Today’s Love Goes to Civil Rights Lawyer Renee Hanover

The single mother of three worked her way through college and law school to become the people's lawyer.

By Jorge Rivas Jan 20, 2011

Veteran lesbian activist Renee Hanover passed away earlier this month. The Chicago-based attorney was 84 years old and leaves behind a lasting legacy of inspiring work that will undoubtedly touch and inspire many more for years to come.

A single mother of three, Hanover worked her way though college and law school in the 1960’s. Four months shy of earning her law degree she was dismissed from school for being a lesbian. She later returned to graduate and went on to open what is believed to be the first law office in the U.S. focused on women’s issues. The Windy City Times reported Hanover to be the first "out" lesbian attorney in the county.

She defended gay men against police entrapment, fought to desegregate beaches in Chicago, helped overturn the Chicago anti-cross-dressing law, represented the Black Panthers, and even took on a white lesbian bar for not allowing black lesbians inside.

Hanover was always known for pointing out connections between lesbian or gay issues and other marginalized groups, and used her work to bring them together and change policies that discriminated against all of them.

So today’s love goes to Renee Hanover, the love she had for her community and the legacy she leaves behind.

Today’s love came via a reader submission from Laura in Washington, D.C. 

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