Inclusive Curriculum Bill Introduced to Teach LGBTQ History

February 16, 2018

The Illinois Inclusive Curriculum Bill is introduced in the state legislature, an initiative of Equality Illinois and the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance and sponsored by state Sen. Heather Steans of Chicago and state Rep. Anna Moeller, of Elgin, so students will learn about the significant historical events and contributions by LGBTQ people.

Some examples: The nation’s first gay rights organization, the Society for Human Rights, was formed in 1924 in Chicago. Illinoisan Jane Addams, the mother of social work, founder of the Hull House, and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, was in a committed 40-year relationship with her partner, Mary Rozet Smith. The organizer of the 1963 March on Washington, civil rights activist Bayard Rustin, was a gay man. And Sally Ride, the first U.S. woman in space, was a lesbian.

The Illinois School Code already ensures inclusion in history curriculum of the contributions and experiences of other historically marginalized communities, including of people of color, women, immigrant communities, and people with disabilities, so the Illinois Inclusive Curriculum Bill is consistent with current state law and our shared Illinois values of inclusion and respect.



Participate in the SHOW UP, SPEAK UP! agenda

February 8, 2018

It’s time for the Equality Illinois Show Up. Speak Up! 2018 Agenda. Your Equality Illinois team is on the case in Springfield and working to ensure that LGBTQ issues are included in this election across the state. We are asking you to join us in this work and make sure your voices are heard.
· Attend the Chicago Equality Action Academy Feb. 10 or Feb. 11 to learn how to work on elections.
· Show up at the LGBTQ Forum with District 115 candidates in Carbondale on March 6..
· Participate in the Women of Color Candidates Forum in Chicago on March 8.
· Register to vote in the Illinois primary.
· Attend the Equality Illinois Election Party at Sidetrack on March 20.
· Lobby your legislator April 11 on Equality Illinois LGBTQ Advocacy Day in Springfield.



February 4, 2018


Tonight – Sold Out Gala to Feature Bipartisan Support for LGBTQ Rights

February 3, 2018

Tonight, a full house of nearly 1,500 people is expected at the 2018 Equality Illinois Gala to hear about the successes and ongoing challenges of building a stronger Illinois in the face of national headwinds against LGBTQ civil rights.

The gala, which benefits the yearlong statewide LGBTQ civil rights work of Equality Illinois Institute, will recognize Planned Parenthood of Illinois, transgender youth activist Jazz Jennings, and longtime LGBTQ activist Jim Bennett. Guests will also hear from three Illinois residents who will speak on the multidimensional work of the organization and how their lives have been directly impacted by it.

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, and 100 other elected officials and candidates will be introduced, plus community members, dignitaries, and allied supporters plan to attend the gala at the Hilton Chicago.



Gala tickets SOLD OUT! Thank you.

January 23, 2018


Tell Congress: Protect Dreamers

January 16, 2018

Equality Illinois Action Alert – Tell your member of Congress it’s time to act and support a bipartisan permanent legislative solution and pass the Dream Act.

There are over 75,000 LGBTQ Dreamers in the United States.

Ending this program is very much a life-and-death decision for these LGBTQ Dreamers. They not only face expulsion from the only country they know as home; they also would suffer the terrifying likelihood of discrimination and violence after deportation to the country where they are sent because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.


Honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. By Fighting Injustice

January 15, 2018

As we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Equality Illinois honors his legacy and pledges to continue our fight for justice for LGBTQ Illinoisans and all who face inequality UNTIL WE’RE ALL EQUAL.


Women’s March Chicago: March to the Polls

January 13, 2018

In one week, join the Women’s March Chicago: March to the Polls in Grant Park.

On January 20, women and allies will come together in downtown Chicago to celebrate the spirit of the resistance efforts over the past year and unite to focus on the 2018 elections and beyond.

The January 21, 2017 Chicago march and marches throughout Illinois were powerful. 250,000 women and allies showed up in Chicago to raise their voices for issues each of us hold dear. That historic day embodied the ongoing fight for women’s rights. Now, we march on!



Lock in your tickets for Feb. 3 Equality Illinois 2018 Gala

January 3, 2018

In less than a month, more than 1,200 LGBTQ Illinoisans and allies gather on Feb. 3 for the Equality Illinois 2018 Gala, the Midwest’s largest LGBTQ soirée.

Now is the time to lock in your tickets and seating at The gala benefits the ongoing LGBTQ civil rights work of Equality Illinois.

The celebration at the Hilton Chicago Hotel includes honors for longtime LGBTQ activist Jim Bennett, Planned Parenthood of Illinois and transgender youth activist Jazz Jennings, the luxury silent auction, and dancing till midnight.


Three New Laws Advance LGBTQ Equality in 2018

January 1, 2018

Three pro-LGBTQ equality laws that were legislative priorities for Equality Illinois go into effect with the new year. As of Jan. 1, 2018, laws that ban the anti-LGBTQ panic defense, modernize birth certificate changes, and encourage LGBTQ public leadership opportunities will help build a better Illinois.

“Across the country, we have seen attacks on the LGBTQ community increase in number and fervor,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state’s LGBTQ civil rights organization. “But in Illinois in 2017, we demonstrated that we can fight back and win thanks to the hard work of LGBTQ Illinoisans and our allies and the support of leaders in the Statehouse.

But challenges remain and our work continues in 2018.



State Gender Marker Correction Forms Now Available

December 22, 2017

Announcing: Transgender Illinoisans can begin working on the new state forms allowing them to correct the gender marker on birth certificates without requiring expensive and often unnecessary surgery, consistent with modern medical standards. The new law goes into effect Jan. 1, but the Illinois Department of Public Health forms are now online.

One form is for the doctor or mental health professional to fill out and the other is for the transgender or intersex person born in Illinois to complete.

The new law was a 2017 initiative of a coalition including Equality Illinois, the ACLU of Illinois, Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, Howard Brown Health, Lambda Legal, and AIDS Foundation of Chicago. It was sponsored by state Rep. Greg Harris of Chicago and state Sen. Toi Hutchinson of Olympia Fields and signed by Governor Bruce Rauner.



Getting to Zero Town Halls

December 18, 2017

Now is the time for Illinois to build on the state’s tremendous progress in the fight against HIV. New HIV cases in Illinois dropped by nearly 28% over the decade from 2006-2015, and Illinois has nearly eliminated mother-to-child HIV transmission. In the City of Chicago, there have been fewer than 1,000 new HIV cases annually since 2013, the fewest cases reported annually since 1990.

It’s time to take stock of the state’s portfolio of programs targeted for people vulnerable to and living with HIV or for general populations and optimize them for today’s epidemic. Most importantly, it’s imperative that we eradicate health disparities so everyone–regardless of HIV status–can thrive. That’s why it’s time for an Illinois Getting to Zero plan.

Your input is so important to make sure our Getting to Zero work is successful and that it makes a difference for people living with and vulnerable to HIV. We are looking forward to gathering your thoughts, ideas and hopes for Getting to Zero in Illinois.

Attend a Getting to Zero Town Hall during January in Normal, Waukegan, Springfield, Moline, Carbondale, Collinsville, and Champaign. Find dates and details.



LGBTQ and Jewish organizations challenge Tribune editorial on bakery case

December 11, 2017

In the Sunday Chicago Tribune, nearly two dozen LGBTQ, Jewish and social justice agencies challenged the tone and substance of an editorial that supported the Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a gay couple.

Chicago Tribune promotes editorial on Twitter

“Comparing a same-sex couple looking to buy a cake honoring their love to Nazis seeking to buy a swastika cake is appalling. We remind the board that an estimated 15,000 LGBTQ people were rounded up and systemically murdered by Nazis in the Holocaust. Your comparison is bullish and insensitive,” the organizations said to the Chicago Tribune Editorial Board.

“Second, the board’s dismissive approach to the indignity experienced by the plaintiffs–David Mullins and Charlie Craig–minimizes the reality LGBTQ people face in many communities every day.”

The letter was signed by the Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, Pride Action Tank, Equality Illinois, and the Jewish Community Relations Council of the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago on behalf of the other organizations.



Replay: LGBTQ Forum with the Democratic Candidates for Governor

December 8, 2017

On Dec. 6, 2017, the five Democratic candidates for governor met in a historic statewide forum in that was the first ever in Illinois to focus solely on LGBTQ issues.

The candidates–Madison County Regional Superintendent of Schools Bob Daiber, businessman Chris Kennedy, anti-violence activist Tio Hardiman, state Sen. Daniel Biss, and businessman J.B. Pritzker–all agreed that issues such as youth homelessness, health care access, immigration fairness, equal treatment of transgender students and care for elderly community members must be better addressed by the state. The candidates also committed to appointing LGBTQ Illinoisans to senior level positions in their administration if they are elected.

The forum was hosted in Chicago’s historic Second Presbyterian Church, introduced by Anthony C. Galloway of Equality Illinois, moderated by Brian C. Johnson of Equality Illinois, with questions asked by the other cosponsors Imani Rupert-Gordon of Affinity Community Services, Kenny Martín-Ocasio of ALMA Chicago, and Kim L. Hunt of Pride Action Tank.


Equality Illinois to Honor Transgender Youth Activist Jazz Jennings at Gala

November 30, 2017

Jazz Jennings

For her activism on behalf of her fellow transgender youth, Jazz Jennings will be honored at the 2018 Equality Illinois Gala as the first recipient of the Spotlight Award.

The presentation of the Equality Illinois Spotlight Award will be made at the Midwest’s largest LGBTQ formal celebration, to be held on Saturday, February 3, 2018 at the Hilton Chicago, Equality Illinois announced Thursday.

“From a very young age, Jazz was proud and open about being a transgender person, and through the force of her personality she has educated Americans about the challenges, hopes, and dreams of transgender people,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois. “We are thrilled to be able to honor her at our 2018 Gala.”



Sign Up for LGBTQ Forum in One Week

November 29, 2017

Sign up today HERE because in just one week the Democratic candidates for governor meet in the first LGBTQ Forum for statewide candidates ever in Illinois.

Your presence and visibility in Chicago’s historic Second Presbyterian Church on Dec. 6 will display the strength of LGBTQ Illinoisans, our families, and allies. Seating in the church is limited, so register today.

You’ll see state Sen. Daniel Biss​, Madison County Regional Superintendent of Schools Bob Daiber​, anti-violence activist Tio Hardiman​, businessman Chris Kennedy​, and businessman J.B. Pritzker​ answer questions put to them about the issues critical to you by Forum hosts Affinity Community Services​, ALMA Chicago​, the Equality Illinois​ Institute, and Pride Action Tank​.



Your #GivingTuesday Gift Builds LGBTQ Civic Engagement

November 28, 2017

It is a critical time for LGBTQ Civic Leadership, and Equality Illinois Institute needs your support here in Illinois. On GIvingTuesday, Can you make a one-time tax-deductible donation today in the amount of $10, $25, $50, or even $100?

This is the kind of work we do: On November 4 and 5, 50 community advocates from 19 cities around the state convened in Joliet, Illinois with a purpose of amassing LGBTQ power and building up organizations that are more civically engaged in their communities. With attendees from every corner of Illinois, including 50% from outside of Chicago, the feeling of coming together across the state was powerful.

Your gift of $10, $25, $50, or $100 will enable LGBTQ people from Chicago to the Quad Cities and Carbondale to Champaign to become more VISIBLE and POWERFUL through civic leadership. Will you support this effort on #GivingTuesday?


Happy Thanksgiving!

November 23, 2017

HAPPY THANKSGIVING from Equality Illinois! We are so thankful to all of you!

From the donors who make possible our work fighting for LGBTQ civil rights to the volunteers who help us, from LGBTQ organizations throughout Illinois to the allied organizations in the state with whom we share a common purpose of allowing all Illinoisans to live their true lives, from the people who attend our events to the public officials who open their doors and their hearts to our message, and to the vast majority of Illinoisans who believe that LGBTQ rights are human rights and deserve to be respected…THANK YOU!


EI Advisory Board Member Appointed to State Panel

November 20, 2017

Dr. Kathleen Robbins, a member of the Equality Illinois Community Advisory Board, has been appointed to the Illinois Senate Task Force on Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Awareness and Prevention.

The appointment, made by Illinois Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady, is recognition of the prevalence and impact of sexual violence on transgender people.

Kathleen is an excellent addition to the task force. She has significant life experiences, from service in the U.S. Air Force, the business sector, and the non-profit space.



Attend the LGBTQ Forum: The Democratic Candidates for Governor

November 12, 2017

Click HERE to attend the Forum on Dec. 6

Register to attend the Illinois LGBTQ Forum: The Democratic Candidates for Governor, on Wed., Dec. 6 in Chicago.

Participants include state Sen. Daniel Biss, Madison County Regional Superintendent of Schools Bob Daiber, anti-violence activist Tio Hardiman, businessman Chris Kennedy, and businessman JB Pritzker.

We want to hear from these candidates how they would tackle issues important to LGBTQ Illinoisans and what kind of priority they would give them if elected governor.
The forum is presented by Affinity Community Services, the Association of Latinos/as Motivating Action (ALMA Chicago), the Equality Illinois Institute, and Pride Action Tank before an audience at the Second Presbyterian Church, 1936 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago.



Candidates Forum To Air At Statewide Watch Events

November 9, 2017

The statewide civic power of LGBTQ Illinoisans will be featured at the state’s first Illinois LGBTQ Forum: The Democratic Candidates for Governor, which will include statewide viewing sites.

Organized by Affinity Community Services, the Association of Latinos/as Motivating Action (ALMA), the Equality Illinois Institute, and Pride Action Tank, the forum will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 6 at 6-8 p.m. before an audience at the Second Presbyterian Church, 1936 S. Michigan Avenue, in Chicago’s South Loop.

The Democratic candidates who have confirmed their participation are State Sen. Daniel Biss, Madison County Regional Superintendent of Schools Bob Daiber, anti-violence activist Tio Hardiman, businessman Chris Kennedy, and businessman J.B. Pritzker.

In addition to public attendance at the forum in Chicago, Illinoisans will be able to watch a video livestream at locations in Carbondale, Metro East, Normal, Peoria, Quad Cities, and Springfield hosted by local LGBTQ organizations.

You can register to attend the forum in CHICAGO

Or, sign up to attend a livestream event in these locations:








Submit Your Question for the LGBTQ Forum

November 8, 2017

YOU are invited to submit questions for the Illinois LGBTQ Forum: The Democratic Candidates for Governor.

Four weeks from today on Wednesday, Dec. 6, State Sen. Daniel Biss, Madison County Regional Superintendent of Schools Bob Daiber, anti-violence activist Tio Hardiman, businessman Chris Kennedy, and businessman JB Pritzker will sit down with a coalition of organizations that serve and advocate for LGBTQ Illinoisans.

We want to make sure your voices are heard, so submit your questions today.

The event is organized by Affinity Community Services, the Association of Latinos/as Motivating Action (ALMA Chicago), the Equality Illinois Institute, and Pride Action Tank. Co-hosting organizations include the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, CALOR, Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus, Howard Brown Health, HRC Chicago, LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, Peoria Proud, Phoenix Center of Springfield, Prairie Pride Coalition of Bloomington-Normal, Rainbow Cafe LGBT Youth Center of Carbondale, South Side Help Center, Wpt Cares of Metro East, and A.L.P.H.A.S. of the Quad Cities.



Equality Illinois Launches Drive to Advance LGBTQ Public Leadership

October 31, 2017

Equality Illinois is launching a new initiative to build the policy and political power of LGBTQ Illinoisans by linking qualified lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people to openings on key state boards and commissions.

The Boards and Commissions Initiative seeks to enhance the visibility and public leadership of LGBTQ Illinoisans on the important state boards and commissions that are instrumental to the operation of state government and drive major policy decisions.

LGBTQ individuals interested in lending their talents to the state through service on a board or commission can submit their information to Equality Illinois. Equality Illinois will focus on appointments to panels that have power over five key areas that intersect with the needs and priorities of LGBTQ communities: civil rights and civic engagement, economic development, education, health and human services, and public safety and criminal justice but will also encourage service on any board of interest to an LGBTQ Illinoisan.



Municipal Equality Index ranks Chicago first, Naperville last

October 23, 2017

Among larger Illinois communities, Naperville ranks last, scoring only 42 out of a possible 100 points, and Chicago is first in the state with 100 points in the 2017 Municipal Equality Index, the only nationwide rating system of LGBTQ inclusion in municipal law, policy and services.

While local officials in Naperville say it is a welcoming community, the city lost points because of a lack of pro-active leadership and programs.

The survey was conducted by the Equality Federation Institute, of which Equality Illinois is a founding member, and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation.



Equality Illinois PAC Makes First 2018 Endorsements

October 19, 2017

The Equality Illinois PAC is endorsing 32 incumbent legislators in its first round of endorsements as the state heads into the 2018 election cycle.

The Equality Illinois PAC is the only statewide political entity dedicated to defending and securing the rights of LGBTQ Illinoisans though engagement in the electoral process.