"Out & Proud in Chicago" is the first television documentary to tell the history of Chicago's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) citizens. Its timeline spans from the Civil War through present day. This parallel history of the city tells a story of invisibility, oppression, devastation, revolution and triumph.
Chicago's role in the national history of the LGBT movement is often overlooked. Yet major milestones include the country's first chartered gay rights organization (1924), the pushback that brought down Anita Bryant's national campaign of homophobia, and the creation of the one of the country's premier gay and lesbian community centers, the $20 million state-of-the-art Center on Halsted. "Out & Proud in Chicago" highlights these accomplishments as well as the stories previously untold or limited to examination by academia. These include the story of Jenny Hodgers, a cross-dressing Civil War hero who lived the majority of her adult life as a Albert Cashier, a reexamination of the guarded personal life of social activist and Nobel-prize winner Jane Addams and her Boston marriage, and the life and work of Tony Jackson, an openly gay African-American ragtime pianist.
Most significantly, "Out & Proud In Chicago" includes the stories of 20 LGBT Chicagoans, from ages 30 to 80, including men, women and transgender people. Their journey, from awareness of their sexuality and gender identity, to overcoming the challenges of coming out, to becoming leaders is the real story of the documentary.
WTTW Channel 11 made a major commitment to the making and airing of the 90-minute documentary and also to the LGBT community. Now, under the umbrella "Out & Proud In Chicago Presents," WTTW is continuing its commitment to the LGBT community with new documentaries such as "Schoolboy to Showgirl: The Alexandra Billings Story."