Windy City Times celebrates 25 years

Tue. September 28, 2010 11:00 AM by News Staff

The Windy City Times has covered Chicago's LGBT community for 25 years

Chicago, IL - Windy City Times, Chicago's only remaining lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) newspaper, marks its 25th anniversary with a special issue hitting the streets Wednesday, Sept. 29.

Founded by Jeff McCourt, Bob Bearden, Drew Badanish, and Tracy Baim, Windy City Times first published in September 1985.

That same month, President Reagan publicly mentioned AIDS, a relatively unknown disease dramatically impacting the gay community, for the first time.

"I feel very mixed emotions about the timing of when I started in gay media," Baim, who is now publisher of Windy City Times, told "When I started, in 1984 [Baim spent one year at GayLife newspaper, from 1984-1985], there were fewer than 100 cases of AIDS in Chicago. The disease had just started to get a foothold at the time. I've likened the experience to starting in the middle of a war zone, and as a result of that, I feel fortunate to have met so many community pioneers before they succumbed to AIDS or cancer or other illnesses."

Twenty-five years later, Windy City Times remains a reflection - both highs and lows - of the LGBT community. At a time where printed publications nationwide are shuttering, Windy City Times survived the changing media landscape under the leadership of Baim.

"You really need to have a community commitment so that when the economy ebbs and flows, you're not as vulnerable," said Baim.

The Windy City Times became Chicago's only LGBT newsweekly in April when rival Chicago Free Press folded.

"We have hundreds of people to thank for their work on Windy City Times and other related gay media in Chicago," said Baim. "We also could not have done this without the support of our advertisers and our readers. We also have a wonderful team of investors who have allowed us to serve the community these 25 years."

For the publication's silver anniversary, Baim and staff plan a special edition that will feature a new design, as well as columns by writers who worked in gay media, and for Windy City Times, in the 1980s.

Joseph Erbentraut contributed to this report. Read his visit full interview with Tracy Baim on