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Honoring Henry Gerber, LGBT Activist and Leader

Oct 28, 2015
Speeches

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Representative Mike Quigley (IL-05) recognized LGBT activist and leader, Henry Gerber, on the House floor in honor of LGBT History Month.

Below is a video and transcript of the speech.

Mr. Speaker,

As LGBT History Month draws to a close, I rise today to recognize Chicago activist Henry Gerber, a man well ahead of his time.

Mr. Gerber founded the Society for Human Rights in 1924. It was the first chartered gay rights organization in the United States.

His home on Chicago’s north side, my district, served as the Society’s headquarters, and from there he published the first known gay-interest periodical in the U.S.

Unfortunately, his activism carried risks.

Less than a year after he founded the Society, police raided his home, arrested him, and confiscated his possessions.

He was put on trial three times. Although he was never convicted of a crime, he lost his life savings, his reputation, and his job.

Thankfully, our country has come a long way in the fight for equality, but we can all learn from Henry Gerber’s struggle for human rights in the face of overwhelming adversity.

Thank you and I yield back. 

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