an activist and attorney.

• Denise Foy, for her work in fundraising and helping establish the LGBT Center on Halsted.

• Dalila Fridi, for her activism and advocacy and work establishing dialogue between the Muslim American and LGBT communities.

• Terry Gaskins, for her years documenting LGBT life through photojournalism.

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• Joel Drake Johnson, award-winning playwright and educator.

• Stephen Kulieke, for his long, barrier-shattering, career as a journalist.

• Matt Stuczynski, for his work with LGBT teachers and students.

• Michelle Zacarias, for facilitating social justice, anti-oppression, and LGBT movement work.

• The Legacy Project, a cultural and educational non-profit dedicated to researching and promoting the contributions made by LGBT people.

• Windy City Times, Chicago's premiere news source for the LGBT community.

• Women & Children First, Chicago's feminist bookstore celebrating more than 30 years as a welcoming place for the LGBT community.

The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame also recognizes the achievements of LGBT allies with a "Friend of the Community" Award. This year two individuals and one organization are being honored:


• Judy Baar Topinka, the Illinois Republication politician is being awarded posthumously for her long support of the LGBT community, even when others in her party would't.

• Brenetta Howell Barrett, who has long stood up to homophobia in her holistic approach to addressing issues that impact the west side of Chicago.

• National Museum of Mexican Art, for its LGBT inclusive stance when it comes to programming and displays and for providing a home to the city’s annual LGBT prom.

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 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 Kathy Caldwell co-chair of the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame. "After taking a couple of years to restructure, we are proud to have such a strong slate of inductees."

"We had originally planned to hold the induction ceremony in June, Pride Month," added Rick Karlin, co-chair. "When the pandemic struck, we planned for our usual ceremony in October, Gay and Lesbian History Month at the Chicago History Museum. Like most events, we've had to pivot to a virtual ceremony and I'm very pleased with the direction this is taking. Board member Jorge Valdivia has been working extremely hard on this and it promises to be very exciting."

The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame was the first city-sponsored hall of fame dedicated to LGBT people, organizations, businesses, and community 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 Emmanuel'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 from the City of Chicago.

The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame inducted new members, from a slate submitted by Chicago's LGBT community, in 2016 and 2017. At that point, the LGBT Hall of Fame decided to take time to restructure itself, selecting new board members and bringing on new volunteers, as well as re-establishing itself as a 501c3 not-for-profit organization.

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 afterwards, 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. Traditionally, the City of Chicago has displayed the Hall of Fame materials at the Harold Washington Library during induction periods, Pride and in October, Gay & Lesbian History Month.

For more information, visit the organization's web site or its Facebook page,

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