Pride Month Celebrated Despite Uncertainty on LGBTQ Rights

Equality Illinois Press Release
 

PRIDE MONTH CELEBRATED DESPITE PERIOD OF UNCERTAINTY FOR LGBTQ RIGHTS

CHICAGO June 1, 2018)–Although LGBTQ civil rights are at a crossroads in the United States and Illinois during 2018 Pride Month, it should not diminish a joyous celebration that begins with the Equality Illinois Pride Kickoff Brunch this Sunday that honors the LGBTQ community and the leaders who help advance LGBTQ civil rights.

Community leaders, public officials, and candidates will join the other brunch guests at Venue West, 221 N. Paulina St., Chicago.

Pride Month 2018 comes at a time of uncertainty for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Illinoisans, with the Supreme Court expected to rule within weeks on whether there is a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people and the Illinois General Assembly not completing action on the Inclusive Curriculum Bill during its spring session.

“LGBTQ civil rights are at a crossroads during 2018 Pride Month,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state’s LGBTQ civil rights organization. “We may be cheering a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the next few weeks in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case that upholds local and state civil rights laws around the country, including in Illinois, that protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. Or, we may be dismayed if the court creates a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people, a position encouraged by the Trump administration.”

Meanwhile, the Illinois General Assembly adjourned its spring session without finishing its work on the Inclusive Curriculum Bill to help LGBTQ children grow up and identify with role models and to help all students understand the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer historical figures and events that contributed to our world. An initiative of Equality Illinois, Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, and the Legacy Project, the bill was sponsored by Sen. Heather Steans in the Senate, where it passed with bipartisan support on a 34-18 vote. It has bipartisan support in the House of Representatives, where it is sponsored by Rep. Anna Moeller, who moved the House vote to the fall.

“While we are disappointed that the Inclusive Curriculum Bill is not yet headed to the Governor’s desk, Equality Illinois will work with Rep. Anna Moeller and our allies through the summer and fall to discuss the merits of the bill with legislators,” Johnson said.

While these uncertainties remain, joyous Pride Month celebrations should continue throughout the state. “These challenges in no way diminish the sense of community and renewal that Pride Month signals, which we will celebrate throughout June,” he said.

The Brunch will feature a keynote address by Annise Parker, the former mayor of Houston and the first out mayor of a major American city, who now works to increase the number of openly LGBTQ officials throughout the country as President and CEO of Victory Fund.

The Equality Illinois Pride Kickoff Brunch will recognize two Illinois activists as 2018 Equality Illinois Community Pride Honorees: Nicole Bashor, who spearheads support for political candidates in Illinois who back pro-LGBTQ policies, and Saúl Aviña Jr., who has spent a decade working on HIV treatment and prevention programs.

The Pride celebration will continue after the brunch at Brunch Remixed. More details for the brunch and Brunch Remixed are available at equalityillinois.org/pridebrunch.