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.
“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.”
With the Trump election and Republican sweep, the anti-LGBTQ flood gates have been opened on a national scale:
· The First Amendment Defense Act, legislation that would establish a free pass for any business, agency, or person to discriminate against LGBTQ people, has significant support among Congressional Republicans. President-elect Trump has promised to sign it. Your support of $25 strengthens our voice when we call on our allies in Congress to take every means necessary to block this hateful bill.
· Vice-President-elect Mike Pence is calling for the end of Education Department guidance affirming non-discrimination protections for transgender students. Equality Illinois will use your $25 to activate our base to call on your elected officials to remind them of the lasting harm that discrimination in schools has on our youth.
· Anti-LGBTQ groups are salivating at the prospect of President-elect Trump striking down President Obama’s executive order protecting LGBTQ people who work for thousands of federal contractors from discrimination in the workplace. Your donation will help us let Trump know that LGBTQ Illinoisans and our allies hold him responsible for protecting all Americans from discrimination.
Your civil rights protections should not be at risk with the change in administrations, but that’s the reality we face and we will resist at every turn. Now is the time to deepen your commitment to equality and justice; donate $25 today. Everyone who donates will have their named added to our letter to the president-elect, letting him know our interests must be respected!
Equality Illinois will be adopting a new strategic plan effective July 1, 2017 that will outline our civil rights agenda for the upcoming 4 years. In order to make sure our agenda is most reflective of the diverse viewpoints of the LGBTQ and allied community in Illinois, we need your input.
Please take a few minutes to fill out the online survey. Not only will you have a chance to inform our civil rights agenda, but every week 2 people who complete the survey will win a $50 American Express gift card.
Donate on Giving Tuesday to ensure that the fight for true lived equality will continue UNTIL WE’RE ALL EQUAL!
Feeling excited and empowered after more than 200 LGBTQ stakeholders and allies came together on Monday night for a Post-Election Action Forum to discuss how to react to the Trump-Pence administration, we are determined to be vigilant in fighting for our rights over the next four years, and we are asking everyone to step up to help.
On Giving Tuesday, please help Equality Illinois with at least a $25 donation.
As part of our commitment to an ongoing dialogue with stakeholders across Illinois, Equality Illinois is launching a Community Advisory Group – a diverse cross-section of voices from across Illinois to inform the policy positions and initiatives we adopt and pursue in our work to secure and defend the equal and inclusive rights of LGBTQ Illinoisans.
The group will be composed of 20 individuals. If you’re interested, go to the application page to review the objectives and responsibilities of the Community Advisory Group, then download, complete, and return the form.
We want to make sure the Community Advisory Group includes the diverse views of LGBTQ Illinoisans from every corner of the state. Together, we will advance justice and equality in Illinois.
In the first months of the tenure of new Equality Illinois CEO Brian C. Johnson, he’s been on a listening tour throughout Illinois, in big cities, college towns and small hamlets, to listen to LGBTQ stakeholders, to hear your stories, and learn about your hopes and fears for the future.
Today, he is publishing his report on what he heard and what Equality is going to do about it.
In his report, Brian recounts the concerns over issues such as educational equality, healthcare access, criminal justice fairness, and safety in our communities. And he outlines the beginning steps of how Equality Illinois will address these concerns in the months and years ahead. Please read his detailed report.
This is the final stretch until voting begins in the all-important 2016 election for president, U.S. Senate, Congress, the Illinois General Assembly and other races. Are you ready?
Passage of the state ban on conversion therapy. The end of “don’t ask, don’t tell” in the military. The Obama Administration executive order banning LGBT discrimination by federal contractors. These laws and policies were made possible only because people like you registered and voted for officials who support LGBT rights.
Check out our Voter Registration Guide to learn how you can take care of your registration needs in a manner of minutes online, through the mail or in person at voter registration events at the Center on Halsted.
Election Day is Nov. 8, but early voting begins in Illinois on Sept. 29. Your vote counts!
With his selection of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as the Republican vice presidential nominee, Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee for president, is demonstrating a callous disregard for LGBT Americans and our families.
As a private citizen, a member of Congress and in the Indiana statehouse, Gov. Pence has rejected recognizing that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are equal under the law and under standards of human decency.
Pence opposed federal HIV funding, he supported “gay conversion” therapy, he opposed marriage equality, and he promoted state-sanctioned LGBT discrimination.
We mourn the victims of the shooting in the Orlando nightclub Pulse, a popular gay venue. While we don’t know yet the motive of the shooter, we do know we should all feel safe in our homes, schools and places of business and entertainment. Our hearts go out to the Orlando LGBT community and the family and friends of the victims, and we wish a speedy recovery to the injured.
You should not have to prove your gender identity to use facilities at a restaurant, hotel, or grocery store. But currently, in the City of Chicago, a transgender or gender non-conforming person could be asked to show proof of gender identity in the form of a government-issued ID. That’s fundamentally unfair.
That is why Equality Illinois supports a newly introduced Chicago Equal Access Ordinance that would prohibit places of public accommodations from asking patrons to show a government ID as proof of gender identity to use the restroom.
Tell your alderman to vote for the ordinance that would ensure full equal access to public accommodations consistent with a person’s gender identity (Ordinance 2016-3973). If you don’t know your alderman or how to get it touch, look it up here.
EqualityCon 2016, hosted by Equality Illinois Institute, on May 13-14, 2016 at the University of Illinois at Chicago, brought together advocates and experts to discuss the state of LGBT issues and how we can advance the cause UNTIL WE’RE ALL EQUAL.
We discussed the federal Equality Act with chief sponsor Rep. David Cicilline and Rep. Jan Schakowsky and state issues to employment, adoption, gender diversity, racial justice, trans advocacy, faith, the rural experience and aging.
Revisit the interesting and energizing two-day conference, including a video of Rep. Cicilline’s remarks, in the EqualityCon gallery.
EqualityCon 2016 in Chicago is just two weeks away on May 13-14! Do not miss your chance to register for Illinois’ premier organizing and educational conference for the LGBT community and allies in our state! This is your chance to discuss the future of our movement and garner practical skills.
Sessions will cover: Employment, adoption, gender diversity, racial justice, Trans advocacy, faith, the rural experience, and senior care.
“EqualityCon is an opportunity for advocates to sit down with experts, a chance to listen and to share, a time to learn and to educate on issues important to LGBT Illinoisans,” said Patty Medairy, Director of Field Operations at Equality Illinois.
This legislative session is a busy one for champions of LGBT equality in Illinois. With proposed legislation and a budget impasse that has the ability to significantly affect many in our community, now is the time to tell Springfield where we stand. Register for the 2016 LGBT Advocacy Day on Wed., April 13!
This daylong advocacy event in Springfield includes lobbying training, lunch, meetings with legislators, and a visit to the capitol and concludes with a reception at the Illinois State Library.
This is a great opportunity to meet with fellow supporters of LGBT equality and let your voice be heard on a series of issues that affect us all.
It’s happened in other states, and now it’s happening in Illinois. A shameful bill, which would force transgender students to use separate school facilities from their peers, has advanced to the Illinois House Human Services Committee. We need to stop it in its tracks! Sign the petition at the link below.
We’ll deliver the petition to the legislators on the committee, which could take action on this bill in April, and to your representative.
HB 4474 is an awful and harmful policy that would write discrimination into Illinois law and make schools less safe. Please sign the petition.
President Obama performed his constitutional duty by nominating Judge Merrick Garland to fill the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.
Join Equality Illinois in calling on the U.S. Senate to do your job and our two Senators, Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk, to carry through on their constitutional responsibilities to fairly and thoroughly consider the nomination and hold a confirmation vote within a reasonable time.
This Supreme Court nomination is likely to set the direction of the nation’s highest court for a generation. LGBT Americans and our families and friends know how important that is, with the court’s decision affirming our right to marry not even one year old.
This legislative session is a busy one for champions of #LGBT equality in Illinois. With proposed legislation and a budget impasse that has the ability to significantly affect many in our community, now is the time to tell lawmakers where we stand.
Join us on Wed., April 13, from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM for Equality Illinois’ LGBT ADVOCACY DAY.
On #GivingTuesday, let’s remember those who are vulnerable and feel excluded. Equality Illinois is committed to building a better Illinois, so that every individual no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression can feel included and live equally.
We want this holiday season to be happy time for the LGBT community in our state, so we have launched a campaign called The Season of Inclusion to bring together people alongside our community partners, in different parts of the state. From Bloomington-Normal to the Chicagoland to Champaign-Urbana, we are hosting these activities to bring together our community at a critical time as we continue to advance equal treatment and social justice.
With this being #GivingTuesday and the celebration of the 25th year of Equality Illinois’ founding, can you make a one-time, tax-deductible donation to help us make sure that no one is left behind in our continued fight for equality?
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals and their children and families are part of the fabric of Illinois. And many Illinois families rely on critical state-administered services such as the Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP).
Equality Illinois supports Senate Bill 570, which would restore quality, affordable child care services for tens of thousands of hard-working Illinois families cut by the Rauner administration. Urge your legislator to support the bill when the General Assembly returns on Tuesday.
Earlier this year, the Rauner Administration imposed extreme eligibility requirements that will disqualify 90 percent of applicants who were previously eligible for child care through the CCAP. Parents who want to work would be forced to leave their jobs for the lack of child care. This does not enhance the economy of Illinois or ensure lived equality for these families.
A special message from Art Johnston, Equality Illinois co-founder:
As we enter Equality Illinois’ 25th year, I look back in astonishment at what we accomplished together, and feel so positive about our collective ability to tackle the challenges ahead.
If you went out in the 1970s to a bar where gay and trans people gathered, there was a chance that you wouldn’t get home that night, that the bar would be raided, you would get arrested, the media alerted, and the next day you would find yourself described in your hometown paper as a regular at a ‘pervert’ bar. And then, you could – legally – get fired from your job.
That may sound like ancient history. But as recently as 2005, in most of our state, you could be legally fired from your job, legally denied an apartment or service at a restaurant if the person in charge didn’t like LGBT people. And let me tell you: the rights and protections that we as a community have today are a result of years and years of work by community activists, courageous legislators, and the loud and proud support of our entire community.
We absolutely cannot do this without you and our community is counting on you to step up — make your donation of $25 or more to celebrate 25 years of advances for equality by clicking HERE.
Our community has come a very long way, but translating the legal victories into actual, lived equality is work that takes focused effort and vigilance. The transgender community in particular still faces disproportionate rates of violence and widespread lack of access to quality healthcare. LGBTQ-identified students are still more likely to be bullied in schools.
So how do we, after such momentous victories, keep going to ensure full, lived equality for all in our community – especially those most vulnerable? One way is by supporting the work of Equality Illinois. Regardless of whether you’ve given generously in the past, or just now have the chance, please join me in recommitting to the crucial next steps in Illinois for this movement.
This is your perfect opportunity: all donations made in September will be doubled, as Equality Illinois enters its 25th year. Contribute $25 to celebrate 25 years, and MillerCoors will double that to fuel Equality Illinois’ important work that lies ahead.
Last week, Equality Illinois submitted this 88-page petition to Governor Rauner asking him to protect LGBT youth from dangerous, discredited “conversion therapy” and sign House Bill 217.
Speaking with a strong voice to protect youth, the thousands of petition signers represent every part of Illinois, from Zion to Carbondale, Quincy to Danville. Thank you for your advocacy to protect LGBT youth so all Illinoisans may #LIVEequal.
If you haven’t already, please send Governor Rauner a personal message asking him to protect LGBT youth and sign HB 217.