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Bill Greaves, LAGBAC’s 2012 Vanguard Award Honoree

By June 14, 2012February 8th, 2013No Comments


On Tuesday, April 24, 2012 the Chicago Bar Association hosted the 2012 Vanguard Awards at the Standard Club. LAGBAC honored William W. Greaves, the Former Liaison to the LGBT Communities at the City of Chicago. The Vanguard Awards honor members of the community who, through their efforts, have made the law and legal profession more accessible to and reflective of the whole, diverse community. LAGBAC Vice President, Nicole Bashor, gave Dr. Greaves a rousing introduction.Dr. Greaves then gave an interesting and humorous recount of his experiences and commitment to the LGBT community. Dr. Greaves was born and raised in Queenstown, Maryland. He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry and English literature from Bucknell University in 1973 and his doctorate in inorganic chemistry and journalism from Iowa State University in 1978. Dr. Greaves’s career has been a mix of the two disciplines, working first as a chemist for Standard Oil of Indiana and, following that, as the physical sciences editor at Science magazine in Washington D.C., where his tenure coincided with the growing recognition of AIDS as a world-wide epidemic. At that time, Science was the leading American journal covering the disease. Dr. Greaves was given editorial responsibility for the epidemiology of AIDS and, during his time at the magazine, gained recognition as one of the world’s experts on the transmission of HIV.

As Dr. Greaves saw his friends fall victim to AIDS, his desire to become an effective advocate for his community grew stronger. He joined DC Front Runners, a gay and lesbian running club devoted to raising funds for community causes in Washington. On his return to Chicago in 1988 he continued these activities with the affiliate group Frontrunners/Frontwalkers Chicago, eventually becoming that organization’s President.

In 1995, Dr. Greaves was invited to become a member of the City of Chicago’s Advisory Council on Gay and Lesbian Issues, where he began pursuing areas of policy development related to the integration of diverse groups and individuals into the fabric of city government and culture. In 2000, Mayor Richard M. Daley appointed Dr. Greaves to be the Council’s Director. He served in that capacity until January 2012, acting as the Council’s chief administrator and the Mayor’s primary liaison to Chicago’s LGBT communities.

During his tenure, Dr. Greaves shepherded the City’s Gender Identity ordinance to passage, broadening the scope of the Chicago Human Rights and Fair Housing Ordinances to include protections for gender identity and naming transgender individuals as members of a protected class. He also amended the City of Chicago Personnel Rules to be in accord with the City’s Human Rights Ordinance, and he co-wrote and edited the City’s LGBT nondiscrimination statement and policy model for homeless shelters and its policy statement on LGBT substance abuse. Dr. Greaves also administered the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, co-founded and directed the nation’s only annual, governmentsponsored military salute to LGBT veterans, and managed the official City ceremonies uniting 36 couples in Illinois’s first civil unions.

Because of his background, experience, and accomplishments, Dr. Greaves is recognized throughout the city as an effective instrument for the integration and coordination of diverse populations into the cohesive, mutually respectful whole that is Chicago.