One of Chicago’s most dedicated LGBT advocates has died.
Vernita Gray died of cancer late Tuesday at the Chicago home where she married wife Pat Ewert last November in what was the state of Illinois’ first legally-recognized same-sex marriage, the Associated Press reports. She was 65.
The Windy City Times reports Gray was a Chicago native who came out as a lesbian shortly after she attended Woodstock in 1969. There, she had first learned of the Stonewall Riots.
“In 1969, I didn’t really have a clue about a career, what I wanted to do with my life. As an African-American woman coming out as a lesbian, I knew I wanted to be free and wanted to be afforded all the opportunities in our culture to be who I really was. I knew that I did not want to be a closeted lesbian,” Gray told the Times’ Tracy Baim as part of the Chicago Gay History project in 2007. “I knew that I wanted to be gay and wanted to enjoy my life with other gay people.”
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