Selected Highlights from the History of Queer to the Left

Summer and fall 2003.  Organized a campaign to get national LGBT organizations and activists to call on the governor of North Carolina to commute the death sentence of Eddie Hartman, a gay man whose sexuality was used by the state’s attorney to prejudice the jury throughout the trial.

Oct 2002.  Organized a campaign to get Chicago-area LGBT organizations and activists to sign a public letter to then-Gov. George Ryan, asking him to commute all death sentences in the state.

Summer 2002.  Organized to support the Circuit nightclub against residential developers and then-Alderman Bernie Hansen who hoped to force out the street’s nightlife.  The growing controversy about Hansen’s business connections and vision for the future of the neighborhood forced him out of office.

Fall 2001. Organized a town hall meeting, protests, participation in public meetings, and a letter-writing campaign to stop Ald. MaryAnn Smith from using city subsidies to develop high-end condos and a Borders bookstore (that threatened Women and Children First) in the old Golblatt’s Department Store site.  Working with COURAJ, we forced the inclusion of more affordable housing units in the project, and a $1 million subsidy to a nearby SRO.

Pride Parade 2001. Joined forces with Chicago Anti-Bashing Network (CABN) to protest State’s Attorney Dick Devine’s participation in the annual parade because he refused to investigate (much less prosecute) cases where Chicago cops were accused of gay bashing, even with Amnesty International calling for investigations by his office.  Devine’s gubernatorial aspirations were put on hold, and he has yet to return to the parade.

Spring 1999-present.  Organized with the Community of Uptown Residents for Affordability and Justice (COURAJ) to win the development of low-cost housing in the so-called Wilson Yard (next to Truman College), in opposition to gentrifiers wanting to create the next Lincoln Park.

April 1999.  Organized a town hall meeting at the Hot House with other local groups and New York activist Barbara Smith to discuss how to build a more inclusive, grassroots, progressive LGBT movement that worked in coalition with others supporting progressive social change.