Long-time LGBT advocate Vernita Gray has died at the age of 65. In the 1970s, she established the first lesbian newspaper in Chicago, The Lavender Woman, worked on her own poetry and other writing, and received writing and communications degrees from Columbia College Chicago. Her chapbook is called Sweet Sixteen. Gray also created a lesbian and gay support hotline, which she ran from her home, and formed the lesbian caucus of Gay Liberation, an early predecessor organization of Chicago’s Gay Liberation Network. On November 27, 2013, Gray and Pat Ewert became the first legally married same-sex couple in the state of Illinois after a judge allowed them, and other couples including at least one terminally-ill person, to wed before the state marriage equality law goes into effect on June 1, 2014.