Event—Public Programming

Bughouse: Out of the Closets and into the Streets

Join us for a virtual discussion about the origins of Chicago’s Pride Parade, its connection to Bughouse Square—right across from the Newberry—and the history of LGBTQ+ culture in Chicago during the 1970s.


This program will be held virtually on Zoom. Please register for free in advance here.

NOTE: You can also watch a live stream of the program on the Newberry Facebook page or YouTube channel.

Join us for a virtual discussion about the origins of Chicago’s Pride Parade, its connection to Bughouse Square—right across from the Newberry—and the history of LGBTQ+ culture in Chicago during the 1970s.

June 1970 was a turning point for the LGBTQ+ community in the US.

A year before, New York City police had stormed the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in Greenwich Village, inciting a series of protests by the city’s gay community. Over the course of the next year, gay and lesbian activists in large cities across the country planned marches to coincide with the Stonewall riots, scheduling them for the end of June. In Chicago, the march took place on June 27, 1970, commencing in Washington Park.

The park—known colloquially as “Bughouse Square”—symbolized "the closet" to Chicago’s burgeoning and newly energized gay activists. It was a space they wished to demarcate their rejection of, and to symbolically walk away from, as they began Chicago's first Pride Parade.

In this hour-long virtual program, activist Gary Chichester, journalist Tracy Baim, and scholar Timothy Stewart-Winter will discuss queer culture in 1970s Chicago and the importance of Bughouse Square in the emergence of LGBTQ+ activism in the city, as it progressed toward today's more inclusive, intersectional movement.

About the speakers:

Tracy Baim is co-publisher of the Chicago Reader and owner and co-founder of Windy City Times, a 36-year-old LGBTQ newspaper. A working journalist since 1984, she is also the author or co-author of 12 books on LGBTQ history (including Out and Proud in Chicago, Obama and the Gays, Gay Press, Gay Power, and biographies of Barbara Gittings, Vernita Gray, Chuck Renslow, and Jim Flint), as well as the producer of four films and the creator of the That’s So Gay! LGBTQ trivia game. Baim has been inducted into the National LGBT Journalists Association Hall of Fame, the Association of Women Journalists-Chicago Hall of Fame, and the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame. She has received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Society of Professional Journalists-Chicago.

Gary Chichester is a gay rights activist and the co-founder of the Chicago Gay Alliance, which created Chicago’s first gay and lesbian community center. His organizational involvements have included the Chicago Gay Health Project, the Gay Rights National Lobby, the Gay and Lesbian Coalition of Metropolitan Chicago, coordination in 1987 of gay and lesbian participation in Hands Across America, membership on local and national committees for the 1979 and 1987 National Marches on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights, the NAMES Project, the Gay and Lesbian Press Association, the National Association of People with AIDS, Strike Against AIDS, the Chicago Gay Speakers Bureau, and the City of Chicago’s Advisory Council on Gay and Lesbian Issues. He has also been involved in the annual Gay and Lesbian Pride Parade since being present at the first march in 1970.

Timothy Stewart-Winter is an associate professor of history at Rutgers University, where he studies sexuality, gender, and modern US politics. His first book, Queer Clout: Chicago and the Rise of Gay Politics (UPenn Press, 2016), was awarded the 2017 John Boswell Prize by the Committee on LGBT History. His current book project focuses on Walter Jenkins, a longtime aide to Lyndon B. Johnson who resigned from the White House staff in 1964 after being arrested on disorderly conduct charges. Stewart-Winter has published work in the Journal of American History, the Journal of Urban History, Gender & History, and the Journal of the History of Sexuality as well as the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Slate, and Dissent. He received his PhD in history from the University of Chicago and his BA in history from Swarthmore College.

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