Archive for the ‘Stay Informed’ Category

 

THE INCLUSIVE CURRICULUM BILL

August 11, 2019

Starting with the 2020-21 school year, students in Illinois public schools will learn about LGBTQ contributions in history. The Inclusive Curriculum Bill is the initiative of Equality Illinois, the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, and The Legacy Project!

Thank you to our fierce legislative champions, State Representative Anna Moeller, 43rd District and State Senator Heather Steans!

Thank you to our amazing partners, the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance and the Legacy Project!

 

Illinois Equal Restroom Access Bill

July 31, 2019

The Illinois Equal Restroom Access Bill is now law!

The Equitable Restroom Access Bill will require that all single occupancy restrooms in public accommodations and public buildings in the state be gender-neutral.  This will provide trans and gender non-conforming Illinoisans, parents of opposite gender children, seniors with opposite gender caregivers, a safer and more affirming experience!  

Thank you to Governor JB Pritzker for signing SB 556 and to Senator Melinda Bush and State Representative Sam Yingling for leading the charge in the Illinois General Assembly.

Special thanks to our partners at the Chicago Restroom Access Project for their leadership in developing public policy regarding conversion of gendered single-stall restrooms to all genders.


 

Lori Lightfoot advances to the April 2 run-off election!

February 26, 2019

A statement from Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state’s civil rights organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people, released the following statement following results of Tuesday’s municipal election in Chicago:

“While we wait for every vote to be counted, we are incredibly thrilled with the votes that have come in. We congratulate Lori Lightfoot for advancing to the April 2 run-off election and her historic candidacy as the first-ever openly queer person to run for mayor of Chicago. That is a significant milestone in Chicago and Illinois history. Representation matters. Now, let’s bring it home on April 2 and elect Lori Lightfoot Mayor of Chicago.”

 

Lets Talk Equality Act

February 15, 2019

At a time when anti-equality forces seek to establish licenses to discriminate against civil rights protections in state legislatures and courts across the country, we are proud to live in a state with strong LGBTQ-inclusive non-discrimination protections in the Illinois Human Rights Act.

Yet, when LGBTQ Illinoisans travel outside of our great state, our rights and equal treatment are subject to the zip code in which we may work or visit. Some states and cities have inclusive protections, but most do not.

That’s why Equality Illinois supports the federal Equality Act to include LGBTQ people in national civil rights protections.

To celebrate the re-introduction of the Equality Act in the 116th U.S. Congress, we are proud to partner with U.S. Representative Raja Krishnamoorthi (IL-8) for an educational roundtable discussion about the Equality Act on Tuesday, February 19, 2019.

RSVP Here:https://act.myngp.com/Forms

We hope you can attend and learn more about the Equality Act and how our members of Congress and Equality Illinois are fighting to advance justice for LGBTQ people in Illinois and across America.

 


Equality Illinois supports bill SB 1 – $15 minimum wage

February 11, 2019

As an issue of fairness and justice to LGBTQ people, Equality Illinois supports increasing the Illinois minimum wage to $15.00. LGBTQ people should have the opportunity to provide for their families and establish economic security without burden or discrimination. Yet, our community is disproportionately affected by poverty.

Research shows that members of the LGBTQ community report lower incomes and higher rates of poverty than the general population .According to the 2018 report “Intersecting Injustice: A National Call to Action Addressing LGBTQ Poverty and Economic Justice for All” by the LGBTQ Poverty Collaborative, 25% of LGBT people experienced a period over the last year when they did not have enough money to feed themselves or their family, as compared to 18% of non-LGBT people. The statistics are higher when race is considered. For instance, 37% of black LGBT individuals said they did not have enough money to feed themselves or their family. Black same-sex couples are roughly three times more likely to live in poverty than white same-sex couples.

The Movement Advancement Project also reports that transgender people nationally are nearly four times as likely to have a household income under $10,000 per year as the population as a whole (15 percent vs. 4 percent). According to the Illinois data of the 2015 US Trans Survey, 21% of transgender Illinoisans report living in poverty.

A $15 minimum wage can elevate many LGBTQ people out of poverty and provide an opportunity for greater economic security for us and our families. In a 2014 study, the Williams Institute at UCLA predicted that raising the federal minimum wage from its current level of $7.25 to $15 an hour would reduce LGBT poverty by one-third for male same-sex couples and by almost one-half for female same-sex couples. The percentage of poor female same-sex couples would fall from 6.9% to 3.7%, a 46% drop in poverty. Poverty among men in same-sex couples would fall from 3.4% to 2.2%, a drop of 35% in poverty. The poverty rates of married different-sex couples would also decrease from 5.6% to 3.1%. Almost 30,000 people in same-sex couples would see their incomes rise above the federal poverty level.

These numbers demonstrate why raising the minimum wage in Illinois would have affirming impacts on the lives of LGBTQ Illinoisans. We urge the Illinois General Assembly to pass the bill, increase the state’s minimum wage to $15, and advance justice for LGBTQ people.

 

INCLUSIVE CURRICULUM BILL

February 5, 2019

BREAKING: The Inclusive Curriculum Bill (HB 246) just passed the Illinois House Education School Curriculum Committee! The vote was 13-7. Thank you to sponsor State Rep. Anna Moeller! The bill, which is an initiative of Equality Illinois, The Legacy Project, and Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, will include the contributions of LGBTQ people in the history curriculum in public schools.

Contact your state representative now: tinyurl.com/IllinoisInclusiveCurriculum.

 

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.

 

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

 


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.

 

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.

 

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.

 

Equality Illinois Urges Action on LGBTQ Civil Rights Agenda

May 28, 2017

Equality Illinois is hopeful that the General Assembly will act in its final days of the spring session to pass bills advancing LGBTQ civil rights, as well as passage, finally, of a responsible budget with adequate revenues to fund essential programs for all Illinoisans.

EI Director of Public Policy Michael Ziri and our advocacy team are talking to lawmakers to push for passage of bills such as HB 1785 to modernize the standard of birth certificate changes to help transgender Illinoisans and SB 1761 to end the anti-LGBTQ panic defenses in murder cases.

As the last hours of the session unfold, stay on top of legislation important to LGBTQ Illinoisans on our Facebook page and Twitter feed, and here on our web page.

READ  MORE

 


Listening Tour

October 1, 2016

listening-tour

In the first months of the tenure of new Equality Illinois CEO Brian C. Johnson, he’s been on a listening tour throughout Illinois, in big cities, college towns and small hamlets, to listen to LGBTQ stakeholders, to hear your stories, and learn about your hopes and fears for the future.

Today, he is publishing his report on what he heard and what Equality is going to do about it.

In his report, Brian recounts the concerns over issues such as educational equality, healthcare access, criminal justice fairness, and safety in our communities. And he outlines the beginning steps of how Equality Illinois will address these concerns in the months and years ahead. Please read his detailed report.

READ “A LISTENING TOUR REPORT”

 

TRUMP VP PICK CALLOUSLY DISREGARDS LGBT PEOPLE

July 15, 2016

Governor Mike Pence V2With his selection of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as the Republican vice presidential nominee, Donald Trump, the presumptive GOP nominee for president, is demonstrating a callous disregard for LGBT Americans and our families.

As a private citizen, a member of Congress and in the Indiana statehouse, Gov. Pence has rejected recognizing that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are equal under the law and under standards of human decency.

Pence opposed federal HIV funding, he supported “gay conversion” therapy, he opposed marriage equality, and he promoted state-sanctioned LGBT discrimination.

READ MORE

 

Mourning the Victims in Orlando

June 12, 2016

Mourns the victims of the mass shooting in Orlando.

We mourn the victims of the shooting in the Orlando nightclub Pulse, a popular gay venue. While we don’t know yet the motive of the shooter, we do know we should all feel safe in our homes, schools and places of business and entertainment. Our hearts go out to the Orlando LGBT community and the family and friends of the victims, and we wish a speedy recovery to the injured.

 

New CEO to Launch Statewide Listening Tour

June 5, 2016

This past week, Equality Illinois CEO Brian C. Johnson announced a statewide listening tour as he assumed the leadership of the state’s oldest and largest LGBT advocacy organization.

Johnson said there is far more work to do to ensure equality for LGBT Illinoisans, and he wants to hear from every corner of the state to help chart our way forward.

WATCH VIDEO

 


EqualityCon 2016

May 15, 2016

EICON MEMEEqualityCon 2016, hosted by Equality Illinois Institute, on May 13-14, 2016 at the University of Illinois at Chicago, brought together advocates and experts to discuss the state of LGBT issues and how we can advance the cause UNTIL WE’RE ALL EQUAL.

We discussed the federal Equality Act with chief sponsor Rep. David Cicilline and Rep. Jan Schakowsky and state issues to employment, adoption, gender diversity, racial justice, trans advocacy, faith, the rural experience and aging.

Revisit the interesting and energizing two-day conference, including a video of Rep. Cicilline’s remarks, in the EqualityCon gallery.

VIEW GALLERY

 

Equality Illinois News

February 1, 2016

Newsletter front Feb 2016Check out the fresh, new format for our monthly newsletter, out today.

We bring you the news of Equality Illinois and the movement for working toward a lived equality for LGBT Illinoisans.

Take a look, and signup for our monthly newsletter and other mailings so you can stay informed about the issues and the events that shape them.

SIGN UP

READ NEWSLETTER

 

Equality Progress Report

June 15, 2015

Report Card meme
 

Equality Illinois advocated for and helped pass three major legislative initiatives in 2015–protecting LGBT youth from harmful conversion therapy, protecting transgender individuals from hate crimes, and gaining the right to specify gender in funeral arrangements. And, we continue to push for a moral budget.

Please help us keep pushing forward. Donations made to Equality Illinois during June PRIDE Month will be doubled.

Click the link to read the full Equality Progress Report and to donate today so that we can all ‪#‎LIVEequal‬.

REPORT CARD & DONATION

 

2015 Legislative Agenda

April 17, 2015

MEME2015AgendaAdvocates from across Illinois visited the state Capitol this week to discuss a broad agenda of bills that directly impact the #LGBT community across our state, from HB217 ending harmful conversion therapy to a budget that protects vital services for all LGBT Illinoisans.

This year, we are working on more than 25 pieces of legislation that will advance full equal treatment and protections for all LGBT Illinoisans.

The bill to protect LGBT youth from harmful and ineffective conversion therapy is teed up for a vote expected next week in the Illinois House.

And a measure to enhance Illinois Hate Crime protections sailed through the House this week 112-0 and next sees action in the Senate.

2015 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA