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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.

 

A cup of coffee benefits LGBTQ civil rights

June 9, 2018

A great way to celebrate Pride, enjoy Passion House Coffee Roasters 12 ounce bags of single origin Papua New Guinea Sigiri Estate beans.

A share of the proceeds benefit Equality Illinois and our work for LGBTQ civil rights. You can find the coffee at their shop at 2631 N. Kedzie Ave., Chicago or order online HERE.

Thank you, Passion House, and your customers for supporting Equality Illinois.

 

Illinois LGBTQ Civil Rights Protections Remain Strong

June 4, 2018

The Illinois Human Rights Act protects many people—including LGBTQ people—from discrimination in places of public accommodations. The decision issued in Masterpiece Cakeshop today by the U.S. Supreme Court does not limit the protections in our Human Rights Act.

However, the Court missed an opportunity to vociferously defend the rights of LGBTQ Americans to be free from discrimination when participating in public commerce.

Equality Illinois, the statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization, calls on the leaders in Illinois to reaffirm our state’s commitment to enforce our anti-discrimination law.

 


Rally Today in Support of Illinois Human Rights Law

June 4, 2018

Monday at 5:30pm in Chicago’s Federal Plaza, Dearborn and Adams streets, join a community rally in reaction to the Supreme Court ruling allowing a Colorado baker to refuse to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple.

We will call on Illinois businesses and the state to understand there is no change to the Illinois Human Rights Act that requires LGBTQ and other protected people to be served without discrimination.

 

On to the fall

June 1, 2018

A message from Equality Illinois CEO Brian C. Johnson:

Yesterday marked the end of the spring session for the General Assembly in Springfield. While there is much to celebrate, we leave the spring session disappointed that the Inclusive Curriculum Bill to include the teaching of LGBTQ people in U.S. history is not yet headed to the Governor’s desk. State Rep. Anna Moeller, the bill’s fearless sponsor in the House, decided to move the floor vote to the fall to allow her more time to secure the necessary votes to guarantee passage.

Equality Illinois remains committed to working with her and our dozens of supporters in the House to secure the 60 votes needed to send this bill to the Governor’s desk in the fall.

We are grateful for the hard work of Rep. Moeller, the Senate sponsor Sen. Heather Steans, and our coalition members to advance this measure, an initiative of Equality Illinois, The Legacy Project, and the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance.

 

Show your Pride: SHOW UP. SPEAK UP!

June 1, 2018

Welcome to the Equality Illinois Pride Month campaign to SHOW UP. SPEAK UP! During June, we encourage you to show the colors by showing up and speaking up in many ways:

• SHOW UP at a community pride event scheduled in towns throughout Illinois as well as in many schools, businesses, and faith institutions to demonstrate that we are part of every organization in every corner of Illinois, as demonstrated by the EI Pride Shield designed by artist Todd Mack and donated to Equality Illinois by Kit and Jonelle Welch.

• Support the ongoing work of organizations such as Equality Illinois that fight for LGBTQ civil rights or provide health and social services to people in your community.

• SPEAK UP! by participating in this election season to ensure that LGBTQ voices are heard and also by being involved in the issues locally, statewide, and nationally that impact our community.

 

Dear Evan Hansen – Chicago Opening Night

May 31, 2018

Equality Illinois invites you to join us on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 for the Chicago opening night performance of Dear Evan Hansen.

Proceeds from the sale of these tickets benefit Equality Illinois’ important LGBTQ civil rights work.

“One of the most remarkable shows in musical theater history,” says The Washington Post. The New York Times calls DEAR EVAN HANSEN “a gut-punching, breathtaking knockout of a musical” and NBC News says that the musical is “an inspiring anthem resonating on Broadway and beyond.”

WINNER OF SIX 2017 TONY® AWARDS INCLUDING BEST MUSICAL AND THE 2018 GRAMMY® AWARD FOR BEST MUSICAL THEATER ALBUM.

 


May 28, 2018

On Memorial Day, Equality Illinois salutes all who have sacrificed for our nation. This monument to LGBTQ veterans was installed at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, IL and dedicated three years ago by American Veterans for Equal Rights-Chicago.

 

Congratulations, 2018 Equality Illinois Community Pride Honorees

May 25, 2018

Two Illinois activists are 2018 Equality Illinois Community Pride Honorees for their strong, ongoing leadership on LGBTQ issues. 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, will be recognized at the Equality Illinois Pride Kickoff Brunch on Sunday, June 3 at Venue West, 221 N. Paulina St., Chicago.

Bashor is a patent attorney and partner at Quarles & Brady LLP. She has served on the Equality Illinois PAC Board since 2011, including a period as chair from 2014 to 2016. In her tenure as PAC Board chair, the board’s endorsed candidates won over 90 percent of the time.

Aviña is program manager at CALOR, which provides a variety of prevention and educational services designed primarily for people most at risk of HIV/AIDS, and also works on research initiatives advancing HIV/AIDS programs.

BRUNCH INFO AND TICKETS

 

Breakthru Beverage Grows Relationship with Equality Illinois

May 24, 2018

Breakthru Beverage Group has expanded its commitment and partnership with LGBTQ advocacy organization Equality Illinois. Breakthru and its leadership have been long-standing supporters of Equality Illinois and the broader LGBTQ community, with a relationship dating back more than a decade.

Through this yearlong commitment, Breakthru will amplify Equality Illinois’ mission to its 1,200 Illinois associates and more than 18,000 accounts to broaden the organization’s base of support and promote opportunities for involvement.

Breakthru will support Equality Illinois’ events, identify partnership opportunities with like-minded brands and promote key initiatives and events through on- and offline engagement.

 

In last week of session: Pass the LGBTQ Inclusive History Bill

May 17, 2018

CALL TO ACTION: The LGBTQ Inclusive Curriculum Bill is now in the House floor as the final push for action on major legislation is underway in the General Assembly before the scheduled May 31 adjournment.

There is vocal opposition to the bill. We need you to raise your voice in support of the bill and get it to the governor’s desk.

Do not delay! Contact your House member TODAY to ask for a YES vote on SB 3249.

 


Tell Illinois House: Ratify ERA

May 16, 2018

Take Action Today: The Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, guaranteeing all people equal treatment under the law regardless of their sex, is now in the Illinois House, with a vote on ratification hopefully taken before the May 31 adjournment.

Act now to tell your state representative to vote YES.

In a committee hearing Wednesday morning, the amendment passed on a party line vote of seven Democrats voting “yes” and five Republicans voting “no.” Opponents continue to deploy specious arguments such as that that it would mandate co-ed prisons and bathrooms.

The right wing is working overtime to try to stop ERA from being added to the Constitution. You must tell the Illinois House it can no longer delay ratifying ERA.

 

Equality Illinois Invites Amazon Workers to Pride Brunch

May 3, 2018

Echoing the national NO GAY? NO WAY! campaign, Equality Illinois is issuing a special invitation for the Equality Illinois Pride Kickoff Brunch to the employees of Amazon to encourage the world’s largest online retailer to locate its new HQ2 in a state such as Illinois that protects the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people.

“Amazon and its CEO Jeff Bezos have been strong, consistent supporters and advocates of LGBTQ rights, which has been recognized by being a recipient of the HRC National Equality Award. That mission can be further enhanced by locating its second headquarters, known as HQ2, and its 50,000 new jobs, in pro-equality states such as Illinois,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois.

The Pride Kickoff Brunch on Sunday, June 3 in Chicago annually launches Pride Month by celebrating the public officials and advocates who have helped make Illinois a state where LGBTQ people enjoy rights such as anti-discrimination protections enacted in 2005 and where we continue to work together to build a stronger Illinois.

INFO AND TICKETS

 

Illinois Senate Passes LGBTQ Curriculum Bill

May 2, 2018


 
Breaking News: On a bipartisan 34-18 roll call, the Illinois Senate passed the Inclusive Curriculum Bill on Wednesday, sending the measure calling for the inclusion of historical events and contributions by LGBTQ people to the state House.

Now that it has passed the Senate, it is important to tell you state representative to vote for SB 3249, which will have a positive effect on LGBTQ students’ self-image and make their peers more accepting. Click HERE to send a message.

Sponsored by state Sen. Heather Steans of Chicago, the bill is an initiative of Equality Illinois, the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, and The Legacy Project and is supported by the Illinois State Board of Education and a broad coalition of statewide and local educational, civil rights, health, and civic organizations. The House sponsor is state Rep. Anna Moeller of Elgin.

 

Counter opponents’ name calling against Curriculum Bill

April 17, 2018

Our opponents are resorting to vicious name calling when they talk to Illinois legislators about the #LGBTQ Curriculum Bill. We believe our history should be part of school curriculum so that all students will have a more thorough understanding of history.

Click to email your legislators and tell them: Pass the Inclusive Curriculum Bill.

 

 


Why we need the LGBTQ Curriculum Bill

April 17, 2018

The Inclusive Curriculum Bill will ensure that all students in Illinois would learn about the significant historical events and contributions by LGBTQ people and that they impacted all of us.