Chicago, IL-(ENEWSPF)- And here they are. The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame, the only city-sanctioned LGBT Hall of Fame in the world, has announced its slate of 2023 inductees: 10 LGBT-identified individuals, one LGBT-identified organization, and one “Friend of the Community” (ally). The Hall of Fame announced the 2023 inductees at a press conference on July 31 at Sidetrack The Video Bar.
The 2023 Inductees
Individual 2023 Inductees
A Chicago icon who, along with colleague Ann Christophersen, founded Women & Children First Bookstore.
A key journalist and editor covering Chicago’s LGBTQ+ community for nearly 30 years. He spent almost two decades full-time at Windy City Times, most recently as editor-in-chief.
Jan Dee (Jan Dee Jewelry)
Known for her high-end jewelry designs and opened her first store in Chicago in the 1960s. During the 40+ years, she operated her store, she always donated merchandise to LGBT and AIDS organizations.
Was inspired to create E3 Radio, the only radio station in the country dedicated to playing queer music and reporting on queer news 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Her annual “Purple Tie Affair: Concert & Silent Auction” has donated over $10,000 to various organizations in the Chicagoland area.
Inducted posthumously, was an internationally renowned figure in classical music. She founded the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Chorus and led it for 37 years. In addition to her work as a conductor and chorus director, she was an airplane pilot, veteran, educator, activist, mentor, and advocate who broke barriers.
Was the first mental health professional involved with Gay Horizons around 1974. He eventually became executive director and led the agency from operating out of a single basement room to growing into one of the largest LGBT social service agencies in the country, which eventually became the Center on Halsted.
Has planned some of Chicago’s most notable philanthropic, corporate, and civic events, helping raise hundreds of millions of dollars in support of LGBT organizations such as Equality Illinois, AIDS Foundation Chicago, Howard Brown Health, PFLAG, the Center on Halsted, Chicago House, the Human Rights Campaign, and the 2006 Gay Games.
Col. Jennifer Pritzker
An outspoken advocate for LBGTQ+ causes. As a veteran, she was featured in a 2019 Vanity Fair article, speaking out against the transgender military ban and other anti-LGBTQ+ policies. She has written multiple op-eds and has spoken to the press as a reserve officer about the dangers of LGBT discrimination. Her TAWANI Foundation supports universities and organizations dedicated to LGBTQ research and advocacy.
Terence Alan Smith, aka Joan Jett Blakk
One of the first drag queens to step off the stage and enter the world of politics and one of the founders of the Chicago chapter of Queer Nation. In 1990 she challenged Richard M. Daley for Mayor of Chicago. She also ran for President with the campaign slogan, “LICK BUSH in ’92,” gaining national attention.
Avery R. Young
The first ever out Black gay male Chicago Poet Laureate. Avery is an award-winning teaching artist who is an Arts and Public Life Artist-In-Residence at the University of Chicago. He has been instrumental in Chicago’s poetry scene and a teaching artist for Young Chicago Authors and various not-for-profits.
Friend of the Community
Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Gender Development Program
The first and largest multidisciplinary program in the Midwest, provides a full range of medical, behavioral health, and social support services to gender-diverse children, transgender adolescents, and other patient-families navigating issues related to gender and gender development.
In its 10th year is the world’s oldest and largest Black LGBTQ+-focused arts organization. What began as a conversation about the lack of exposure to films that explore the Black LGBTQ experience birthed the Black Alphabet Film Festival, Chicago’s first Black LGBTQ film festival, and has expanded to Black Alphabet’s new mission: to promote social equity awareness and education in all aspects of life for the Black LGBTQ+ community using media and the creative arts to foster healthy and whole lifestyles within the Black LGBTQ+ community.
This year’s Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be on Tuesday, Oct. 3, at the Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St., at 6 p.m. It is open to the public.
The Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame is the only city-sanctioned LGBT Hall of Fame in the world. Founded in 1991 to honor Chicago’s people and entities, the community nominates those who have significantly contributed to the quality of life or well-being of the LGBT community and the city of Chicago. The first Chicago Gay & Lesbian Hall of Fame ceremony occurred during Pride Week 1991. That first event was at Chicago City Hall. Then-mayor Richard M. Daley hosted the ceremony. Afterward, the city displayed photos of the inductees 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 at https://chicagolgbthalloffame.org. Traditionally, the City of Chicago has displayed the Hall of Fame materials during induction periods, Pride, and in October for Gay & Lesbian History Month.