Author Archive


Restore Voting Rights for LGBTQ Incarcerated People

October 15, 2021

LGBTQ people who are caught up in the criminal legal system face unique challenges, but they should not lose their right to vote and their ability to participate in democratic life. Tell your state legislators to vote YES for the Voting in Prisons Bill. Advanced by Chicago Votes, this bill would restore voting rights to people incarcerated in Illinois prisons.

LGBTQ people are disproportionately impacted by the prison system. According to the Movement Advancement Project, 7.9% of adults in prisons are LGBT, and 20% of youth in juvenile detention facilities are LGBT. Put differently, LGBT adults and youth are twice as likely to be incarcerated as non-LGBT adults and youth. When incarcerated, LGBTQ people – all people in prisons, in fact– are denied the right to vote.

Yet, the almost 30,000 people in Illinois prisons are still impacted by the decisions of elected officials. Without ensuring that people in prison can vote, their lives and the communities they come from lack representation. The Voting in Prisons Bill will uplift the voices of communities that are disproportionately harmed by the criminal legal system and will bring our democracy into the 21st Century.

Tell your state legislators to vote for the Voting in Prisons Bill:


Hispanic Heritage Month!

September 15, 2021

It’s Hispanic Heritage Month! From September 15th to October 15th, we will be honoring Latinx LGBTQ+ trailblazers and organizations who are doing amazing things in our community!

Sylvia Rivera was a Venezuelan/Puerto Rican American trans activist. Most known as one of the inciters of the monumental Stonewall Uprising in New York City, along with her friend, Marsha P. Johnson. Sylvia also helped found STAR, a group dedicated to helping homeless trans youth. In addition to being one of the first trans youth shelters STAR was also one of the first political organizations for trans rights in the world. Today the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP) is named in her honor. SRLP is a non-profit organization that engages in policy work and provides trainings and free legal services for trans, intersex, and gender non-conforming low-income people of color.


EI Gala 2022

September 14, 2021

We are excited to announce that the Equality Illinois Gala is returning to the Hilton Chicago on February 5, 2022. Refer to the Save the Date above for more details. We can’t wait to see you in celebration and solidarity; it’s time to get back together, better than ever!
If you are interested in sponsoring the Gala, purchasing a table, or any other information, click button below


Apply for our 2021- 2022 Community Advisory Group!

July 13, 2021

Apply for our 2021- 2022 Community Advisory Group!

The Equality Illinois Community Advisory Group is a diverse cross-section of voices from across Illinois that informs the policy positions and initiatives we adopt and pursue in our work to secure and defend the equal and inclusive rights of LGBTQ Illinoisans.

If you’re interested in serving on the group, go to the application page to review the objectives and responsibilities of the Community Advisory Group, then download, complete, and return the form. Applications are due no later than August 20, 2021. Together, we will advance justice and equality in Illinois.


Radicalism Is Part Of Our History

June 22, 2021

Radicalism is part of our history.  The LGBTQ community has achieved the levels of equality we enjoy today in part because members of our community refused to play nice.  The Stonewall uprising afterall was a riot.  And anger – anger at powerful institutions, governments, and people – is an appropriate and understandable response to the injustices we continue to face.  When one out of every five young people caught up in the criminal justice system identify as LGBTQ and when 22% of LGBTQ people live in poverty (including 30% of trans folx); rage at the systems which over criminalize us and marginalize us economically is absolutely legitimate.

And just as radicalism is a central part of queer liberation, so is inclusion.  We are also a community that has opened our arms wide to bring in as many LGBTQ people and our allies as possible.  Over the past decades, our rage and our love have worked together to build a movement that has achieved unprecedented wins.

As we move toward the end of Pride month, we will see (and indeed have seen) the full range of queer expression manifest.  We encourage our community and our allies to hold space for the diversity of response to LGBTQ injustices.  We also call on our community and our allies to avoid any calls – explicit or implicit – to violence against groups or individuals as part of our march toward full queer liberation.  Anger has a role in our movement; violence does not.  As a community, we are our best when we pair our rage with our love.


EI supports Cook County Gender-Inclusive Documents

June 22, 2021

Today, the Cook County Board’s Human Relations Committee will meet to consider Commissioner Kevin B. Morrison’s ordinance to make county forms and documents gender-inclusive.

Read the written statement submitted by Myles Brady Davis, Press Secretary and Director of Communications, in support of the ordinance


PRIDE 2021: IL’s Got Talent WINNER!

June 7, 2021

BIG congratulations to our Pride 2021: IL’s Got Talent winning artist, Mikey Everything!
Also, special THANK YOU to our amazing Sponsors and fierce Host Committee members for their generosity in supporting the mission of Equality Illinois to build a more equitable state for LGBTQ people.


THE 2021 Post-Session Legislative Update

June 3, 2021

The 2021 spring session of the Illinois General Assembly has largely wrapped up. EI’s Policy Director Mike Ziri wants to share an update with you on the progress of several key bills that EI was leading or co-leading. Mike spent the last 3 weeks at the state capitol in Springfield, working with legislators and partners to pass key legislation, such as the Keeping Youth Safe and Healthy Act (SB 818) and election legislation to allow trans folks to run for office without having to disclose their deadnames on the ballot and on nominating petitions.



Happy PRIDE Month!

June 2, 2021


Mony Ruiz-Velasco will join the Equality Illinois team

May 24, 2021

We are excited to announce that Mony Ruiz Velasco will join Equality Illinois as its Deputy Director on July 15th.


Pride 2021: Illinois’ Got Talent Finalists!

May 19, 2021

We are thrilled to announce the Pride 2021: Illinois’ Got Talent Finalists:

Turns out, the LGBTQ community in Illinois has too much talent to fit only five finalists. Ties in two regions mean that all ticket purchasers for the event will get to vote for one of the following SEVEN finalists:

        • From the Chicago region (TIED!): musical performances Ren Braceros and Kevin Mandla
        • From the Collar Counties region (TIED!): musical performances from Mikey Everything and London Anderson
        • From the North region: a short story from Joel Shoemaker
        • From the Central region: a musical performance from Luke McQuillan
        • From the South region: visual art from Kane Crain


Support these artists and the work of Equality Illinois by buying your ticket TODAY!

(Remember, every ticket purchased = 1 vote for the winner of the $500 cash prize.)

If you are interested in joining our Host Committee, click HERE or contact me at eboyce@eqil.org. If you are interested in becoming a corporate sponsor or supporter, click HERE or contact me at eboyce@eqil.org.

More exciting announcements to come soon!




2021 Virtual LGBTQ Advocacy Day

May 7, 2021



EI’s Pride 2021

May 7, 2021


EI’s Pride 2021

April 27, 2021

We have great news!

We have extended the entry deadline for Equality Illinois’ Pride 2021 Got Talent by another week – you now have until MAY 3rd at 5pm to get those talents in!



April 6, 2021

Today is your last day to vote in local elections for important offices like school boards, city councils, and townships!

You can vote until 7 p.m. If you are in line to vote at 7 p.m., stay in line. Find your voting location: https://ova.elections.il.gov/PollingPlaceLookup.aspx.


EI announces Pride 2021: Illinois’ Got Talent

March 25, 2021

Are you an Illinois LGBTQ artist of any kind? Do you want to share your pride and your talent to win $500?

Equality Illinois announces Pride 2021: Illinois’ Got Talent. We’re going to scour the state for the best LGBTQ talent Illinois has to offer. Five regional finalists will compete for a $500 cash grand prize. You’re all talented. You’re all proud. Who will win? Illinois will decide!

Please note, if you are below 18 years of age, you will need permission of a parent or guardian to enter!

Good luck!


2021 Virtual LGBTQ Advocacy Day

March 8, 2021

With the Illinois legislative session in full swing, we want to invite you to SHOW UP! and SPEAK UP! for LGBTQ equality and inclusion during the 2021 Virtual LGBTQ Advocacy Day on May 12, 2021.

While LGBTQ Advocacy Day will look different this year, we must still SHOW UP! and SPEAK UP! to make sure that our state continues to demonstrate its values of being fully equal and inclusive. This is a great opportunity to virtually engage with fellow supporters of LGBTQ equality and let your voice be heard on issues that affect us all, such as the REACH Act (HB 1736) and HIV Decriminalization Bill (SB 655).

Individuals who register will participate in a virtual lunch program and virtual early evening reception and be asked to take 5-6 civic actions throughout the day (30 seconds each).

Register for the 2021 Virtual LGBTQ Advocacy Day TODAY!



What a night!

February 11, 2021

Our 30th Anniversary Gala last Saturday was an incredible success.  Our deepest appreciation goes out to our sponsors, host committee members, and all our guests who joined us for the celebration!  Because of their generosity of spirit, we raised the funds Equality Illinois needs year round to fight for the civil rights of LGBTQ Illinoisans!

If you weren’t able to join us the night of the Gala (or just want to enjoy it all again!), you can watch the event on YouTube HERE



So many Champions!

February 9, 2021

Today we are able to do more for LGBTQ+ Illinoisans because our generous sponsors have stepped up to champion our community. We thank all of these organizations and companies for their continued support prioritizing LGBTQ+ communities all across Illinois.



Black History Month

February 8, 2021


Bayard Rustin (1912-1987)

A master strategist and tireless activist, Bayard Rustin is best remembered as the organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, one of the largest nonviolent protests ever held in the United States. It took 8 weeks to organize the march and Rustin did it without cell phones, email, or social media. He brought Gandhi’s protest techniques to the American civil rights movement, and helped mold Martin Luther King, Jr. into an international symbol of peace and nonviolence. Despite these achievements, Rustin was silenced, threatened, arrested, beaten, imprisoned and fired from important leadership positions, largely because he was an openly gay man in a fiercely homophobic era. In 2013 Rustin was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.


Equality Illinois 30th Anniversary Virtual Gala!

February 3, 2021

Click Here to make a donation


Black History Month

February 1, 2021

Equality Illinois is proud to honor Black History Month by celebrating the contributions of the Black community to the LGBTQ liberation movement. Throughout February we will be recognizing Black heroes who have made contributions to the LGBTQ movement.


EI 2019-2020 Annual Report

January 28, 2021

This past year challenged the LGBTQ community in ways we could never have imagined, but we are proud to have worked with you to help place Illinois at the cutting edge of LGBTQ full equality.

While there is much to celebrate, I hope you will take note that we:

This past year we:

    • Provided over $100,000 in direct cash grants to downstate LGBTQ Illinoisans suffering the impacts of the COVID-19 crisis;
    • Connected over 10,000 LGBTQ Illinoisans with COVID resources through our Virtual Town Halls and our COVID-19 Resource Hub;
    • Introduced legislation which would require the teaching of LGBTQ-affirming sex-ed in schools;
    • Launched Illinois’ first ever single-day Pride including dozens of communities across the state;
    • Partnered with community groups and the State of Illinois to make government issued identity documents more inclusive and accessible for Trans and Gender Non-conforming Illinoisans.


There has been a beacon of change in the fight for LGBTQ people in Illinois this past year. We need to stay the course until every LGBTQ person has equal rights! We hope you will continue to partner with us going forward to help transform our state into the fully equal and accepting place we believe it can be.



What’s for dinner during the Gala? We have some ideas!

January 22, 2021

The countdown to the big day is on! Enjoy the Gala on February 6 while supporting LGBTQ-owned restaurants with a special custom meal from your choice of Illinois restaurants. You can pre-order your Gala feast for delivery or pickup directly from Lady Gregory’sThe Birdcage or Wilde Chicago. We are proud to promote these LGBTQ businesses who need our support now more than ever!   


Please note that all transactions will take place directly between you and your restaurant of choice – ordering through Equality Illinois is not an option.

Get your 30th Anniversary Gala ticket TODAY!



January 12, 2021

As the Illinois General Assembly navigates the remaining 24 hours of the 101st General Assembly in Springfield, Equality Illinois applauds the bold leadership of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus in their work to eliminate systemic racism and advance long overdue and long delayed equity and justice for Black Illinoisans, including Black LGBTQ Illinoisans.

We know the legislative process is fast moving and will involve thoughtful debates and substantive amendments.  We want to take the time to thank the Black Caucus for the reforms on the table, reforms that will make the lives of Black Illinoisans, including Black LGBTQ Illinoisans, better.  There is much to call out about these remarkable pieces of legislation.  We admire the robust criminal justice reforms, including limiting the use of force by police officers, safeguarding civilian’s rights through heightened accountability for police officers, and strengthening the Illinois Attorney General’s authority to take action against harmful police departments.  We honor the enhanced efforts to ensure educational equity, including the greater emphasis on restorative justice and the teaching of Black history in schools.  We appreciate the proposals to bring about greater economic equity, including a comprehensive approach to equitable economic development and an insistence on meeting equity goals in the state’s historic cannabis legalization law. And we honor the insistence that healthcare equity is only fully realized when healthcare providers are culturally competent and healthcare institutions are collecting the right information.

The Black Caucus agenda is a real opportunity to end systemic racism and build an Illinois that lives up to her values of equality, equity, fairness, justice, and opportunity.  As these bills move through the legislative process and onto the Governor’s desk, we call on all members to keep the spirit of equity and the courage to be bold at the center of the work.