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Inside Story
Lois Bates, Trans-Activist, Dies PDF Print
Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lois Bates in 2010.            Photo courtesy of Hal Baim/Windy City Times and

Lois Bates, a longtime transgender activist in Chicago, died today.

Bates was the transgender health manager at the Howard Brown Health Center. Over the years, in addition to being an outspoken HIV activist, she was also a Navy sailor, a cosmetologist, a postal worker and a security guard. But she'll likely be most remembered for her trans-advocacy work.

"(Lois) was really quite amazing. She articulated her perspective on trans issues and what we as a community should do to address those issues in a way that could not be ignored," said Keith Green, director of federal affairs with the AIDS Foundation of Chicago. "She inspired me to be bold and brave and stand up for what I believe is right, even if it goes against the grain."

"She also cautioned me against always compromising for the sake of the greater good," Green said. "Time and time again, LGBT folks get left behind as a result."

Green interviewed Bates for a 2008 profile story for Positively Aware magazine (before he worked for AFC).

Jim Pickett, AFC's director of prevention policy and gay men's health, said his contact with Bates had been limited. But he was nonetheless impressed by her work.

"I did not have the opportunity to work directly with Lois very much over the years. But that didn't impede my incredible respect and admiration for her and her work," Pickett said. "Her loss hurts."

Check out the Windy City Times story on Bates for more official details as they emerge.


About Inside Story

Do you ever feel there are critical advances in HIV/AIDS prevention that aren't being properly covered in the mainstream media? Or that there are complex HIV/AIDS-related healthcare and funding issues not being clearly explained? Or that there are powerful HIV/AIDS stories here in Chicago just waiting for someone to tell them?
We feel that way, too!

At the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC), we’re committed to changing the story of HIV/AIDS. Inside Story aims to take you inside that story, to give you an intimate look at how AFC, and other Chicago and national organizations, are fighting HIV/AIDS through medical, housing and support services; cutting-edge research into prevention and treatment methods; and advocacy for stronger HIV-AIDS public policy from legislators.

If you have questions or blog ideas, please contact Brian Solem, Communications Manager and Staff Writer, at


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