EQIL INSIDER SCOOP                        FEBRUARY 2014




In the February EQIL Insider Scoop:

-Guests of honor
United We Fly
DC Meetings
EQIL Guide to Name and Gender Marker Changes

EQILPAC Endorsements
Everest Challenge
EQIL’s Randy Hannig Departing
Rep. Cross Briefing
Reaching You Everywhere
What the Future Holds
Joliet Marriage Forum



GALA WEEK = One week from today, on Saturday, February 8, some 1,400 supporters of Equality Illinois will enter the Hilton Chicago for the biggest and most elegant LGBT soiree in the Midwest, including the state’s top political leaders and some of Illinois’ biggest names. Keep track of gala developments on social media at #EQILGALA.






The Equality Illinois 2014 Gala will feature:


Equality Illinois Gala Chair Col. (IL) Jennifer N. Pritzker, IL ARNG (Retired) Equality Illinois Freedom Award winner Lana Wachowski Equality Illinois Freedom Award winner Chicago Urban League Equality Illinois Freedom Award winner U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk of Illinois Equality Illinois Business Leadership Award winner State Farm

 = Two major Illinois institutions welcomed a 
unique partnership last month, as Equality Illinois announced that Chicago-based United Airlines is becoming the Exclusive Airline for the state’s oldest and largest advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Illinoisans. The partnership makes United the first choice for air travel by Equality Illinois.



DC MEETINGS = An Equality Illinois delegation spent a day in Washington, DC in January meeting with leaders to discuss a wide range of issues and emphasizing that despite great gains in 2013, the agenda remains full and there should be no complacency.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, U.S. Rep. Brad Schneider, and Obama administration officials were very receptive and welcomed the input.

The issues included the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, stronger anti-bullying measures, full implementation of the Supreme Court decision recognizing the validity of same-sex marriages, immigration reform, ending the automatic ban on MSM blood donations, an executive order requiring government contractors to codify non-discrimination and opposing LGBT discrimination abroad.



The Equality Illinois team meeting with Sen. Dick Durbin included (l-r) Director of DevelopmentMichael Nordman, CEO Bernard Cherkasov, Sen. Durbin, and Director of Public Policy Randy Hannig.Sitting down with Obama Administration officials in the White House complex, including Dr. Matt Heinz, Director of Provider & LGBT Outreach Office of the Secretary US Department of Health & Human Services, special advisor to the presidentMichael Gottlieb, and White House advisor on public engagement Gautam Raghavan.House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi met with the Equality Illinois delegation, including, to her right, EQIL CEO Bernard Cherkasov.

Guide to Name and Gender Marker Changes, an Equality Illinois tool kit designed to assist transgender individuals facing the sometimes difficult task of changing their names and identification documents, was released last month.

The 44-page Equality Illinois Guide to Name and Gender Marker Changes includes the forms that will be needed, the government offices to contact, and step-by-step instructions. Read and download it HERE.


ELECTION 2014 = The frigid weather is not cooling down the heat being generated by the upcoming March 18 Illinois primary election. With the election approaching, the Equality Illinois Political Action Committee, the political affiliate of Equality Illinois, is beginning the process of announcing whom it is endorsing.

The recognized candidates have a strong record of support for LGBT issues, particularly during last year’s heated debate over the freedom to marry. 


The Illinois Observerpolitical newsletter recognized the endorsements from Equality Illinois PAC as coming from “the leading group” in the effort to defend legislators who supported the marriage bill.

Read the endorsements from the Equality Illinois PAC HERE.



EVEREST CHALLENGE = You can conquer Mt. Everest from the relative comfort of running, biking or stair-climbing without leaving home and help Chicago climber Joe Rudy realize his dream to climb the world’s tallest mountain on behalf of marriage equality. For $99 you will receive a 5-week membership to FFC Gyms and participation in the Everest Challenge to raise awareness of LGBT rights!

All proceeds will benefit Everest4Equality, Joe’s plan to climb Mt. Everest to aid the work of Equality Illinois and the Human Rights Campaign. Get the full details here and SIGN UP HERE.



HANNIG DEPARTING = Equality Illinois and Randy Hannig, our Director of Public Policy, annouced last month Randy’s intention to leave the organization shortly after the March 18 Illinois primary election.

In writing about the departure, The Illinois Observer newsletter said about Randy, “Hannig played a significant role in the long and grueling effort to pass same-sex marriage and was often seen as an effective conduit between the gay community and lawmakers who previously had little contact with the movement,” and added, “Several insiders familiar with his work gave Hannig high marks for being one of the adults in the room during difficult negotiations.”




Rep. Tom Cross (on right), chats with (l-r) Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois and Ray J. Koenig III, managing partner of the Chicago office of Clark Hill and treasurer of the Equality Illinois Political Action Committee.

 = State Rep. Tom Cross, a candidate for the Republican nomination for Illinois state treasurer, briefed Equality Illinois members during January about issues facing state government. The breakfast meeting presented by Merrill Lynch in the Chicago offices of Clark Hill was one in a series of sessions Equality Illinois regularly holds with top opinion leaders and newsmakers.

Cross, the former Republican leader of the Illinois House, voted for the freedom to marry last November.



REACHING YOU EVERYWHERE = There’s no escaping Equality Illinois’ enhanced presence on the web and in social media. Find us at:

WWW.EQIL.ORG = Our new website

WIKIPEDIA (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equality_Illinois)

FACEBOOK (https://www.facebook.com/equalityillinois)

TWITTER (@equalityill)

INSTAGRAM (@equalityill)

WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS = Calendar of Upcoming Events

8 FEBRUARY  – Equality Illinois 2014 Gala – 6pm-Midnight @ Hilton Chicago (720 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago)
MARCH 2014
7 MARCH – First Friday – 6-8 pm @ Sidetrack (3349 N. Halsted, Chicago)
10 MARCH – Joliet Marriage Forum – 6-7 pm @Joliet Junior College (1215 Houbolt Rd., Joliet) –

If you would like an Equality Illinois speaker at your event at work, a local civic organization, on campus, a union meeting, your religious group, a home EQIL fundraiser, or wherever, please contact us atinfo@eqil.org or call 773-477-7173.

Stay informed of LGBT-equality matters by visiting us at www.eqil.org.  Also, please follow us on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.  

We can only succeed in our mission if you stand with us, so please make a financial contribution today.


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