Ann Adams & Lise Alschuler



1) Birthdates:

Ann: 1944
Lise: 1966

2) Birthplaces:

Ann: Altoona, Pennsylvania
Lise: Boston, Massachusetts

3) Date you first mark as getting together with your partner:

July 9, 2005

4) City/state where you live currently:

Chicago, Illinois (both)

5) Education:

Altoona Hospital School of Nursing/Loretto Heights College/University of Colorado Medical Center/University of Denver Law School

Brown University/Bastyr University Naturopathic Medical Degree

6) Careers

Ann: Nurse/attorney; retired co-founder of Independence Plus (home health agency), sold to partner in 2004

Lise: Naturopathic physician

7) Did you serve in the U.S. military?

No (both)

8) How do you describe your sexuality and your gender?

Lesbian/female (both)

9) Do you have children and/or grandchildren?

No (both)

10) If you are GLBT, please describe when you first "knew":

Ann: 1973, even though I was with a woman prior.

Lise: Age 13 or 14; came out at age 27.

11) Who did you first "come out" to and when?

Ann: I was with a woman in 1969; we both were nurses and knew homosexuality was still a psychological diagnosis so we never labeled. She left the relationship because her parents were pressuring her to get married and she did. I was in her wedding. In 1973 I realized I could not do the heterosexual thing any more; a friend asked me what I thought about homosexuals and I told her I had been with a woman and I was going to return to that lifestyle.

Lise: I came out to my fiancée in 1993 then came out to my family. They were very supportive, and the work environment is very open and supportive.

12) What troubles did you face as a GLBT person?

Ann: In 1977 I was involved with a woman who had children, and she separated from her husband and filed for a divorce. Her husband told her he would go for custody of the children if she stayed with a woman, but if she did not she could have custody. We were in court and then got a continuance. During the continuance someone leaked to the press; when we returned to the courthouse and walked off the elevator, the press was there (cameras and all) and remained until the decision was announced.

One day we picked up the paper and our pictures and case coverage were on the front page of the women's section. This is how I told my family. They were very supportive. My brother said he would tell my Dad. I then met with my administrator and he was okay, but other women at work that I knew to be gay avoided me.

Lise: I have experienced a supportive professional community and family support.

13) Did you have mentors in the Chicago GLBT community?

Ann: Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

Lise: I was exposed to Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and the Point Foundation Board.

14) Involvement in organizations (GLBT and/or mainstream):

Human Rights Campaign/HRC (key volunteer, board member, donor)
About Face Theatre (board member)
Point Foundation (director)
AFT (governor and donor)
Point Foundation (donor)
Center on Halsted (donor)
Howard Brown (donor)
Equality Illinois (donor)

Donor to Human Rights Campaign (HRC) and Point Foundation

15) What were the key issues faced in the GLBT community when you first came out?

Ann: In the 1970s, overt discrimination against LGBT people.

Lise: Equal rights.

16) What issues do you see as key in the GLBT community today?

Ann and Lise: Equal rights and equality, societal acceptance, and inclusion.

17) How have AIDS and/or other health issues impacted your life personally?

Ann lost some friends and worked with AIDS patients in the hospital and saw the discrimination they endured. She is a thriver of four years of breast cancer. Lise lost some friends to AIDS and has several colleagues and friends living with HIV. As a healthcare practitioner, she has treated lots of HIV+ individuals.

18) How would you describe the "diversity" within the Chicago GLBT community?

Both: The biggest divider is social economics. There is little racial integration.

19) If you consider yourself a "political" activist, how do you define this?

Ann: Political contributor.

Lise: Engaged in local and national process to increase awareness of various issues and to pass legislature to bring those issues forward.

20) Describe what you feel your personal legacy is to the Chicago GLBT community.

Ann: Philanthropist of time and money to the GLBT community. Leader in the healthcare field (prior to retirement).

Lise: Being supportive of Ann.

21) This project is also about "defining moments." Please discuss some of those in your life.

Ann: My partner (years ago) not getting custody of her children for the sole reason that she was a lesbian. The children requested to live with us and felt they were lucky because they had two mothers.

Another defining moment: I was misdiagnosed with a terminal illness and was dying because I was not getting the correct treatment. I had approximately three weeks left to live. It was amazing then when I was given the correct diagnosis and told that I was not going to die with the correct changes in treatment.

22) Additional comments and memories.

Lise admires Ann for her generosity of time, energy and resources to further the LGBT community's contribution to the betterment of society.

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.
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