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Trump Transgender Military Ban Condemned

July 26, 2017

By rejecting the brave military service of transgender Americans, President Trump’s policy by tweets is an outrageous about face of the trend of creating a military where courageous Americans of all identities and backgrounds are encouraged to serve.  Our military is strongest when it reflects the full diversity of our American community and when all Americans are welcomed to serve.  President Trump’s latest tweets weaken our armed forces by flying in the face of this commitment to a strong and vibrant military.

Trump cites no evidence or rationale in his tweets. Unfortunately, his pronouncement echoes similar excuses used to justify segregating African-Americans in the military, limiting the role of women, and forcing gay and lesbian service members to serve while hiding their sexual orientation, all policies that were eventually discredited and reversed. In fact, as Trump tweeted, it was the anniversary of the July 26, 1948 order by President Harry Truman ending official segregation in the military.

 

Fahrenheit Chicago-Pride South on the Lake

July 25, 2017

Equality Illinois and AIDS Foundation of Chicago are excited to announce Fahrenheit Chicago–Pride South on the Lake, an end-of-summer beach party of fun, music, and social networking for LGBTQ Illinoisans, their friends and families.

The free event, featuring non-stop music, beach games and a Bid Whist card tournament, public health awareness, and civic engagement, will be on Sunday, Aug. 27 from 11am to 7pm at Oakwood Beach, 41st Street and Lake Shore Drive, Chicago.

“We are so excited to bring LGBTQ people of color from all generations together for a summer party on the South Side. With Fahrenheit Chicago, we look forward to gathering and socializing on the South Side, and we hope it also helps build stronger bridges within the diverse queer community from all parts of the city and the Chicago area,” said Anthony Galloway, Director of Civic Engagement of Equality Illinois, the statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization.

CLICK FOR MORE INFORMATION AND TO LET US KNOW YOU’RE GOING

 

Ask Gov. Rauner to sign LGBTQ Panic Defense Ban

June 28, 2017

Tell Gov. Rauner to sign the LGBTQ panic defense ban. Just click the link below to send him a message and add your name to the thousands of Illinoisans who support the bill.

Today is the 48th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. LGBTQ people, especially transgender people like Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson, fought back against oppression, discrimination, and harassment. They fought for the fundamental right to lead an authentic life without discrimination or burden.

Their bravery sparked the Pride movement we celebrate this month. As those early champions resisted and persisted, we have the obligation to keep the torch burning and ensure a world where LGBTQ people can lead authentic lives without discrimination or fear.

That’s why we advocated for the LGBTQ panic defense ban this year in the Illinois General Assembly. It’s time for Illinois to make clear in statute that LGBTQ persons’ mere existence is never a legal justification for physical violence against us. Now, it is time for Gov. Rauner to act.

SEND MESSAGE

 

Proud Families Helping Kids in Need

June 19, 2017

Join Equality Illinois and Cradles to Crayons Chicago this Saturday for Proud Families Service Day, an opportunity during Pride Month for families of every stripe to show their support for local kids living in need.

Together, youth and adults inspect, sort, and package all new and like-new donations into customized “KidPacks”.

Anyone age six and above can volunteer at the Giving Factory. Activities are appropriate and engaging for individuals and families. You will work at a volunteer station such as Clothing Sort, Outfits, School Supplies, Shoes, Toys, or Shopping.

Please sign up for the two-hour shift.

SIGN UP

 


Remember the victims of the Pulse shooting

June 12, 2017

 

Tell Gov. Rauner: Sign the bill to help transgender Illinoisans

June 10, 2017

It’s time to let Gov. Bruce Rauner know that we want him to sign HB1785, the bill that will allow transgender Illinoisans to have a birth certificate that matches their gender identity.

The right-wing opponents are already hard at work spreading lies about the bill, and we need YOU in every corner of Illinois to click HERE to send a positive message to the governor’s office in support of the measure that helps transgender Illinoisans correct this essential document.

It takes just a minute. Stop by our booth this weekend at Andersonville Midsommarfest 2017 to sign the message, or anywhere in Illinois click on THIS LINK.

SEND A MESSAGE TODAY

 

Our Pride Message: Be visible. BE POWERFUL

June 1, 2017

As Pride Month began one year ago we were looking ahead to joyous celebrations. Then on June 12, 2016 the Pulse nightclub in Orlando was targeted for a vicious hate crime resulting in the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

“Pride Months will always be changed; we must never forget the 49 innocent lives, overwhelmingly Latinx, LGBTQ young people, taken away from us and from their friends and families. We encourage everyone to take time this month, at a community event or in your heart, to contemplate the lives we lost,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state’s LGBTQ civil rights organization.

“At Equality Illinois, we were even more determined to honor them with action by successfully advancing a pro-LGBTQ agenda in Springfield and spreading our message of LGBTQ civil rights to every corner of Illinois. On the national level, we are working with our congressional delegation against the challenges from an administration that seems determined to ignore us at best, and force us back into the closet, at worst. THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN!” Johnson said.

“So, it is important to be visible during Pride 2017, to celebrate, yes, and to commemorate and to challenge the status quo. Because when we are visible, we are powerful.”

READ MORE

 

Bill to help transgender Illinoisans get correct birth certificates goes to governor

May 31, 2017

A measure to modernize Illinois law allowing people to change the gender marker on their birth certificate, helping transgender Illinoisans live their true lives, House Bill 1785, passed the Senate Wednesday night 32-22.

Having previously passed in the House, the bill now goes to Gov. Rauner for his signature, and we ask him to act promptly. We thank the sponsors Rep. Greg Harris and Sen. Toi Hutchinson.

The bill was one of Equality Illinois legislative priorities this session, and we worked in coalition on this measure with organizations including ACLU of Illinois.

 


Legislature Bans LGBTQ Panic Defense

May 31, 2017

JUST NOW – Victory on a ban on LGBTQ Panic Defense!

The Illinois General Assembly completed action Wednesday on a bill that prohibits a defendant from using the sexual orientation or gender identity of the victim as a defense against a murder charge. Prohibiting the use of the so-called panic defense was an initiative of Equality Illinois, the state’s LGBTQ civil rights organization.

A bipartisan vote of 104-0 on Senate Bill 1761 in the Illinois House on Wednesday followed unanimous 41-0 Senate approval of the legislation earlier this month. The bill’s sponsors were State Sen. Daniel Biss and State Rep. Litesa E. Wallace.

Now we call on Gov. Rauner to sign the bill.

 

March with Equality Illinois at Pride

May 31, 2017

As you line up your calendar for Pride Month, please consider joining the Equality Illinois contingent at the 48th Annual Chicago LGBTQ Pride Parade on Sunday, June 25.

Our motto this Pride season is “be visible, BE POWERFUL,” and there’s nothing more visible than marching past a million of your closest friends.

Sign up today!

SIGN UP

 

Honor LGBTQ veterans on this Memorial Day

May 29, 2017

On Memorial Day, Equality Illinois remembers all who served our nation and made the ultimate sacrifice.

A monument honoring LGBTQ veterans is being dedicated today at 1pm at Halsted and Addison streets in Chicago.

The local chapter of American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER Chicago Chapter) is behind the effort, but it is several thousand dollars short. You can participate by contributing through its GoFundMe page.

“LGBTQ Americans have played a vital part in making our country the free, democratic and vibrant place it is today. Far too often, the acknowledgment that many of our heroes in American history and society identify as a member of the LGBTQ community has been hidden from us and the general public,” Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois.

DONATE TO LGBTQ VETERANS MONUMENT

 

Equality Illinois Urges Action on LGBTQ Civil Rights Agenda

May 28, 2017

Equality Illinois is hopeful that the General Assembly will act in its final days of the spring session to pass bills advancing LGBTQ civil rights, as well as passage, finally, of a responsible budget with adequate revenues to fund essential programs for all Illinoisans.

EI Director of Public Policy Michael Ziri and our advocacy team are talking to lawmakers to push for passage of bills such as HB 1785 to modernize the standard of birth certificate changes to help transgender Illinoisans and SB 1761 to end the anti-LGBTQ panic defenses in murder cases.

As the last hours of the session unfold, stay on top of legislation important to LGBTQ Illinoisans on our Facebook page and Twitter feed, and here on our web page.

READ  MORE

 


House passes birth certificate bill; urge your senator to act

May 25, 2017

The Illinois House voted Thursday afternoon to modernize the state’s birth certificate law to help transgender Illinoisans, sending the bill to the Illinois Senate.

>>>Call to Action: With less than a week until the legislature’s scheduled adjournment, your state senator needs to hear from you TODAY. Click here to send your senator a message of support for the bill, HB 1785: http://tinyurl.com/PassHB1785.

HB 1785, one of Equality Illinois’ legislative priorities this session, ensures that transgender Illinoisans can obtain correct birth certificates that match their gender identity without having to first undergo expensive or unnecessary surgery. Thank you to Rep. Greg Harris for artfully leading action on the bill in the House.

CONTACT YOUR SENATOR

 

Pride Kickoff Brunch

May 25, 2017

Equality Illinois is pleased to announce that Illinois Comptroller Susana A. Mendoza, an advocate for LGBTQ Illinoisans, will join us as a guest speaker at our Pride Kickoff Brunch taking place on Sunday, June 4.

We are also proud to recognize Kelly Suzanne Saulsberry, Director of Policy & Outreach for the Chicago Commission on Human Relations (CCHR), with the 2017 Community Pride Award Recipient that will be presented at the brunch.

Entertainment at the brunch will be provided by DJ Tjaye, exclusive DJ for Oscar/Grammy winner Jennifer Hudson.

With cocktail stations, tasty brunch items and a casual setting, come join us at the innovative space Life Creative for a fun afternoon.

INFORMATION AND TICKETS

 

LGBTQ Public Service Bill Sent to Governor

May 24, 2017

Our LGBTQ Public Service Bill passed the Illinois House on a bipartisan 95-12 vote Wednesday afternoon. The next step is the Governor’s Desk, and we are calling on Gov. Bruce Rauner to sign the measure.

Thank you to state Rep. Will Guzzardi and state Sen. Scott Bennett for their leadership.

The legislation (SB 1670), one of Equality Illinois’ priorities during this session of the General Assembly, allows a person to voluntarily self-identify as LGBTQ when they apply for a spot on a state board or commission. Applicants already self-identify their ethnicity, gender, and disability status. The new data will be included in an existing annual report compiled by the Governor’s Office.

SB 1670 is all about data and leadership. The bill helps policymakers gather the necessary information to know whether Illinoisans of all backgrounds are inspired to lend their strengths and talents to the service of our state.

 

Proud Families Service Day

May 22, 2017

Join Equality Illinois and Cradles to Crayons on Proud Families Service Day, an opportunity during Pride Month for families of every stripe to show their support for local kids living in need.

Together, youth and adults inspect, sort, and package all new and like-new donations into customized “KidPacks”.

Anyone age six and above can volunteer at the Giving Factory. Activities are appropriate and engaging for individuals and families. You will work at a volunteer station such as Clothing Sort, Outfits, School Supplies, Shoes, Toys, or Shopping. Please register for yourself and your family today.

REGISTER

 


Be Visible, Be Powerful – Build LGBTQ Leadership

May 16, 2017

Before joining Equality Illinois, our Mike Ziri served as an out elected official in Springfield, where he learned about the importance of public officials being visible and proud and what that means to advancing equality and inclusion for LGBTQ people. Because when we are visible, we are POWERFUL!

Now there is a bill before the General Assembly that would bring more visibility to LGBTQ Illinoisans in public service and create a pipeline for future out and proud elected and appointed officials. Mike, our chief advocate, is lobbying lawmakers to pass the bill, Senate Bill 1670, this month. Please contribute to help Mike in this advocacy work.

Your donation of $10, $25, $50, or $100 contributes to our lobbying work in Springfield. Or, become a monthly sustaining contributor? Please consider giving today.

DONATE

 

Be visible. Be POWERFUL!

May 4, 2017

Equality Illinois needs your help so LGBTQ Illinoisans can be visible and powerful. With the help of supporters like you, our team has spent much of this year working on issues in Springfield and across the state.

Can you please help support this work by making a one-time donation of $10, $25, $50, or $100? Or, become a monthly sustaining contributor?

Our advocacy work became immensely more challenging when Donald Trump won the presidency. Not only do we face a blatantly anti-LGBTQ administration, but his victory has emboldened forces that oppose fairness and justice for LGBTQ Americans.

We have to make sure Illinois remains a leader for LGBTQ rights and that our office-holders remain responsive to your needs. We must be visible. We must be POWERFUL. Your contribution helps Equality Illinois in this vital work.

 

Tell your U.S. Rep: Don’t Discriminate

May 2, 2017

Take action: Tell your U.S. representative to support LGBTQ Illinoisans. Click the link to send a message.

U.S. Reps. Darin LaHood and Randy Hultgren of Illinois are urging President Trump to sign an executive order that would allow discrimination against LGBTQ people.

The proposed executive order is contrary to our laws and values in Illinois. Our members of Congress should support and spread Illinois values of fairness, justice, and the freedom to live one’s life without discrimination. Send a message to your member of Congress that you oppose this kind of executive order.

SEND A MESSAGE

 

LGBTQ Public Service Bill Advances

April 27, 2017

On a strong bipartisan roll call, the Illinois Senate voted 46-4 on Thusday to help increase LGBTQ representation on a myriad of state boards and commissions. The measure now goes to the House.

Senate Bill 1670 is an Equality Illinois initiative and sponsored by State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign). It is designed to encourage the development of LGBTQ Illinoisans for public service by allowing individuals applying to state boards and commissions to voluntarily self-identify as LGBTQ.

Our initiative will further ensure that gubernatorial appointees reflect the great diversity of Illinois. It will also contribute to a leadership path for LGBTQ individuals who want to engage in public service.

Read more about this bill and the Equality Illinois legislative agenda

 


Build LGBTQ Presence on State Boards

April 20, 2017

LGBTQ representation and visibility are more important than ever. Click the <<<image  to ask your state senator to support SB 1670 – the LGBTQ Public Service Bill.

Sponsored by State Sen. Scott Bennett of Champaign, SB 1670 allows individuals applying for seats on state boards and commissions to self-identify as LGBTQ; applicants already self-identify their ethnicity, gender, and disability status.

LGBTQ individuals who engage in public service can share our experiences and stories as LGBTQ people. That contributes to policies that are inclusive, affirming, and promote fairness.

 

Illinois Women March on Springfield

April 17, 2017

On Tuesday, April 25, thousands of people, including LGBTQ Illinoisans, will come together as Illinois Women March on Springfield and take action for civil rights and a responsible budget. Equality Illinois is proud to be a coalition partner for this inspiring and impactful event. Please join us!

We will rally and lobby for legislative initiatives and budget priorities that affirm all Illinoisans, including LGBTQ people, people of color, women, immigrants, refugees, and people with disabilities.

Surrounded by pro-fairness allies from across the state, April 25 will be a great opportunity to talk with legislators about important progressive initiatives such as the birth certificate modernization bill (HB 1785), the LGBTQ panic defense ban (SB 1761), the Immigration Safe Zones Act (HB 426), and legislation protecting access to safe and legal reproductive healthcare in Illinois (HB 40).

READ MORE

TAKE THE BUS WITH US

 

Ask Your Legislators to Pass Bills That Help LGBTQ Illinoisans

April 6, 2017

Two important pro-LGBTQ bills are under consideration in Springfield. Legislators need to hear from you on BOTH bills, and we’ve made it easy for you to send them a message.

<<Click the image to urge your legislators to modernize the Illinois birth certificate law so transgender Illinoisans can live with dignity and to support the panic defense ban and protect LGBTQ people from violence.

House Bill 1785 would modernize the state’s vital records law so transgender Illinoisans won’t have to have surgery in order to get the gender marker corrected on their birth certificate.

Senate Bill 1761 would curtail use of the anti-LGBTQ panic defense in murder cases in Illinois.

These bills will help LGBTQ Illinoisans live more equitably in Illinois. Please take action today.

 

U.S. Court Protects Workers Regardless of Their Sexual Orientation

April 4, 2017

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit made the right decision Tuesday that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in matters of employment regardless of the worker’s sexual orientation.

In Illinois, we know the power of such protections because our Human Rights Act already prohibits workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

However, there is more work to be done. In spite of the ruling today by the federal court, it is still legal in most states to fire a person for their sexual orientation and gender identity.

READ MORE

 


EqualityCon Keynote Speaker

March 27, 2017

Shannon Minter, the Legal Director of The National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR), one of the nation’s leading advocacy organizations for LGBTQ people, is the keynote speaker for EqualityCon 2017, hosted by Equality Illinois Institute.

Minter was lead counsel for some of the plaintiff same-sex couples in the 2008 landmark California marriage equality case which held that same-sex couples have the fundamental right to marry and that laws that discriminate based on sexual orientation are inherently discriminatory and subject to the highest level of constitutional scrutiny. In 2015, he served as counsel for married same-sex couples from Tennessee in the Obergefell v. Hodges case that resulted in the Supreme Court decision recognizing marriage equality as a national right.

Hear Minter and many other interesting speakers and topics at EqualityCon 2017 on Saturday, May 6 in Springfield.

REGISTER