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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.

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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

 

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.