We’re celebrating Pride all month long by spotlighting LGBTQI artists, activists, organizers, and educators who embodied the GOTR value “Standing Up for Ourselves and Others” to build Chicago. #builtwithpride will feature their stories alongside resources to help you celebrate their work and Chicago’s LGBTQI community. Follow along with us all through June!
We’re kicking off our #builtwithpride series with legendary Chicagoan Lorraine Hansberry. She was the first Black woman to have a play performed on Broadway, and at age 29, she was the first Black dramatist, the fifth woman, and the youngest playwright to win the New York Drama Critics’ Circle award. Her best known work, the play A Raisin in the Sun (1959), highlights the lives of Black Americans living under racial segregation in Chicago, based on her family and community’s experiences in Chicago’s South Side.
Hansberry's family struggled against segregation, and her father challenged a racially restrictive covenant in the 1940 US Supreme Court case Hansberry v. Lee. The restrictive covenant barred Black people from purchasing or leasing land in the Washington Park Subdivision of Chicago's Woodlawn neighborhood.
In addition to featuring Black characters and stories in her work, she include gay characters. She began identifying as a lesbian in the 1950s, and in 1957, she became a member of The Daughters of Bilitis, the first lesbian rights group in the United States. Hansberry frequently wrote to DOB’s publication “The Ladder,” advocating for intersectionality within the gay community and broader society.
To learn more about her life and works, check out the resources below.
- Visit Hansberry’s childhood home in Woodlawn (6140 S. Rhodes) and her former Washington Park residence (5936 S. King Drive)
Cofounders of Amigas Latinas: Mona Noriega and Evette Cardona
In 1995, Chicago duo Mona Noriega and Evette Cardona started Amigas Latinas as a monthly discussion group for Latina lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning women in Chicagoland. The group hosted monthly brunches, where they discussed everything from coming out and raising a family to racism and legal issues.
Cardona said, “The monthly brunches, for a lot of women, and for me, it was the first space I was in where I didn’t have to leave my Latina identity at the door, and I didn’t have to leave my queer identity.”
In addition to creating a safe space for queer Latinas to gather and share their experiences, Amigas Latinas worked to push legislators, funders, and nonprofits to recognize the intersections of culture, language, gender, race, and sexual orientation faced by their community.
Until 2015, the volunteer-run group served the LBTQ Latina community through monthly discussion groups, support groups, workshops, educational training, public programs, and events.
Although the group is no longer active, Noriega and Cardona continue to impact Chicago, serving on the Illinois Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes and as Vice President of Programs of Polk Bros. Foundation, respectively.
Check out the resources below to learn more about Amigas Latinas and its founders, along with LGBTQIA Latino culture in Chicago.
Lorrainne Sade Baskerville
Lorrainne Sade Baskerville, a Black trans woman, has embodied the Girls on the Run value of Standing Up for Ourselves and Others since the 1980s by amplifying and addressing trans issues.
In 1995, she founded transGenesis, Chicago’s first trans-run, trans-serving social agency. She saw the need in the community, and in a “Windy City Times" article, she said, "I think it is extremely important that trans youth and other trans people find positive trans role models. They need to see themselves reflected in the staff of a counseling center or a shelter.”
She brought that vision to life, and until 2003, the agency worked to address Chicago's transgender community’s concerns, including gender identity, HIV/AIDS, and mental health.
Beyond founding transGenesis, Baskerville served on the board of Test Positive Aware Network (TPAN), in the Chicago HIV Prevention Planning Group (HPPG), and in the Chicago Police Department’s 23d District Gay and Lesbian Advisory Group.
Her work still lives on in Chicago through her continued advocacy, her book “One Trans Woman’s Spiritual Journey,” and in other trans-led organizations in Chicago. Learn more about her life and how to get involved in Chicago's trans community below.
Donate to or get involved with the following Chicago-based, trans-focused organizations: