Gay Old Chicago

Chicago’s long-awaited LGBT Center has opened in its permanent home at long last, 20 years after the AIDS epidemic redirected the focus of philanthropic and local government funding. On its roof, it bears a garden named after the mayor who has been such a resolute champion of LGBT rights and fought for the Center:

On Tuesday, the nomadic existence ended as Mayor Daley joined Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) and scores of community leaders at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted. It’s a $20 million safe haven for the gay and lesbian community.

Daley, who has emerged as a champion on gay and lesbian issues, got a hero’s welcome at the center, where the rooftop garden bears his name. He engineered $5.4 million in loans and subsidies for the Center on Halsted and pushed through domestic partner benefits for city employees. He appointed Tunney, Chicago’s first openly gay alderman, supports gay marriage, welcomed the 2006 Gay Games and has increased city support for AIDS funding.

The center has a gym, day care, counseling and cyber centers. Executive Director Robbin Burr predicted over 20,000 people would visit the center this year.

Tunney was moved to tears by what he called a “historic day.” He’s now pushing for a senior housing component with Daley’s blessing.

The rooftop garden is an especially lovely tribute, marrying as it does his passion for LGBT equality and his passion for the greening of Chicago.

I seriously cannot tell you how hard Mayor Daley can rock when he sets his mind to it. Many years ago, he set his mind to making Chicago LGBT friendly, and this Center is a culmination of a consistent and resolute support against which all politicians should be measured.

We’re very proud of the gay community in our city.—Mayor Richard Daley, July 2006

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13 Comments

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13 responses to “Gay Old Chicago

  1. Brynn

    The center has a gym, day care, counseling and cyber centers.

    OMG. You should see the LGBT centre in Dublin. No offense, becuase the staff totally rocks and they have done so much to accomodate TENI and fight for the advance of trans rights. But the building? It looks like it should be condemned, it needs so much renovation.

    I’m jealous.

  2. Jaclyn

    Congratulations Chicago!

  3. Awesome!

    What’s a cyber center?

  4. Nik E Poo

    What’s a cyber center?

    Not sure. Either a place to surf the internets … or possibly get bionic legs (that’d be way cool!).

  5. Jersey

    I guess our next weekend excursion will need to be to Chicago. Is it on Halstead St and when is thier pride weekend?

  6. Jersey

    I see it is on Halstead, should have scrolled up before I posted that question.

  7. I did not know this about Daley, not at all. Very impressive.

  8. Betsy

    History nerd that I am, whenever I hear the words “Mayor Daley,” I think about the *other* Mayor Daley, of 1968 Democratic Convention notoriety. It’s so ironic (but great) that his son has turned out to be so progressive, given his dad’s well-known antipathy toward long-haired hippie and activist types!

  9. Daley fucking rocks … he spoke at the opening and closing ceremonies of the Gay Games here last year, committed funds, has openly come out in favour of same-sex marriage, and has all but publicly told christian conservatives to get f*cked (in that wonderful Chicago way that promises consequences otherwise *smile*)

    I am really happy he has had the garden named after him (he also pushes green spaces, cycling, and green-issues in a big way – he has city subsidies to encourage green-roofs and other initiatives). He may be a corrupt bastard, but this is Chicago, and I’ve said this before, but he’s OUR corrupt bastard.

    Oh, and the Pride Parade here is the Sunday of the last weekend of the month in June (half a million plus people turn out for it, it’s bloody HUGE).

  10. History nerd that I am, whenever I hear the words “Mayor Daley,” I think about the *other* Mayor Daley, of 1968 Democratic Convention notoriety.

    Yeah it’s really hard to explain it to people. Sure, he destroys a big airport with a massive F-U to the aviation nuts – but at least he gave the land to real people who could use it.

    And sure, he allegedly had some alleged folks allegedly ‘tortured’ quote/unquote – but they were all gang leaders, murderers, rapists, and child molesters…if any of it actually happened, which I don’t really care if I were to find out or not.

    But he sure is an OK fella when it comes to folks in the neighborhoods and we have a lot of LGBT folks in the neighborhoods.

  11. Constant Comment

    Love Daley for all the above reasons–I didn’t even mind his plundering of Meigs Field–but I will never forgive him for the hideous monstrosity that is Soldier Field.

  12. Are they going to baptise this place “Poofter Palace” as they should?

    But no matter what they call it is a wonderful inititive and no matter what it cost or how much of that he slipped into his own pocket just the fact that who knows how many Fundi assholes will die of apoplexy when they hear about it makes it worth it. CONGRATS CHICAGO!

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