Ann Adams



1) Birthdate:


2) Birthplace:

Altoona, Pennsylvania

3) Date you first mark as getting together with your partner Lise Alschuler:

July 9, 2005

4) City/state where you live currently:

Chicago, Illinois

5) Education:

Altoona Hospital School of Nursing/Loretto Heights College/University of Colorado Medical Center/University of Denver Law School

6) Career:

Nurse/attorney; retired co-founder of Independence Plus (home health agency), sold to partner in 2004

7) Did you serve in the U.S. military?


8) How do you describe your sexuality and your gender?


9) Do you have children and/or grandchildren?


10) If you are GLBT, please describe when you first "knew":

1973, even though I was with a woman prior.

11) Who did you first "come out" to and when?

I was with a woman in 1969; we both were nurses and knew homosexuality was still a psychological diagnosis so we never labeled. She left the relationship because her parents were pressuring her to get married and she did. I was in her wedding.

In 1973 I realized I could not do the heterosexual thing any more; a friend asked me what I thought about homosexuals and I told her I had been with a woman and I was going to return to that lifestyle.

12) What troubles did you face as a GLBT person?

In 1977 I was involved with a woman who had children, and she separated from her husband and filed for a divorce. Her husband told her he would go for custody of the children if she stayed with a woman, but if she did not she could have custody. We were in court and then got a continuance.

During the continuance someone leaked to the press; when we returned to the courthouse and walked off the elevator, the press was there (cameras and all) and remained until the decision was announced. One day we picked up the paper and our pictures and case coverage were on the front page of the women's section. This is how I told my family. They were very supportive. My brother said he would tell my Dad. I then met with my administrator and he was okay, but other women at work that I knew to be gay avoided me.

13) Did you have mentors in the Chicago GLBT community?

Human Rights Campaign (HRC).

14) Involvement in organizations (GLBT and/or mainstream):

Human Rights Campaign/HRC (key volunteer, board member, donor)
About Face Theatre (board member)
Point Foundation (director)
AFT (governor and donor)
Point Foundation (donor)
Center on Halsted (donor)
Howard Brown (donor)
Equality Illinois (donor)

15) What were the key issues faced in the GLBT community when you first came out?

In the 1970s, overt discrimination against LGBT people.

16) What issues do you see as key in the GLBT community today?

Equal rights and equality, societal acceptance, and inclusion.

17) How have AIDS and/or other health issues impacted your life personally?

I lost some friends and worked with AIDS patients in the hospital and saw the discrimination they endured. I am a thriver of four years of breast cancer.

18) How would you describe the "diversity" within the Chicago GLBT community?

The biggest divider is social economics. There is little racial integration.

19) If you consider yourself a "political" activist, how do you define this?

Political contributor.

20) Describe what you feel your personal legacy is to the Chicago GLBT community.

Philanthropist of time and money to the GLBT community. Leader in the healthcare field (prior to retirement).

21) This project is also about "defining moments." Please discuss some of those in your life.

My partner (years ago) not getting custody of her children for the sole reason that she was a lesbian. The children requested to live with us and felt they were lucky because they had two mothers.

Another defining moment: I was misdiagnosed with a terminal illness and was dying because I was not getting the correct treatment. I had approximately three weeks left to live. It was amazing then when I was given the correct diagnosis and told that I was not going to die with the correct changes in treatment.

Out and Proud in Chicago: An Overview of the City's Gay Community, the book is edited by Tracy Baim and features the contributions of more than 20 prominent historians and journalists. It is published by Surrey Books, an Agate imprint, and is hard cover, 224 pages, 4-color, with nearly 400 photos.
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