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Equality Illinois 2019 Gala SOLD OUT!

January 18, 2019

As of today, the largest formal LGBTQ equality event in the Midwest, the Equality Illinois 2019 Gala has SOLD OUT of Individual Tickets!

We are incredibly grateful for the breath of support shown to the LGBTQ community. Selling out a venue like the Chicago Hilton demonstrates how important LGBTQ people are to the fabric of this state.  

If you will be joining a sponsor or table captain at one of their tables, please reach out to them for the link to secure your ticket.

This year’s Gala is chaired by community leader Nabeela Rasheed. South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg, a rising national star among Democrats, will be the keynote speaker!  Each year we award inspirational leaders and organizations whose selfless work helps create a world that is healthy, just and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. This year we will celebrate and honor Channyn Lynne Parker, Danny Wirtz, and the Illinois AFL-CIO.

 

LGBTQ FORUM WITH THE CHICAGO MAYORAL CANDIDATES

January 11, 2019

Ahead of Chicago’s approaching mayoral election, LGBTQ Chicagoans have an opportunity to hear directly about issues impacting their lives at the LGBTQ Forum with Chicago Mayoral Candidates on Saturday, January 19 at 2 p.m. #LGTBQMayor2019

Mayoral candidates who have confirmed attendance as of Jan. 8 include: Gery Chico, Amara Enyia, Bob Fioretti, LaShawn Ford, Jerry Joyce, John Kozlar, Lori Lightfoot, Garry McCarthy, Susana Mendoza, Toni Preckwinkle, and Paul Vallas.

Submit questions for the candidates and RSVP by clicking the Learn more button.

 

New Majority House Leader State Rep. Greg Harris

January 10, 2019

Equality Illinois Celebrates the Appointment of Openly Gay State Rep. Greg Harris as Illinois House Majority Leader and Thanks Speaker Michael J. Madigan for his Leadership

A statement from Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state’s civil rights organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Illinoisans:

“We are excited by Speaker Michael J. Madigan’s appointment today of State Representative Greg Harris to be the next Illinois House Majority Leader. This is a historic appointment. Leader Harris is the first openly gay person to hold the important role of Illinois House Majority Leader.

“We know Leader Harris as a true champion of advancing justice and equality for LGBTQ people and all historically marginalized communities. We look forward to working with him in this significant leadership role to continue advancing justice in Illinois.

“We thank Speaker Madigan for his significant leadership in advancing LGBTQ equality in Illinois. Just yesterday, we heard in nominating speeches of the Speaker’s critical role in passing marriage equality legislation in Illinois. Today, his appointment of Leader Harris further demonstrates the Speaker’s commitment to LGBTQ equality and representation.”

 

Equality Illinois 2019 Gala

January 8, 2019

GET YOUR TICKETS TODAY!!!

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT!!!

President Obama named him one of four Democrats who represented the future of the Democratic Party and the New York Times ran a column saying that he could be the nation’s “first gay President.”

South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg, a rising national star among Democrats, will be the keynote speaker at the 2019 Gala presented by United, set to begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday, February 2 at the Hilton Chicago.

This year’s Gala is chaired by community leader Nabeela Rasheed and is on track to be one of our most successful and vibrant yet! Each year we award inspirational leaders and organizations whose selfless work helps create a world that is healthy, just and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. This year for their dedication to social justice and equality, Channyn Lynne Parker of Howard Brown’s Broadway Youth Center, and Danny Wirtz the Vice-Chairman of Breakthru Beverage Group will be the recipients of the 2019 Equality Illinois Freedom Award. The Equality Illinois Organization Leadership Award, given annually to organizations that demonstrate remarkable vision, courage, and leadership in the efforts to achieve full equality for LGBTQ individuals in Illinois, will be presented to Illinois AFL-CIO.

 


LGBTQ FORUM WITH THE CHICAGO MAYORAL CANDIDATES

January 5, 2019

With the civil rights of LGBTQ Americans under attack by the Trump Administration and the urgent need to continue our pro-equality progress in the City of Chicago, LGBTQ Chicagoans need to know where the candidates for mayor stand on the many issues of interest and importance to our lives.

LGBTQ community organizations Affinity Community Services, the Association of Latinos/as Motivating Action, the Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus, the Equality Illinois Institute, the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, Pride Action Tank, and the Windy City Times are hosting the LGBTQ Forum with the Mayoral Candidates at 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 19, 2019, at the Second Presbyterian Church, 1936 S. Michigan Avenue, in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood.

Please join us at this important public forum. To attend, please RSVP by clicking on the register button.

Can’t make it to the LGBTQ Mayoral Forum but still have questions for the candidates? Submit your questions by clicking on the question submission button.

This event precedes Chicago’s mayoral election on Tuesday, February 26, 2019.

 

Equality Illinois 2019 Gala

January 3, 2019

2019 GALA SPECIAL GUEST ANNOUCEMENT COMING SOON!!!

We are just 30 days away from the largest LGBTQ equality event in the Midwest! Have you LOCK in your tickets???

This year’s Gala is chaired by community leader Nabeela Rasheed, and is on track to be one of our most successful and vibrant yet!  Each year we award inspirational leaders and organizations whose selfless work helps create a world that is healthy, just and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. This year we will celebrate and honor Channyn Lynne Parker, Danny Wirtz, and the Illinois AFL-CIO.

 

Happy New Year from Equality Illinois

January 2, 2019

Here’s to another year of working towards creating a more inclusive, diverse and progressive Illinois.

Equality Illinois wishes EVERYONE a happy, healthy, safe and equal 2019!

 

Year-End Giving

December 26, 2018

As Equality Illinois comes to the end of another successful year of serving LGBTQ Illinoisans, we want to THANK YOU for your contributions and volunteer service! Today, we are calling on your support to participate in our annual “Year-End Giving Campaign” as we continue to pave a future free of bias, bigotry, and discrimination. Your contribution will continue work that proves hate is not an Illinois value. In 2019 we look forward to continuing to be a shining example of what it means to standing on the frontlines of social and political advocacy.

Your commitment of a “Year End” pledge or a one time annual gift, will allow Equality Illinois an opportunity to continue our legacy and tradition of education, advocacy, and service for years to come.

For any other gifts please contact our Director of Corporate Partnerships & Individual Giving, Melissa Benge at mbenge@eqil.org  or 773.477.7173.

 


Human Rights Ordinance

December 21, 2018

On December 21, 1988, with a vote of 28-17 the City Council passed the Human Rights Ordinance. This Passage of the ordinance on Human Rights, was a turning point in Chicago LGBT history because it granted the queer community  social equality under the law and made it illegal to discriminate against LGBTQ individuals and other kinds of diversity and other such as people with disabilities, marital status, race, age, religion and several other categories.

It was because of the strategies of the late Mayor Harold Washington, and the powerful “Gang of four”; Laurie Dittman, Rick Garcia, Arthur (Art) Johnston and the late Jon-Henri Damski; who served as a fierce group of activists and were instrumental in the final passage of the ordinance.

We are grateful for their efforts and countless others in our community, who have contributed and committed to the equality we have been granted today.

To learn more about this historic ordinance visit: https://www.equalityillinois.us/issue/anti-discrimination/

 

An LGBTQ youth’s identity is never disruptive

December 20, 2018

 

 

 

December 20, 2018

Daniel Mair
Superintendent

Steve Nauman
President of the Board of Education

Kate Williams
Principal

Germantown Hills School District #69
103 Warriors Way, Germantown Hills, IL 61548

Dear Superintendent Mair, President Nauman, and Principal Williams:

On behalf of Equality Illinois, the statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization, I write to express my dismay in Principal William’s letter to parents last week. By claiming that an LGBTQ youth’s expression of their sexual orientation or gender identity is disruptive, without any mention that she believes a straight or cisgender youth’s expression of their sexual orientation or gender identity might do the same, sets a harmful double standard.  This double standard is inconsistent with best practices for supporting youth, with Illinois laws such as the Illinois Human Rights Act, and our values as Illinoisans. An LGBTQ youth’s identity is never disruptive.

Educators have a sacred duty to protect and affirm children and young people. To that end, the laws of the State of Illinois strive to create an affirming and respectful environment for all students, including those from historically marginalized communities. Laws like the LGBTQ-inclusive Human Rights Act and anti-bullying protections, which have all been adopted with bipartisan support, reflect the values of the Land of Lincoln that all students should be treated with dignity, should be affirmed, and should have the freedom to learn and grow without burden or hostility.

Yet, even in a pro-equality state like Illinois, school life for LGBTQ youth is challenging. According to Illinois data from the U.S. Trans Survey (2015), 80% of individuals who were out or perceived as transgender at some point in their K–12 education experienced some form of mistreatment, such as being verbally harassed, prohibited from dressing according to their gender identity, disciplined more harshly, or physically or sexually assaulted because people thought they were transgender. Furthermore, based on GLSEN’s 2015 School Climate Survey, we know only 27% of LGBTQ youth in Illinois report hearing anything positive about LGBTQ people – people just like them – in the classroom. We must all do better to support LGBTQ youth.

The school district’s proposition – that expression of only LGBTQ youth’s sexual orientation or identity is disruptive – is harmful. LGBTQ youth who experience rejection and social stigmatization are more likely to have high levels of depression, more likely to engage in substance abuse, and more likely to attempt suicide.

And the presence of a rule doesn’t inherently make it fair or even reasonable. The lack of inclusivity and compassion by school administrators is telling and alarming in its implications for what other biases may come into play while educating students. School boards should create environments that affirm each and every student and facilitate the educational process with excellence and dignity.

We urge the Germantown Hills District #69 Board of Education and school administrators to re-evaluate your position and affirm the dignity of each young person in a way that does not further marginalize LGBTQ young people. If we can be of any further assistance, including in setting up trainings regarding LGBTQ cultural competency or as a sounding board for your questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at (773) 477-7173 or bjohnson@eqil.org.

Sincerely,

Brian C. Johnson
Chief Executive Officer

 

Equality Illinois 2019 Gala

December 13, 2018

Now is the time to LOCK in your tickets and seating for the largest LGBTQ equality event in the Midwest and one of the largest in the country!

WE invite YOU to Equality Illinois’ 2019 Gala presented by United Airlines and hosted by Hilton Chicago taking place Feb 2, 2019.

This year’s Gala is chaired by community leader Nabeela Rasheed, and is on track to be one of our most successful and vibrant yet!  Each year we award inspirational leaders and organizations whose selfless work helps create a world that is healthy, just and fully equal for all LGBTQ people. This year we will celebrate and honor Channyn Lynne Parker, Danny Wirtz, and the Illinois AFL-CIO.

 

LGBTQ POLICY FORUM

December 13, 2018

State Rep. Anna Moeller hosts an LGBTQ Policy Forum with Equality Illinois, the state’s civil rights organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Illinoisans.

LGBTQ people are part of the fabric of the State of Illinois, where our pro-equality laws reflect our state’s values of inclusion, fairness, and the freedom to be who you are and love who you love without burden or discrimination. Yet, there is still significant work to be done. At this forum with Rep. Moeller and the team from Equality Illinois, learn about (1) the legal landscape in Illinois, (2) policy actions by the Trump Administration that impact the lives of LGBTQ people and families, and (3) how you can take action for LGBTQ-affirming change.

Rep. Moeller is the chief House sponsor of the Inclusive Curriculum Bill (SB 3249) during the 100th General Assembly (2017-18). The bill will ensure the contributions of LGBTQ people are included in the U.S. history curriculum taught in Illinois public schools.

 


CAPITOL CLUB

December 11, 2018

 


The Capitol Club is the premier donor group and the backbone of Equality Illinois. As a donor, you are investing in the vital work of Equality Illinois–statewide campaigns that promote fair treatment for LGBTQ citizens of Illinois. Your membership in the Capitol Club is a partnership with Equality Illinois and an investment in our joint fight for equality.

As a Capitol Club member, you have unique access to the decision makers within Equality Illinois. You’ll receive exclusive informational updates, access to private events throughout the year, and opportunities for discounts on Equality Illinois’ annual Gala and other events and activities. The Capitol Club is much more than a donor group. It is a nucleus of support, influence and leadership that works relentlessly for equitable change.

You may opt to make your Capitol Club contribution through a convenient quarterly or monthly payment plan. All Capital Club contributions benefit the Equality Illinois Institute, our 501(c)(3) organization, and are fully tax-deductible as provided by law. Capitol Club memberships are automatically renewed annually.

 

LGBTQ Forum with the Chicago Mayoral Candidates

December 10, 2018

With the civil rights of LGBTQ Americans under attack by the Trump Administration and the urgent need to continue our pro-equality progress in the City of Chicago, LGBTQ Chicagoans need to know where the candidates for mayor stand on the many issues of interest and importance to our lives.

LGBTQ community organizations Affinity Community Services, the Association of Latinos/as Motivating Action, the Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus, the Equality Illinois Institute, the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, Pride Action Tank, and the Windy City Times are hosting the LGBTQ Forum with the Mayoral Candidates at 2 p.m. on Saturday, January 19, 2019, at the Second Presbyterian Church, 1936 S. Michigan Avenue, in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood. The mayoral election is on Tuesday, February 26, 2019.

Please join us at this important public forum. To attend, please RSVP by clicking on the register button.

 

2018 Transgender Day of Remembrance

November 20, 2018

ABOUT Transgender Day of Remembrance

“The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, an action that current media doesn’t perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of [those] who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgender people that we are their [children], parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who’ve died by anti-transgender violence.” From the TDOR website.

Equality Illinois is not involved in the creation of any of the events and developed a list to keep our community engaged. Please visit the facebook event pages for more information regarding these events memorializing the tragic acts of violence against transgender people who have been murdered. Equality Illinois regrets all of the deaths that have occurred in Illinois and across America. In 2018, Dejanay Stanton and Ciara Minaj Frazier were among nearly 30 transwomen murdered in the U.S. right here in Illinois. Equality Illinois has pledged to work with the Chicago Police Department, community organizations working directly with transgender serving organizations, and trans led groups to bring justice to the families of Ciara and Dejanay.

Tuesday, November 20

Transgender Day of Remembrance Vigil

Angelina Pedroso Center for Diversity and Intercultural Affairs at NEIU| 3pm

5500 N. St. Louis Avenue, Northeaster Illinois University, Chicago, Illinois

Candelighting ceremony and reading of the victims

 

Transgender Day of Remembrance Ceremony with Chicago Therapy Collective

Chicago Therapy Collective | 5:30pm

5247 N. Clark Street, Chicago, Illinois

Sponsored by: Chicago Therapy Collective

Featured speaker Alexis Martinez (she/her) and performances by Malia Santiago (she/her) and
Cheyenne Butler (she/her) of the Youth Empowerment Performance Project\

 

Phoenix Center Transgender Day of Remembrance

Phoenix Center | 6-8pm

109 E. Lawrence, Springfield, Illinois ‘

Memorial

 

UP Center Remembers: Transgender Day of Remembrance
University YMCA-Murphy Lounge | 6-7pm

1001 S. Wright Street, Champaign, Illinois

Candelight vigil

 

Transgender Day of Remembrance Memorial Services

Universal Unitarian Church of Urbana- Champaign | 7-8pm

309 West Green Street, Urbana, Illinois

 

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Universal Unitarian Church | 6-8pm

4848 Turner Street, Rockford, Illinois

Sponsored by: PFLAG Rockford

Candelight vigil

 

Trans Day of Remembrance Dinner & Vigil

Dance Force Dance Lab | 6-9pm

2747 W. 79th Street, Chicago, Illinois

Sponsored by: Howard Brown Health and Broadway Youth Center

Featured Speaker: Trish Halloway and Keynote by Iesha Love. Performance by Kaycee Ortiz and Kleva B.

 

Peoria Transgender Day of Remembrance: Fifth Annual Observance

Universal Unitarian Church of Peoria | 7pm

3000 Richwoods Blvd., Peoria, Illinois

Sponsored by: Interfaith Alliance of Central Illinois, Universal Unitarian Church of Peoria, and Peoria Proud

Keynote speaker: Rev. Marcus Fogliano (they/them)

 

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Center on Halsted | 7-9pm

3656 N. Halsted, Chicago, Illinois

Sponsored by: Center on Halsted

Featured speakers: Elise Malary (she/her) and Keynote speaker Channyn Lynne Parker (she/her)

 

Hydrate Won’t Erase You Benefit Show

Hydrate Nightclub | 9pm | $10

3458 N. Halsted, Chicago, Illinois

Benefiting: Brave Space Alliance

Performers Include: Kelly LaurenSara AndrewsMonica Dejesus AnayaJoan Jullian, Kari Traid, Sasha LoveAmailia BlackNaysha LopezDiDa Ritz, Ms.Ruff N Stuff, Sorraya Dash LopezKhloeCeeCee LaRougeDemi Lauren Sexton and many more

 

Trans Day of Remembrance Dinner & Vigil

Dance Force Dance Lab | 6-9pm

2747 W. 79th Street, Chicago, Illinois

Sponsored by: Howard Brown Health and Broadway Youth Center

Featured Speaker: Trisha Halloway and Keynote by Iesha Love. Performance by Kaycee Ortiz and Kleva B.

 

 

On National Coming Out Day, Equality Illinois Calls on Governor Rauner to Ensure His Appointments Better Reflect the Full Diversity of Illinois

October 11, 2018

On National Coming Out Day, when we should be celebrating the full diversity of the LGBTQ community in Illinois, Equality Illinois is extremely disappointed in the unbelievable lack of LGBTQ representation among the more than 400 appointments made by Governor Rauner to state boards and commissions during Fiscal Year 2018, the civil rights organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) Illinoisans said on Thursday. Of the 431 appointments the governor made between July 1, 2017 and June 30, 2018, only 1 appointee publicly identifies as a lesbian, gay, or bisexual person.

 


EI Responds to Columnist Who Denigrated Transgender Peoples’ Experiences

August 23, 2018

On August 16, 2018, the Chicago Sun-Times published a column by Mona Charen, a nationally syndicated columnist, that denigrated the experiences of and belittled the challenges facing transgender people in society. Mike Ziri, Director of Public Policy at Equality Illinois, submitted a letter to the editor in response to the column.

 

Commit to Vote 2018

August 22, 2018

There is so much at stake for LGBTQ Illinoisans on Nov. 6 at the general election. That’s why Equality Illinois and our partners are teaming up to demonstrate the electoral power of LGBTQ equality voters.

Through the Commit to Vote initiative, we aim to engage LGBTQ equality voters to vote on Nov. 6.

Commit to vote today. We won’t go back when we vote

 

LGBTQ Advocates Lora Branch and Mo Green and South Side Institution Jeffery Pub to be Honored at Fahrenheit Chicago Kick Off Reception on August 24

August 22, 2018

Two individuals and a South Side institution who work to improve the lives of Illinoisans, particularly LGBTQ people of color, will be honored Friday at the Kick Off Reception for the weekend’s Fahrenheit Chicago celebration.

The three honorees are Lora Branch of Gilead Sciences Inc., Mo Green of the Office of the Cook County State’s Attorney, and Jeffery Pub, a South Side cultural institution. They will be recognized at Fahrenheit Chicago’s Kick Off Party, from 6-9 p.m. on Friday, August 24, at the historic Gallery Guichard, 436 E. 47th Street, Chicago.

 

Rauner Vetoes Bill Strengthening Human Rights Act

August 14, 2018

Gov. Bruce Rauner betrayed Illinois’ values of equality and fairness by vetoing a significant bill to strengthen workplace non-discrimination protections in the Illinois Human Rights Act, said Equality Illinois, the state’s civil rights organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people.

 


Leading Civil Rights Organizations Urge Governor Rauner to Sign Bill that Would Help Protect Illinoisans from Discrimination

August 10, 2018


Seventeen leading civil rights organizations in Illinois are urging Gov. Bruce Rauner, in a letter sent to him on Tuesday, to sign legislation that would ban employment discrimination in all workplaces.

The measure, House Bill 4572, which passed the General Assembly with bipartisan support in May and is currently on the governor’s desk, would make the Illinois Human Rights Act’s workplace non-discrimination protections apply to all businesses in the state.

The organizations wrote to the governor: “At a time when anti-equality forces seek to establish licenses to discriminate and civil rights laws are under attack in state legislatures and courts across the country, signing HB 4572 would send the powerful and unmistakable message that Illinois is best and strongest when state law protects all people from discrimination. Your approval on this bill would be consistent with our state’s bipartisan values of fairness, justice, and the freedom to be who you are without burden or discrimination.”

 

Apply for 2018-19 Community Advisory Group

July 19, 2018

As part of our commitment to an ongoing dialogue with stakeholders across Illinois, Equality Illinois launched the Community Advisory Group in 2016. The 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, go to the application page to review the objectives and responsibilities of the Community Advisory Group, then download, complete, and return the form.

We want to make sure the Community Advisory Group includes the diverse views of LGBTQ Illinoisans from every corner of the state. Together, we will advance justice and equality in Illinois.

MORE INFORMATION and APPLICATION

 

Organizations Denounce Anti-Equality U.S. Supreme Court Candidates

July 5, 2018

On July 5, Equality Illinois, Planned Parenthood of Illinois, ACLU of Illinois, and Courts Matter Illinois called on U.S. senators to reject any of Trump’s dangerous anti-abortion candidates to the Supreme Court who would overturn Roe v. Wade, the historic case that legalized abortion in the United States, and roll back civil rights protections including LGBTQ, immigrant and voting rights.

“Federal courts have played critical roles in helping to advance the civil rights of LGBTQ people, including decriminalizing same-sex relationships, marriage equality, and protecting transgender students in schools. These rulings have recognized our shared American values of equality, dignity, and the freedom to be who we are without burden or discrimination,” said Michael Ziri, Director of Public Policy at Equality Illinois.

Ziri emphasized: “Opponents of equality want to transform the US Supreme Court and lower courts into instruments that would turn back the civil rights clock. With anti-equality forces being just one Supreme Court justice away from having that power, we call on our political leaders – including Senators Durbin and Duckworth and Governor Rauner – to take action and defend Illinois values.”

 

Chicago City Club Hosts First LGBTQ Presentation

June 22, 2018

The City Club of Chicago hosted a historic event on June 19, 2018, its first discussion of LGBTQ issues at this well-known and respected public forum, whose co-founder was Jane Addams.

Led by Equality Illinois CEO Brian C. Johnson, the panel featured Tracy Baim of Windy City Times, Kim L. Hunt of Pride Action Tank, David Ernesto Munar of Howard Brown Health, and trans resource navigator Reyna Ortiz.

The full program, Taking Pride in Our Story: Chicago and Its LGBTQ Community, can be watched here:

A report on the panel discussion was posted by Windy City Times.

 


Honor Them With Action

June 12, 2018

On the second anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Equality Illinois joins with our friends at Equality Florida to issue a call to #HonorThemWithAction.

Connect with organizations that take action to dismantle anti-LGBTQ violence, hatred, and discrimination. Help make your community and your state safer, better, and more equal.
There were 49 murdered and 53 injured in the shooting, most of them Latinx LGBTQ.

We will not forget.