Gay officers out of closet thanks to him
Posted on May 19, 2008
Filed Under Gay News Blog
When Larry McKeon died this week, shortly after a violent stroke, he was memorialized as Illinois’ first openly gay legislator. I remember him for something else.
The night I met McKeon is hard to imagine now. It was a Wednesday in 1992. Men and women, black and white, middle-aged and young, filed into an upstairs banquet room of an Ann Sather restaurant on Belmont Avenue. Twenty were expected. Eighty turned out.
A TV camera crew came too, eager to film. The group said no way.
“I could lose my job,” said a man in a business suit. Chicago had never held a meeting like this, for gays and lesbians interested in becoming cops, and for an hour and a half, bleached by ceiling lights, they asked questions. Two officers, among the few on the force willing to say they were gay, answered.
Was the department planning to form a special gay unit? No. Did the department intend to set gay quotas? No. Was there a space on the application for sexual orientation? No.
Leaning against a wall, watching, was the man who’d organized the meeting, Larry McKeon. Gay officers out of closet thanks to him
Chicago Tribune, United States -
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