Detectives of the Chicago Police Department's Bomb and Arson Unit determined the origin of the September 2, 1981 fire by observing burn patterns and gasoline in the dance floor area of a popular black gay male disco, the Ritz.
This Month in Gay History
Out and Proud in Chicago: An Overview of the City's Gay Movement, edited by Tracy Baim (Agate/Surrey, 224 pages, $30) is available at Chicago-area bookstores, including Women and Children First, plus online thru WomenandChildrenFirst.com and Amazon.com.
Link: Book Index
To search the index document:
PC: Ctrl+F MAC: Cmd+F
Welcome to the ChicagoGayHistory.org Web site, a project created by Tracy Baim. This site launched in September 2008. Under the BIOGRAPHIES button there are more than 270 videos edited and posted to this site. We will add soon tens of thousands of photos, articles, surveys, transcriptions, and more. Sign up for our newsletter and you will receive updates about new parts of the site. See "HOW TO" section for how to use this site.
NOTE: Oral histories are difficult to rely on for the historical record. We urge people using this site not to rely on any one person's memories to document our movement. Multiple sources are always the best way to research our history.
A companion book to this project is available. Titled Out and Proud in Chicago: An Overview of the City's Gay Community, the book is edited by Tracy Baim and features the contributions of more than 20 prominent historians and journalists. It is published by Surrey Books, an Agate imprint, and is hard cover, 224 pages, 4-color, with nearly 400 photos.
There are also two other books out further exploring Chicago's LGBT community, co-written by Tracy Baim and Owen Keehnen -- Leatherman: The Legend of Chuck Renslow, and Jim Flint: The Boy From Peoria. Both on Amazon.
Chicago's gay community has contributed in many ways to the national and international fight for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights. However, those contributions have often been overlooked in documentations of the movement, and this new Chicago Gay History Project seeks to provide a comprehensive overview of those many important people, events, and organizations who helped the Windy City become a beacon of gay progress in the latter part of the 20th Century. From the anti-gay police raids and harassment of earlier decades, Chicago has risen to become one of the most progressive cities in the world, with legal protections, a city-designated neighborhood, a major community center, the hosting of the Gay Games in 2006, and a city-sponsored Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame. Illinois was the first state to remove its sodomy law, and the first gay-rights group in the U.S. started in Chicago. While The Society of Human Rights in the 1920s was short-lived (due to police intervention), the visionary who started that group, Henry Gerber, was among the many Chicagoans who were at the vanguard of the movement for gay equality. From Jane Addams to Lorraine Hansberry, Marie J. Kuda to William Kelley, Chuck Renslow to Vernita Gray, this projects takes an extensive look back, so that we may learn for a better future.
The Chicago Gay History Project will add to the original scholarship documenting our city's key role in the gay movement. Areas of focus include politics, the law, bars, culture, sports, academia, media, and much more. There are hundreds of original video interviews included, plus tens of thousands of articles, photos, and other archival material in this unique project. We include non-gays who contributed to the progress for gay rights, and we also provide extensive resources for additional information.
Come tour through Chicago's rich gay history of the past 100+ years ... we will continue to add new materials and interviews, to make this a living, breathing history of this community.
Out and Proud in Chicago:
An Overview of the City's Gay Community, the book is edited by Tracy Baim and features the contributions of more than 20 prominent historians and journalists. It is published by Surrey Books, an Agate imprint, and is hard cover, 224 pages, 4-color, with nearly 400 photos. Link: Book Index
Click Here to Purchase Book.