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WTTW Press Room

For Immediate Release

WTTW11 Announces New Documentary Production Out & Proud In Chicago To Debut In June, 2008

Chicago, IL – Known for creating acclaimed original documentaries that explore Chicago's character, from its architecture to its immigrant groups, WTTW11 has begun production on a new special profiling the history of our city's Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual and Transgender community. Out & Proud In Chicago is currently in production and will premiere in June, 2008.

Out & Proud In Chicago profiles the famous and the unsung, those who chose paths of activism and those who chose to live everyday lives with extraordinary dignity. This is the story of one city, one community, and one human family.

"We are seeking to provide a historical perspective for Chicago's LGBT community, moving from 19th century examples of same-sex loving people, many of whom were accepted, to the growth of the earliest gay neighborhoods," says co-producer Daniel Andries. "We continue through periods of legal harassment, medical misunderstanding and religious intolerance to the success of lesbians and gays fighting for greater human rights. It is the story of how our city came to be one of the most LGBT-friendly places in the world."

Spanning the city's history Out & Proud In Chicago tells the story of this vast and diverse community through historical record, personal writings and recollection. "We're working with voices and history, looking to understand and share the stories of those whose courage and sense of personal strength helped shape and change an entire society's concept of what it means to be a fully respected, fully accepted member of the broader human family," offers co-producer Alexandra Silets. "It is our goal to create a work that will illuminate, inform and entertain."

Some of the stories and individuals profiled in Out & Proud In Chicago include:

• Jane Addams and Mary Rozet Smith – a lifelong couple who together, through their work at social settlement Hull-House (founded 1889), helped improve life for thousands of Chicago's immigrant working poor.

• Danny Sotomayor – the actor and visual artist who grew up in poverty in Humboldt Park, became was a outspoken member of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power (ACT/UP), and died of AIDS shortly before his partner Scott McPherson, author of the play Marvin's Room.

• Tony Jackson – the influential African American pianist, singer and composer who lived an openly gay life during the Ragtime era, performing in the city's Southside clubs and dance halls.

• Margaret Anderson and Jane Heap – an openly Lesbian couple whose influential publication, The Little Review, brought the world the writings of Sherwood Anderson, T.S. Eliot, Ben Hecht, Ernest Hemingway, and Emma Goldman.

• Valerie Taylor – Lesbian author, activist, and divorced mother of three boys, her pulp fiction titles are praised their honest portrayals of Lesbian life.

• Jim Flint – owner of the Baton Show Lounge, whose experience with police raids and harassment lead him to organize protests, run for public office, and contribute significantly to the ongoing efforts to bring equality to LGBT people in the workplace.

"We hope that Out & Proud In Chicago will tell the story of a unique community, working with the overlying concept that each and every individual contributes to the fabric of our collective culture," continues co-producer Andries.

The June debut of Out & Proud In Chicago marks the beginning of a multi-platform initiative for WTTW11 and its sister stations WTTWDigital, the 24-hour Spanish language public television station V-me, and Create. The Out & Proud effort itself is a new and long term commitment to featuring programming and producing original content of interest to and designed for both the LGBT community and all of WTTW's viewing audience.

Individuals and corporations are welcome to join those who have already committed funding to help support the production expenses for Out & Proud In Chicago. More information about contributing to the production fund is available by calling 773-509-5535.

Out & Proud In Chicago is an original production of WTTW11, the nation's most-watched public television station. Co-producers are Daniel Andries and Alexandra Silets. Executive Producers are Jerry Liwanag and VJ McAleer. Special consultant is Tracy Baim of the Windy City Media Group. Produced in partnership with the Chicago History Museum.

More information about Out & Proud In Chicago and all of WTTW's programming is available at

WTTW11 Contact
Holly H. Gilson
Director, Corporate Communication
(773) 509-5424

WTTW11 Contact
Julia Maish
(773) 509-5551

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