Founder Jay Paul Deratany Given Pride Recognition Award

One of our founders, Jay Paul Deratany, was awarded the Pride Recognition Award by the Cook County State’s Attorney Office at their 13th annual Pride Recognition ceremony. 

The Pride Recognition Awards honor the accomplishments of outstanding LGBT community groups and leaders, attorneys, and judges. 

Candidates for the Pride Recognition Awards must be Cook County residents who demonstrate the following criteria:

Graphic of criteria for receiving award.

Mr. Deratany’s extensive work advocating and advancing the LGBT+ community began in his early days as a lawyer. During that time, the United States was deep in the midst of the AIDS crisis. Mr. Deratany volunteered at the AIDS Legal Society, visiting hospitals to provide pro bono legal services for those dying of AIDS. He has also volunteered with NEON Street, which shelters homeless LGBT youth. Additionally, Mr. Deratany has served on the board of several organizations advocating for LGBT youth rights, including Howard Brown Health, Chicago House, Perspectives Charter Schools, Community Support Services, and the Family Equality Council, which advocates on behalf of LGBT families fighting against discrimination in adoption and fostering, and the Human Rights Watch, which provides support for international LGBT individuals fighting for their lives in countries that have the death penalty for the LGBT individuals.

Quote graphic stating, "Abused youth who come forward do so out of courage, not because of any fleeting desire for self-gain. No abused kid would sign themselves up to have the most painful moments of their lives publicly dissected 
just for a quick cash grab, and I wanted to empathetically demonstrate that point to get people to set aside their own assumptions why kids 

His LGBT+ advocacy also continues through his creative work as the playwright of Haram! Iran! which explored the lives of two young men who were put to death for their homosexual encounter, and as the writer and co-lyricist of The Civility of Albert Cashier, a musical that recounts the true-life story of Albert Cashier, a transgender soldier who served in the Union Army during the American Civil War.

Cover image of theatrical debut: Haran Iran.
Image of theatrical piece: The Civility of Albert Cashier

Mr. Deratany has received multiple honors for his work in the LGBT community; in 2015, he received the Spirit Award from Chicago House for his work helping to establish the Trans-Life Center for trans individuals and their families, and received the 2017-2020 Award of Excellence from Lawyers of Distinction, voted among the Top LGBT executives by both Chicago Magazine and Crain’s Chicago Business. He was also inducted into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame in 2020 for his work with the AIDS Legal Society and the LGBT youth shelter Neon Street, his legal advocacy for people with disabilities,  and his assistance establishing the Trans Life Center

We congratulate Mr. Deratany on this extraordinary honor.

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