Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Larry McKeon, first openly gay Illinois lawmaker, passes away

Former state Rep. Larry McKeon (right), the first openly gay member of the Illinois General Assembly, passed away yesterday. He was 63.

The former Army first lieutenant and former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department lieutenant was elected to the Assembly in 1996 from Chicago's North Side District 34 (now District 13). He was also openly HIV+.

Before his election to the Assembly, he served as the city's gay and lesbian liaison as Director of the Chicago Commission on Human Relations’ Advisory Council on Gay and Lesbian Issues.

After being renominated to the Assembly in 2006, he announced that he would not be a candidate for re-election because of deteriorating health. He was replaced as the Democratic nominee by Greg Harris, also openly gay and openly HIV+. Harris was elected in November 2006 and is seeking re-election this year.

The Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame has a profile of McKeon here.

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