Larry McKeon

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Larry McKeon
Member of the Illinois House of Representatives
from the 34th then 13th district
In office
January 1997 – January 2007
Preceded byNancy Kaszak
Succeeded byGreg Harris
Personal details
Born(1944-06-30)June 30, 1944
Nampa, Idaho
DiedMay 13, 2008(2008-05-13) (aged 63)
Springfield, Illinois
Political partyDemocratic

Larry McKeon (June 30, 1944 – May 13, 2008) was an American politician who served as a member of the Illinois House of Representatives from Chicago. Serving from January 1997 to January 2007, he was the first-ever openly gay member of the Illinois General Assembly and was also HIV-positive.[1]

McKeon died at the age of 63 in Springfield, Illinois, after suffering a stroke.[2] Following his death, numerous political figures issued statements praising his life and achievements, including U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Howard Dean, chairman of the Democratic National Committee.[3]

He held degrees from California State University at Los Angeles and completed some doctoral work at the University of Chicago. A veteran of the United States Army, McKeon had been a lieutenant with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department before moving to Chicago.[4]

McKeon was elected to the House in 1996 from a Chicago district then-numbered the 34th and was sworn in the following January. He served on the committees on Labor, Aging, and several other subjects. During the 2002 redistricting, his district became the 13th.

McKeon was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1997.[5]

In July 2006, he announced his intention to retire from the legislature at the end of his term in January 2007. As he had already won the March 2006 Democratic primary election without opposition and thus had become the party's nominee for re-election, it fell to the five Democratic ward committeemen in his district to select a replacement nominee, who would run with no Republican opponent in the November 2006 general election. They selected the openly gay (and openly HIV-positive) Greg Harris.

Many of McKeon's campaigns won the backing of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund.[6]

In 1991 his longtime partner, Ray Korzinski, was diagnosed with AIDS, dying just 12 weeks later.[7]


  1. ^ "First openly gay Illinois lawmaker dies". Chicago Tribune. 2008-05-14. Retrieved 2008-05-16.
  2. ^ "Gay icon Larry McKeon passes". Windy City Times. 2008-05-14. Retrieved 2008-05-16.
  3. ^ "Larry McKeon passes; memorial in Springfield May 20". Windy City Times. 2008-05-14. Retrieved 2008-05-20.
  4. ^ Schmich, Mary (2008-05-16). "Gay officers out of closet thanks to him". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2008-05-16.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2015-10-17. Retrieved 2016-08-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ "Victory Fund mourns loss of Larry McKeon". Victory Fund. 2008-05-14. Retrieved 2008-05-17.
  7. ^ "Illinois first openly gay legislator dies". Associated Press. 2008-05-14. Retrieved 2008-05-16.