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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).

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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

 

Tell Congress: Preserve ObamaCare

March 22, 2017

Equality Illinois’ Anthony Charles Galloway joined many other organizations at 2:40 PM Wednesday to tell Congress not to repeal the Affordable Care Act, because the Republican alternative would deny health coverage to 24 million Americans.

Call 866-246-9371 to tell your member of Congress to vote NO on the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Watch the video to learn more.

 

House Committee Passes Birth Certificate Bill

March 15, 2017

The bill to modernize the Illinois birth certificate law passed the Illinois House Human Services Committee Wednesday morning by a 7-4 vote.

Thank you to Rep. Greg Harris, and Equality Illinois’ coalition partners the ACLU of Illinois, Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Howard Brown Health, and Lambda Legal.

And a special thank you to the amazing and brave witnesses for sharing their experiences with the committee. The bill will help transgender and gender non-conforming Illinoisans have correct birth certificates,

Call your state representative today and tell them to support HB 1785.

FIND YOUR STATE REPRESENTATIVE

 

‘Spring to Action’ Agenda Focuses on Local Events

March 2, 2017

LGBTQ Americans find themselves in a position we haven’t been in for nearly a decade: fighting against an administration that wants to turn back the clock on LGBTQ rights. This sadly signals to others that it is permissible to try to stop the progress we’ve all fought so hard to achieve locally and nationally.

To this, Equality Illinois is responding with an aggressive Spring to Action agenda to build a strong and affirming voice among LGBTQ Illinoisans and our allies throughout the state to keep Illinois as an island of equality. At the same time, we are part of the national fight to defend our freedoms.

The Spring to Action agenda begins next week in Springfield and continues in cities throughout the state. In the coming weeks, Equality Illinois will host a series of trainings on LGBTQ issues, engage in town hall forums, and sponsor EqualityCon 2017 in Springfield for a daylong conference. Local LGBTQ and allied organizations are cosponsoring the trainings, town halls and EqualityCon. Events are scheduled in Springfield, Peoria, Carbondale, Bloomington-Normal, and Metro East.

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Equality Illinois, other LGBTQ champions, respond to Trump transgender student policy

February 23, 2017

Illinois organizations fighting for the civil rights of LGBTQ Illinoisans respond at a news conference to President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind Department of Education and Department of Justice guidance clarifying the civil rights of transgender students. Groups speaking include Equality Illinois, Lambda Legal – Midwest Regional Office, Illinois Safe Schools Alliance and ACLU of Illinois. (Speakers begin at about 5:45 mark.)

“To our transgender youth throughout the state of Illinois, we want you to know on behalf of all of our stakeholders at Equality Illinois, our champions, and our allies, you are beautiful, you are brave, and you are strong. We honor you and we see you. We will fight for you and support you wherever we can,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois.

 

Equality Illinois Condemns Trump Administration’s Anti-Transgender Policy

February 22, 2017

Equality Illinois condemns the decision of the Trump administration to tear up the 2016 federal guidance protecting the civil rights and equal treatment of transgender youth in our public schools.

“We are outraged the Trump Administration would choose to target transgender children for discrimination. Rescinding the guidance letter sends a terrible message and invites personal bias to flourish in our public schools,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois.

Equality Illinois reminds Illinois school districts that they should not feel free to adopt discriminatory policies despite the federal action. Title IX of the federal education law still protects transgender students, as most courts have agreed, and Illinois law prohibits discrimination in public places.

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Equality Illinois Urges Congress to Protect Transgender Students

February 22, 2017

With the Trump administration reportedly poised to act against transgender students, Equality Illinois is calling on Senator Dick Durbin and Senator Tammy Duckworth and Illinois House members to stand against discrimination in our schools.

In a letter sent to the state’s congressional delegation, Equality Illinois CEO Brian C. Johnson says that the proposed rescinding of the federal guidance that transgender students should be treated the same as fellow students “sends a terrible message and invites personal bias to flourish” in our schools.

Members of Congress should demand that the 2016 policy of fairness and equality remain in force, Johnson says.

READ THE LETTER

 

Legislative Agenda Advances LGBTQ Civil Rights

February 13, 2017

Equality Illinois announces its 2017 legislative agenda, a package of bills to advance the civil rights protections of LGBTQ Illinoisans in the criminal justice system, improve representation on public boards and commissions and assist transgender Illinoisans.

Our robust agenda includes banning so-called “gay panic defense” and ”trans panic defense” in murder cases, ensuring non-discrimination in jury service, increasing LGBTQ participation on scores of state boards, and modernizing birth certificate corrections, which would aid transgender Illinoisans.

“With the rights of transgender Americans, LGBTQ immigrants, Muslims, and women already under attack by the Trump Administration, we at Equality Illinois know that it is incumbent upon the State of Illinois to continue its progress as a truly welcoming and affirming place for all people, including LGBTQ Illinoisans,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois.

READ MORE

 


Call to Action Issued at Equality Illinois Gala

February 8, 2017

“We live in scary times,” Equality Illinois CEO Brian C. Johnson told the crowd Saturday night at his first gala as CEO.

And with that preamble, Johnson issued a call to action for the 1,200 people at the Equality Illinois 2017 Gala and the millions of other Illinoisans who support justice, fairness, and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people and also for everyone marginalized by the rhetoric and actions of the new administration in Washington.

‘We will play our role, and we will play it vigorously,” Johnson promised, committing Equality Illinois to an aggressive agenda focusing on that will help make “Illinois more fair for LGBTQ people in places our stakeholders tell us they are hurting the most–in schools, in their access to health care, and in the criminal justice system.”

WATCH VIDEO

 

Gala Celebrants Send Messages About LGBTQ Equality

February 5, 2017

From a U.S. senator to gala celebrants to volunteers, the Equality Illinois 2017 Gala Saturday night was filled with love for LGBTQ Americans and the many communities we intersect that have come under attack from the new administration, including refugees and immigrants, women, and people from all races, nationalities and religions.

Thank you to everyone for a fabulous evening, made even more exciting by the messages you shared.

As Senator Tammy Duckworth wrote, “I showed up at the #EIGala tonight because LGBTQ rights R Human Rights! (also a great party!)”

SEE MORE MESSAGE BOARDS

 

Excitement Building for Equality Illinois Gala Saturday Night

February 3, 2017

The excitement is building for the Equality Illinois 2017 Gala on Saturday night at the Hilton Chicago Hotel. You can still join the fun by clicking the link to purchase tickets today.

The important work of Equality Illinois advocating for the civil rights of LGBTQ Illinoisans is funded by events such as the gala.

When we talk to a state legislator, communicate with a member of Congress, train correctional officers, educate employers about inclusive work places and do many more things fighting for the rights of LGBTQ Illinoisans, we thank everyone who has contributed, whether it is through the gala or donating a few dollars or giving of their time.

TICKETS

 

New Birth Certificate Law Would Aid Transgender Illinoisans

February 1, 2017

State Rep. Greg Harris has introduced legislation to modernize the state’s birth certificate law to allow transgender Illinoisans to correct the gender marker on their birth certificate without surgery.

Consistent with modern medical standards, the bill recognizes that people who are transgender and intersex should make their own decisions about the most appropriate course of treatment for their transition.

Ask your state representative to support House Bill 1785. The bill is supported by the ACLU of Illinois, Lambda Legal, Howard Brown Health, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, and Illinois Safe Schools Alliance.

 


Questions Remain As Trump Retains LGBTQ Workers’ Rights

January 31, 2017

Equality Illinois statement from Brian C. Johnson, CEO:

President Trump’s continuation of LGBTQ federal and contractor workers’ rights leaves many concerning, unanswered questions.

We are deeply aware of the many ways the Trump administration could still roll back equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Americans. And we, as advocates for the LGBTQ community, stand with so many other groups, including immigrants, refugees, Muslim Americans, and women.

READ MORE

 

Gala to Offer Vision for LGBTQ Rights During Challenging Times

January 31, 2017

The Equality Illinois 2017 Gala this Saturday will feature individuals who have benefited from the work of the state’s largest LGBTQ civil rights organization, recognize those who have fought for equal rights and cared for our community, and offer a vision for the ongoing fight to improve the lived equality of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Illinoisans.

More than 1,200 community members, community leaders, dignitaries, and supporters, including Sen. Tammy Duckworth and other elected officials, plan to attend the Gala, which is annually the Midwest’s largest LGBTQ formal celebration, on Saturday, February 4, 2017 at the Hilton Chicago. Some of the world’s most recognizable corporate and brand names are among the sponsors of the gala.

READ MORE

TICKETS

 

All Students Should Be Affirmed

January 29, 2017

A statewide coalition of organizations that work with LGBTQ Illinoisans is calling on the Illinois General Assembly to reject discriminatory legislation that would isolate and stigmatize transgender and gender non-conforming youth by forcing them to use separate restrooms and locker rooms from their peers in schools.

House Bill 664 is sponsored by State Rep. Tom Morrison (R-Palatine) and is similar to a bill he introduced in the previous session of the General Assembly.

We are resolved that Illinois will stand firm for treating transgender and gender non-conforming students with dignity and ensuring that our schools are affirming environments that respect all students.

READ MORE

 

Inauguration Day

January 20, 2017

On this Inauguration Day, LGBTQ civil rights protections should not be at risk with the change in administrations, but that’s the reality we face.

Equality Illinois, working with our supporters in Congress and allied organizations fighting for equality and justice, will resist at every turn.

Stay abreast of our work here on our website or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Also, sign up for email updates here.

 


Celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

January 16, 2017

King Day 2017

On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, there is no more fitting thought at this time in our history than the inscription written on the side of his memorial in Washington, DC: “Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.” Equality Illinois joins the nation today in pausing to remember Dr. King.

 

New Attempt to Attack LGBTQ Illinoisans

January 12, 2017

License to Discriminate Bill 2017 V2Equality Illinois is denouncing a new attempt by anti-LGBTQ forces in the Illinois General Assembly to discriminate against same-sex married couples.

Legislation introduced in the Illinois Senate would establish a license to discriminate for individuals, organizations, non-profits, and businesses who refuse to serve LGBTQ people. If it became law, Senate Bill 64 would neutralize the state’s civil rights protections for LGBTQ people by effectively prohibiting enforcement of those standards.

“SB 64 is an assault on our shared Illinois values of fairness, justice, and equality,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois. “SB 64 is not about religious freedom.”

READ MORE

 

On the case as new General Assembly opens

January 11, 2017

springfield-2017As the 100th Illinois General Assembly convenes its two-year session on Wednesday, Equality Illinois CEO Brian C. Johnson and Director of Public Policy Michael Ziri are on the case in Springfield representing LGBTQ Illinoisans.

Brian and Mike are working with our legislative allies and alongside partner organizations to make sure no pernicious bills become law and to fight for fair, equal and just treatment for all Illinoisans.

Stay updated about Equality Illinois’ advocacy work on Facebook or by bookmarking this website equalityillinois.org.

 

Thank you, Mr. President

January 10, 2017

obama-thank-you1

As President Obama returns home to Chicago to give his farewell address tonight, we in Illinois’ LGBTQ community reflect back to his early political days, when he attended events such as the Equality Illinois 2004 gala and listened and learned about the challenges we face.

From this two-way conversation that continued through the President’s two terms in office came the most pro-LGBTQ administration in the nation’s history.

The list of accomplishments by President Obama and Vice President Biden is long. The place to start is that they held LGBTQ Americans in their hearts and included us in their vision of a just and equal America. From that premise flowed the many actions, policies, appointments, and overall leadership that gave us hope. There was always an open door for Equality Illinois; we were frequent guests at White House events and participated in many conversations about advancing LGBTQ rights.

There’s only one more thing to say, and that is, THANK YOU, MR. PRESIDENT.

READ MORE

 


Join the excitement at the Equality Illinois 2017 Gala

January 4, 2017

We’ve entered into a new year and are excited about many new things, such as our 2017 Equality Illinois Gala taking place in just ONE MONTH from today! Join us, commemorate with us, and help us take equal rights for #LGBTQ Illinoisans to a new and exciting level. To get excited, watch the video below. To get REAL excited, purchase your tickets today.

TICKETS

 

(Pictures of 2016 gala courtesy of Mystic Images Photography.)