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Attend the LGBTQ Forum: The Democratic Candidates for Governor

November 12, 2017

Click HERE to attend the Forum on Dec. 6

Register to attend the Illinois LGBTQ Forum: The Democratic Candidates for Governor, on Wed., Dec. 6 in Chicago.

Participants include state Sen. Daniel Biss, Madison County Regional Superintendent of Schools Bob Daiber, anti-violence activist Tio Hardiman, businessman Chris Kennedy, and businessman JB Pritzker.

We want to hear from these candidates how they would tackle issues important to LGBTQ Illinoisans and what kind of priority they would give them if elected governor.
The forum is presented by Affinity Community Services, the Association of Latinos/as Motivating Action (ALMA Chicago), the Equality Illinois Institute, and Pride Action Tank before an audience at the Second Presbyterian Church, 1936 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago.

REGISTRATION

 

Candidates Forum To Air At Statewide Watch Events

November 9, 2017

The statewide civic power of LGBTQ Illinoisans will be featured at the state’s first Illinois LGBTQ Forum: The Democratic Candidates for Governor, which will include statewide viewing sites.

Organized by Affinity Community Services, the Association of Latinos/as Motivating Action (ALMA), the Equality Illinois Institute, and Pride Action Tank, the forum will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 6-8 p.m. before an audience at the Second Presbyterian Church, 1936 S. Michigan Avenue, in Chicago’s South Loop.

The Democratic candidates who have confirmed their participation are State Sen. Daniel Biss, Madison County Regional Superintendent of Schools Bob Daiber, anti-violence activist Tio Hardiman, businessman Chris Kennedy, and businessman J.B. Pritzker.

In addition to public attendance at the forum in Chicago, Illinoisans will be able to watch a video livestream at locations in Carbondale, Metro East, Normal, Peoria, Quad Cities, and Springfield hosted by local LGBTQ organizations.

You can register to attend the forum in CHICAGO

Or, sign up to attend a livestream event in these locations:

  BLOOMINGTON-NORMAL

  CARBONDALE

  METRO EAST

  PEORIA

  QUAD CITIES

  SPRINGFIELD

 

Submit Your Question for the LGBTQ Forum

November 8, 2017

YOU are invited to submit questions for the Illinois LGBTQ Forum: The Democratic Candidates for Governor.

Four weeks from today on Wednesday, Dec. 6, State Sen. Daniel Biss, Madison County Regional Superintendent of Schools Bob Daiber, anti-violence activist Tio Hardiman, businessman Chris Kennedy, and businessman JB Pritzker will sit down with a coalition of organizations that serve and advocate for LGBTQ Illinoisans.

We want to make sure your voices are heard, so submit your questions today.

The event is organized by Affinity Community Services, the Association of Latinos/as Motivating Action (ALMA Chicago), the Equality Illinois Institute, and Pride Action Tank. Co-hosting organizations include the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, CALOR, Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus, Howard Brown Health, HRC Chicago, LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, Peoria Proud, Phoenix Center of Springfield, Prairie Pride Coalition of Bloomington-Normal, Rainbow Cafe LGBT Youth Center of Carbondale, South Side Help Center, Wpt Cares of Metro East, and A.L.P.H.A.S. of the Quad Cities.

SUBMIT A QUESTION

 

Equality Illinois Launches Drive to Advance LGBTQ Public Leadership

October 31, 2017

Equality Illinois is launching a new initiative to build the policy and political power of LGBTQ Illinoisans by linking qualified lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people to openings on key state boards and commissions.

The Boards and Commissions Initiative seeks to enhance the visibility and public leadership of LGBTQ Illinoisans on the important state boards and commissions that are instrumental to the operation of state government and drive major policy decisions.

LGBTQ individuals interested in lending their talents to the state through service on a board or commission can submit their information to Equality Illinois. Equality Illinois will focus on appointments to panels that have power over five key areas that intersect with the needs and priorities of LGBTQ communities: civil rights and civic engagement, economic development, education, health and human services, and public safety and criminal justice but will also encourage service on any board of interest to an LGBTQ Illinoisan.

SUBMIT APPLICATION

 


Municipal Equality Index ranks Chicago first, Naperville last

October 23, 2017

Among larger Illinois communities, Naperville ranks last, scoring only 42 out of a possible 100 points, and Chicago is first in the state with 100 points in the 2017 Municipal Equality Index, the only nationwide rating system of LGBTQ inclusion in municipal law, policy and services.

While local officials in Naperville say it is a welcoming community, the city lost points because of a lack of pro-active leadership and programs.

The survey was conducted by the Equality Federation Institute, of which Equality Illinois is a founding member, and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.

READ MORE

 

Equality Illinois PAC Makes First 2018 Endorsements

October 19, 2017

The Equality Illinois PAC is endorsing 32 incumbent legislators in its first round of endorsements as the state heads into the 2018 election cycle.

The Equality Illinois PAC is the only statewide political entity dedicated to defending and securing the rights of LGBTQ Illinoisans though engagement in the electoral process.

READ MORE

 

#METOO

October 16, 2017

At Equality Illinois, our hearts swell with love at the bravery we are seeing from so many people sharing #metoo. We are sorry we live in a world where the #metoo campaign even has to exist, and we promise to be vigilant in working with you to eradicate sexual harassment and assault.

 

Illinois Transgender Survey Finds Disturbing Patterns and Disparities

October 15, 2017

With 27,715 respondents nationwide, the U.S. Transgender Survey conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality in 2015 included 1,082 in Illinois.

As the Trump administration tries to remove protections for transgender people, the just-released findings reveal in Illinois and around the nation the need for such protections, and more.

There were disturbing patterns of mistreatment and discrimination and startling disparities between transgender people in the survey and the U.S. population when it comes to the most basic elements of life, such as finding a job, having a place to live, accessing medical care, and enjoying the support of family and community. Survey respondents also experienced harassment and violence at alarmingly high rates.

READ THE ILLINOIS REPORT

 


Reject the Trump Administration License to Discriminate

October 6, 2017

TAKE ACTION!!! Equality Illinois stands in firm opposition to the guidance document issued today by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions that would allow discrimination against LGBTQ people.

Take action here to oppose the Trump administration anti-LGBTQ policy: tinyurl.com/RejectLicenseToDiscriminate.

Using all the tools at our disposal, we will forcefully respond and defend the civil rights of LGBTQ people, who will face discrimination because of this license to discriminate.
We urge you to call on U.S. Senators Durbin and Duckworth and your member of Congress to challenge this guidance and affirm Illinois values of inclusion, justice, and equality.

 

Community Advisory Group Begins Second Year

October 3, 2017

The Equality Illinois Community Advisory Group is beginning its second year of work, now 35 members strong, including LGBTQ individuals and allies from across the state who engage with us in the policy development and agenda building necessary to secure and advance LGBTQ equality, social justice, and intersectional action in Illinois.

Members come from all corners of Illinois–Carbondale to Chicago, Rock Island to Charleston–and from a wonderful diversity of backgrounds and experiences.

Over the last year, the group helped us advocate for our successful legislative agenda. Community members appeared in the media, testified in Springfield, and advocated in their communities for LGBTQ issues. We appreciate their service.

READ MORE

 

United Airlines is the Presenting Sponsor of the 2018 Gala

September 29, 2017

United Airlines is the Presenting Sponsor of the 2018 Equality Illinois Gala, the Midwest’s largest LGBTQ formal celebration, to be held on Saturday, February 3, 2018 at the Hilton Chicago. Gala information, including tickets, is at equalityillinois.org/2018gala.

The Gala is the single-largest fundraising event for the Equality Illinois Institute, which funds the ongoing educational and outreach work for LGBTQ equality throughout the state of Illinois.

“Illinois-based United Airlines, the Presenting Sponsor of the Gala and the Exclusive Airline of Equality Illinois since 2014, is a longtime champion of our work and of LGBTQ rights,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois. “It was one of the earliest U.S. corporations to prohibit discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation and, later, gender identity.”

Gregory D. Jones, Chief Diversity Officer of United Airlines, said, “At United, we pride ourselves on being as diverse as the communities we serve around the globe. From our headquarters in Illinois to our operations around the globe, the 90,000 members of the United family act as ambassadors for the core values of dignity, equality, and opportunity in the workplace. These are values United not only shares with Equality Illinois but which we have advanced together. But, we know our work is far from done, which is why we reaffirm our commitment as the official Airline Sponsor and Presenting Sponsor of Equality Illinois and its annual gala.”

GALA INFO

 

Breaking News: Gov. Rauner Signs Bill Protecting Reproductive Rights

September 28, 2017

BREAKING NEWS: Governor Bruce Rauner protects reproductive rights of Illinois women and signs House Bill 40.

Thank you, Planned Parenthood of Illinois, ACLU of Illinois, Personal PAC, and countless advocates across Illinois for your leadership in ensuring access to reproductive healthcare for all women in Illinois, especially the bill’s sponsors state Rep. Sara Feigenholtz and state Sen. Heather Steans.

Equality Illinois supported HB 40.

 


EI Gala to Salute LGBTQ Rights Activist Jim Bennett

September 28, 2017

The Equality Illinois Freedom Award, which honors individuals who demonstrate remarkable vision, courage, and leadership in the effort to achieve full equality for LGBTQ individuals in Illinois, will be presented to Jim Bennett at the 2018 Equality Illinois Gala.

The gala will be held on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018 in the Hilton Chicago. Gala information, including tickets, is at equalityillinois.org/2018gala.

For more than a decade as Midwest Regional Director and recently as Chief Development Officer, Bennett has contributed his strong and powerful voice for our community through his work at Lambda Legal, the nation’s largest legal organization dedicated to securing the full civil rights of the LGBTQ community and people with HIV.

“We will always be grateful to Jim for taking on the Herculean task of chairing the Illinois Unites for Marriage coalition, which pulled together LGBTQ organizations, Republicans and Democrats, labor and business and many more for the successful campaign to win marriage equality in Illinois,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois.

Bennett, reacting to the honor, reflected on the importance of the statewide work of Equality Illinois. “Springfield is my hometown. When I came out, I did what ‘everyone does’, I moved to Chicago. I am thankful to Equality Illinois for always seeing Illinois as one state, and I’m thrilled to be part of their efforts to make sure equality reaches all the way across the Land of Lincoln because we really are everywhere,” Bennett said.

“No matter how good we’ve done as a movement in gaining political power and public acceptance, we still find ourselves too often on the outside. We need to know how to play the game as insiders and how to fight for our rights in the streets. I am thankful that Equality Illinois has my back. They are pros at working with our leaders in the General Assembly to stop bad legislation from seeing the light of day and moving good bills. I feel protected.”

GALA INFO

 

Tell Gov. Rauner: Sign HB40 to protect women’s reproductive health

September 28, 2017

TAKE ACTION–Now that House Bill 40 protecting women’s reproductive rights is on Gov. Bruce Rauner’s desk, Equality Illinois urges him to sign it.

And we ask YOU to send your own message of support for HB40 to the governor at http://tinyurl.com/SIGNHB40.

All Illinoisans should be able to make the most fundamental decisions about their body and their most intimate relationships free from government overreach. And with the rights of women under attack by the Trump Administration, it is more critical than ever that Illinois protect reproductive freedom for women.

HB 40 will preserve reproductive choice for Illinois women and ensure reproductive health care is available to the many women who access it through Medicaid and state employee health insurance plans. This struggle is about fairness and protecting the private medical decisions of women.

TAKE ACTION

 

Equality Illinois Gala to Honor Planned Parenthood of Illinois

September 27, 2017

The Equality Illinois Business Leadership Award, given annually to organizations that demonstrate remarkable vision, courage, and leadership in the effort to achieve full equality for LGBTQ individuals in Illinois, will be presented to Planned Parenthood of Illinois at the 2018 Equality Illinois Gala.

The gala will be held on Saturday, Feb. 3, 2018 in the Hilton Chicago. Gala information, including tickets, is at equalityillinois.org/2018gala.

“We are proud to honor Planned Parenthood for a century of providing access to sexual and reproductive health care and information, often facing tremendous challenges, and more recently for offering transgender health care services including hormone therapy in health centers in Chicago and central Illinois,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois.

Jennifer Welch, President & CEO of Planned Parenthood of Illinois, said, “Planned Parenthood believes that LGBTQ rights and reproductive rights are deeply connected to civil rights for all. We have long stood with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the struggle for full equality. PPIL will continue to be a strong and passionate advocate for policies that enable ALL Illinoisans to access comprehensive reproductive and sexual health care. I am so proud of the work PPIL is doing to provide quality care to anyone who needs it, no matter who they love, where they live, or how they identify. It is essential that we strive to make every patient feel welcome, comfortable, and cared for.”

GALA INFO

 

Gov. Rauner Meets with LGBTQ and Allied Leaders

September 26, 2017

Photo courtesy C. Grost Photography

LGBTQ and allied groups met with Gov. Bruce Rauner Tuesday morning to discuss challenges faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Illinoisans that might find remedy in actions by the state.

The issues discussed during the meeting at Equality Illinois included healthcare and human services, youth and schools, housing, immigration, LGBTQ cultural competency of state-funded programs, and the protection and promotion of civil rights.

The governor also presented ceremonial copies of two bills he signed this summer that were part of the 2017 Equality Illinois legislative agenda–bills that modernize the birth certificate law for transgender Illinoisans needing to correct their gender marker and ban the anti-LGBTQ panic defense in murder cases. He also signed this year a bill to build LGBTQ representation on state boards and commissions.

READ MORE ABOUT THE MEETING

 


#HireTrans Campaign Launches

September 25, 2017

#HireTrans is launching this week to push for more opportunities for transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) individuals, who face high obstacles for consistent employment and advancement opportunities on the job.

LEARN MORE ABOUT #HIRETRANS

And plan to attend the WERQ! LGBTQ Job Fair this Friday at the Center on Halsted. More than 75 major corporations, small businesses, government agencies, schools and nonprofits will participate.

JOB FAIR

The #HireTrans campaign is created by Windy City Times. Equality Illinois is proud to be a sponsor, along with Chicago House and Social Service Agency, Center on Halsted, Howard Brown Health, Heartland Alliance, Association of Latinos/as Motivating in Action (ALMA Chicago), and Pride Action Tank.

 

Two blockbuster Broadway shows benefit Equality Illinois

September 12, 2017

Performances of two blockbuster Broadway shows coming to Chicago this fall will benefit the ongoing LGBTQ civil rights work of Equality Illinois.

Cameron Mackintosh presents the new production of Alain Boubil and Claude-Michel Schonberg’s Tony Award-winning musical phenomenon, Les Misérables, direct from an acclaimed two-and-a-half-year return to Broadway.

Equality Illinois benefits from Les Misérables tickets sold for the performance on Friday, Oct. 27, 2017 at the Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago.

LES MISERABLES TICKETS

Wicked, Chicago’s most popular musical, looks at what happened in the Land of Oz… but from a different angle. Long before Dorothy arrives, there is another girl, born with emerald-green skin—smart, fiery, misunderstood, and possessing an extraordinary talent. When she meets a bubbly blonde who is exceptionally popular, their initial rivalry turns into the unlikeliest of friendships… until the world decides to call one “good,” and the other one “wicked.”

Equality Illinois benefits from Wicked tickets for  for the performance on Friday, Dec. 15, 2017 at the Oriental Theatre in Chicago.

WICKED TICKETS

 

LGBTQ Forum: The Democratic Candidates for Governor

September 7, 2017

REGISTER TO ATTEND

 

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Illinoisans will have an opportunity to hear directly from the Democratic candidates for governor about the issues that impact our lives at a candidate forum in Chicago on Wednesday, December 6, a coalition of organizations that serve and advocate for LGBTQ Illinoisans announced Thursday.

You can register to attend the forum and see the candidates in person.

The “Illinois LGBTQ Forum: The Democratic Candidates for Governor” is organized by Affinity Community Services, the Association of Latinos/as Motivating Action (ALMA), the Equality Illinois Institute, and Pride Action Tank. The forum will take place 6-8 p.m. at the Second Presbyterian Church, 1936 S. Michigan Avenue, in Chicago’s South Loop. The forum organizers also plan to broadcast the event live through social media platforms so LGBTQ organizations and people across the state can watch it.

As of today, the announced Democratic candidates who have confirmed their participation are State Sen. Daniel Biss, anti-violence activist Tio Hardiman, Chicago Ald. Ameya Pawar,  businessman J.B. Pritzker, and businessman Chris Kennedy.

REGISTER

 

Equality Illinois Stands with the Dreamers

September 5, 2017

Equality Illinois stands with the Dreamers. Immigrants are part of the fabric of America. Here we believe in tolerance, inclusion, liberty, and fairness. President Trump’s policy today is an absolute betrayal of American values.

Click HERE to urge your member of Congress to support the Dream Act and reject Trump’s anti-DACA policy.

The president’s policy is cruel and mean-spirited. According to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, there are over 75,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Dreamers in the United States. Of those, over 36,000 have participated in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Ending DACA is very much a life and death decision for these LGBT Dreamers. They not only face terrifying expulsion from the only country they know as home but also discrimination and violence after deportation because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This is not who we are as a country or a state.

As a welcoming state that is the home of more than 40,000 DACA participants, Illinois’ elected officials must step up now and defend our Dreamers and our values. Thank you to our U.S. Senator Dick Durbin for his longtime leadership to protect Dreamers and sponsorship of the Dream Act.

We call on Governor Bruce Rauner and the Illinois congressional delegation to condemn the president’s policy publicly, vigorously, and without equivocation. Our members of Congress should move forward quickly on passing the Dream Act of 2017, and Governor Rauner should forcefully support that initiative. That’s how you defend our values in the Land of Lincoln.

TAKE ACTION

 


Celebrating Protections Against Workplace Bias on Labor Day

September 4, 2017

As we celebrate Labor Day, we are grateful that LGBTQ Illinoisans are protected against discrimination in the workplace. Equality Illinois spearheaded the successful effort to outlaw discrimination against LGBTQ Illinoisans with the passage of an amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act in 2005.

However, there is no federal law barring employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, and in 28 states, you can get fired just for being lesbian, bisexual, or gay, and in 30 states, you can be fired for being transgender. That is why Congress must pass the Equality Act, to protect all LGBTQ Americans from discrimination.

 

Illinois Scores Unprecedented LGBTQ Legislative Victories

August 29, 2017

On the same day last week that President Trump rolled back rights for transgender Americans, two new civil rights advances for LGBTQ Illinoisans became law. One week earlier, a third new LGBTQ-affirming policy became law in Illinois. These bills were all part of the Equality Illinois 2017 Legislative Agenda.

We need your help to continue our aggressive and effective advocacy in Springfield and keep Illinois at the forefront of LGBTQ civil rights, especially as we face the headwinds coming from this White House.

 

Panic Defense Ban Becomes Law

August 28, 2017

Criminal defendants who kill LGBTQ people can no longer be acquitted by claiming a panic defense–that they were provoked by a fear of the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity–under a new law signed by Gov. Bruce Rauner that was part of the 2017 legislative agenda of Equality Illinois.

“This new law ensures​ LGBTQ people are not blamed for the violence perpetrated against them simply because of who they are,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois.

Thank you to Gov. Rauner and the sponsors Sen. Daniel Biss of Evanston and state Rep. Litesa Wallace of Rockford.

READ MORE

 

Birth Certificate Bill Signed

August 25, 2017

Legislative sponsors, Equality Illinois, and ACLU of Illinois are celebrating the signing by Governor Bruce Rauner of House Bill 1785, modernizing the Illinois Vital Records Act and allowing transgender and intersex individuals to change the gender marker on their birth certificates without undergoing gender reassignment surgery.

Thank you to Gov. Rauner and the sponsors state Senator Toi Hutchinson and state Rep. Greg Harris.

READ MORE

 


Fahrenheit Chicago To Honor Two Health Advocates

August 25, 2017

Two public health advocates who work to improve the lives of LGBTQ Illinoisans will be honored Sunday at Fahrenheit Chicago–Pride South on the Lake, an end-of-summer, daylong beach party this Sunday that will feature entertainment, games, civic engagement, and health outreach.

The two honorees are Anne Carmack of the CORE Foundation and Serette King of Howard Brown Health.

Anne Carmack is the Grants/Development Manager at the CORE Foundation, an affiliate of the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center, the largest provider of HIV/AIDS services in Chicago and the Midwest. Serette King is the Manager of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Outreach Services at Howard Brown Health.

Join us 11am-7pm on Sunday, August 27 at Oakwood Beach, on the Chicago Lakefront at 41st Street.

FAHRENHEIT DETAILS