Springfield LGBT Equality Institute

Presented by Equality Illinois
 Springfield Equality Institute

Sponsored by Equality Illinois on Aug. 29, 2015, the LGBT Equality Institute brought together activists, experts, civic leaders and the community to Springfield.

We covered topics that included non-discrimination, mental health care, transgender equality, safe schools, faith, ally development, youth, state initiatives and policy, and more, with a special emphasis on the services, programs and issues central to Illinoisans outside of Chicago.

Equality Illinois also announced an expanded statewide strategy that includes opening of a central Illinois office in Springfield and a network of strategic local partnerships beginning with the Phoenix Center in Springfield. Read more on the announcement.

Equality Illinois was proud to be the venue this weekend for the public unveiling of the survey “EXAMINING ATTITUDES TOWARDS THE ‘T’ IN LGBT” at the LGBT Equality Institute. 

The new national survey by the University of Illinois Springfield found that more than half of the participating individuals (53.7%) support ‪‎transgender‬ inclusive policies in the U.S. military. This is compared to less than half of respondents report supporting transgender inclusive policies for health and healthcare (40.8%), prisoner’s rights (37.7%), and K-12 education (36.9%). Read more on the survey.

A special thank you to all community sponsors: Phoenix Center, Prairie Pride Coalition, Coalition of Rainbow Alliances (CORAL), Gay & Lesbian Association of Decatur (GLAD) Planned Parenthood Illinois Action, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Trans Lifeline, Illinois Times, The UP Center of Champaign County, Illinois Collaboration on Youth, State Senator Andy Manar, Illinois State AFL – CIO, Springfield Park Board President Leslie Sgro, National LGBTQ Task Force, and The National Center for Lesbian Rights.

Here is a photo gallery of the day:



10:00 – 10:50am: Opening Plenary

Welcome – Springfield Mayor James O. Langfelder

Faith and Equality Issues – Moderated by Rev. Martin Woulfe (Pastor of Abraham Lincoln Unitarian Universalist Congregation), Panelists: Dr. Caryn Riswold, Ph.D. (Professor of Religion, Gender and Women’s Studies at Illinois College), Rev. Jamie Frazier (Pastor of the Lighthouse Church of Chicago), Rev. Rachelle Brown (Metropolitan Community Churches), Rev. Cindi Knox (St. Michael’s United Church of Christ of West Chicago)

11:00 – 11:50am: Breakout #1

Public Support for LGBT Policies: Where are we going next? – Jason Pierceson (Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Illinois- Springfield), Ashley Kirzinger (Director of the Survey Research Office, University of Illinois – Springfield), and Ramona Faith Oswald (University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana)

What’s OUT There? – Services in Central Illinois – Jonna Cooley, PhD (Phoenix Center), and Cindy Martsch (Springfield Public Schools)

Beyond the Binary: Tools for Expanding Our Understanding of Gender – Sara Jo Malinske and Patty Dillon (Equality Illinois)

12:00 – 12:50pm: Lunch Plenary

State of the State – Moderated by Mike Ziri (Equality Illinois), Special Guests: Senator Andy Manar (Decatur) and Representative Litesa Wallace (Rockford)

1:00 to 2:15pm: Breakout #2

The Illinois State Budget: Using digital media to cultivate and mobilize advocates – Joshua Oaks (AIDS Foundation of Chicago)

Incorporating Intersectionality in Discussions and Practice of LGBTQ Activism – Deirdre Myers (Northwestern University) and Nicole Holmes

Trans-itioning Illinois: Building a More Just Society for Transgender People – Alexis Paige, Emma Todd, and Gavin Taylor (Trans Lifeline), Monica James (Transformative Justice Law Project)

2:30 to 3:45pm: Breakout #3

Can My Employer Do That? A Discussion of LGBT Employment Rights – Sara Benson (Univ. of Illinois College of Law)

Community Organizing 101 – Aquiles Damiron-Alcantara (Organizing for Action)

Discussing Mental Health Care Issues for the Transgender Community – Dr. Patricia Berne, PhD

4:00 – 4:50pm: Closing Plenary

Youth Issues – Moderated by Patty Dillon (Equality Illinois), Panelists: Lawrence Carter (Illinois Safe Schools Alliance), Heather Howard (LGBT yOUTh Center in Springfield), Cindy Martsch (Springfield Public Schools), and Curtis Galloway