About Us

Chicago Social Butterflies, a new project from Windy City Times, unites the LGBTQ+ community by offering a central hub for updates on events and initiatives from over 200 clubs, promoters and nonprofits. It addresses the challenge of scattered information across social media and multiple newsletters. Welcome to your new LGBTQ+ social calendar!
Tracy Baim Windy City Times founder

Chicago Social Butterflies is a new newsletter and website from Windy City Times. Many folks in the LGBTQ+ community feel disconnected. They hear about great events and benefits after they see the photos on social media. It’s hard to know what the more than 200 LGBTQ+ clubs, promoters, and nonprofits are up to these days. Our weekly newspaper used to serve that role, but now it’s hit-and-miss finding things on social media, or subscribing to dozens of newsletters.

So what’s next? Longtime community activist Michael Leppen and I were brainstorming about this, and decided to launch a newsletter. Like a butterfly flapping its wings, we want to have an amplifying effect, to lift up our community, and support worthy events and causes.

The weekly Chicago Social Butterflies newsletter is also backed up by a new website. It’s a free way to have a one-stop link to our community’s vast offerings. It’s free to the event hosts and free to readers.

Thanks to our terrific team working on on this launch: Vivian Gonzalez with design, website and marketing, Jean Albright on calendar, Jake Wittich on writing and curation, Lu Caldaza on marketing and writing, Matt Simonette as editor, and Terri Klinsky as publisher.

Now you won’t have to say, “Why didn’t I hear about that?”

— Tracy Baim, Windy City Times cofounder

Meet the CSB Team

Vivian Gonzalez (she/her) was born and raised in Chicago’s Southside as the daughter of immigrant parents from Mexico. Since then, she has lived in some of the coolest and queerest neighborhoods, including Andersonville, Rogers Park, Lake View East and Lincoln Square.

With a BFA in Multi-Media Design, Vivian has over 20 years of experience in the field, including 8 years of Art Direction and 5+ years of marketing. Vivian is proud to have worked with and for so many incredible non-profit organizations and LGBTQ+ brands in Chicago, including Center on Halsted, Howard Brown, Affinity, Chicago Reader, and most recently Windy City Times.

Jake Wittich is a freelance queer news reporter specializing in community engagement. As newsletter editor for Chicago Social Butterflies, Jake will be in touch weekly with the rundown of upcoming LGBTQ+ events.

You might even see him out and about, reporting on the community or partying in Chicago’s vibrant nightlife scene.

You can reach Jake via email at wittichjake@gmail.com.

Jean Albright has worked for Windy City Times since 1994 and is a twenty year  U.S. Air Force veteran. She has served on boards of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and the Chicago chapter of the American Veterans for Equal Rights, working to overturn the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy by raising public awareness through public speaking and meeting with elected officials.  Albright continues to champion LGBT service members’ rights, participating in panels on the topic.

She holds a BS with a dual major in journalism and sociology from George Washington University and a Masters in Education from Northern Illinois University. In 2015, she was inducted into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame.

Lu Calzada is a Windy City Times fellow through Northwestern’s Local News Accelerator Program and graduated with their master’s in journalism from Northwestern in 2023.

Prior to Windy City Times, Lu has worked as fellow for La Raza and an intern for the Chicago Sun Times. They graduated with their B.A. in English from Loyola Chicago in 2022 where they were the sports editor for the Loyola Phoenix, covering two men’s basketball March Madness runs during their time at Loyola. Outside of work, Lu can be found hanging out with their two beloved roommates or ordering overpriced salmon bagels around Chicago. You can find Lu on X at @lumcalzada.

Matt Simonette is associate publisher of the Windy City Times as well as a freelance journalist. He is a regular contributor to Evanston RoundTable as well as Chicago Reader.

A Wisconsin native, he holds a BA from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and MAs from Marquette University and New York University. His reporting interests include local politics, health, land use, cinema and theater.
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