Archive for the ‘Issues’ Category

 

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.

 

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

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

 


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.

 

LGBTQ Advocacy Day Promotes Curriculum Bill; Now Do Your Part

April 12, 2018

Citizen advocates from around the state were in Springfield Wednesday for LGBTQ Advocacy Day.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Illinoisans and our families and allies spread out around the Capitol complex to discuss issues such as the Inclusive Curriculum Bill, the Equal Rights Amendment, and expanding the reach of the Illinois Human Rights protections against workplace discrimination.

There is more work to do. If you haven’t reached out urging your legislators to support the Inclusive Curriculum Bill, which will require school districts to include the teaching of LGBTQ history and historical figures in their curriculum, please do it today! Our opponents are at work spreading misinformation about the bill, and we can’t let them have the last word.

CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATOR HERE

 

It’s time, Illinois: Ratify the Equal Rights Amemdment

April 9, 2018

As citizen advocates plan to engage legislators on Tuesday for ERA Lobby Day, Equality Illinois proudly supports the federal Equal Rights Amendment and urges state legislators to promptly ratify it.

It’s beyond time for Illinois to join the 36 other states that have ratified the amendment and for it to become part of the U.S. Constitution. The Illinois Constitution already prohibits discrimination in this state on the basis of sex, and it is high-time that the governing charter of the nation also includes such protections. The federal ERA would advance justice across the country for female-identified individuals, especially in those states that do not have state-level constitutional or statutory protections against discrimination on the basis of sex. Additionally, the ERA would protect the women from Illinois who travel or work in states that do not have such protections.

Ratifying the ERA upholds and extends the most cherished values of the Land of Lincoln: justice, fairness, equality of opportunity, and the freedom to be yourself without burden.

READ MORE

 


Transgender Day of Visibility

March 22, 2018

Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31 and the days leading up to it are an opportunity to show our support for the trans community. It aims to bring attention to the accomplishments of trans people around the globe while fighting cissexism and transphobia by spreading knowledge of the trans community. Unlike Transgender Day of Remembrance, this is not a day for mourning; this is a day of empowerment and getting the recognition transgender people deserve!

Events in Illinois this week will entertain and educate. Check out the TDOV calendar.

 

Sign Up Today! LGBTQ Advocacy Day is a month away

March 12, 2018

LGBTQ Advocacy Day in Springfield is a month away, and we’re happy to announce that Affinity Community Services is a community partner and second bus pickup location for the April 11 day trip to Springfield.

One of our priority issues will be the Inclusive Curriculum Bill, an initiative of Equality Illinois and the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, to teach students the historical events and contributions by LGBTQ people. An LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum can also have a positive affect on students’ self-image and make their peers more accepting.

LGBTQ Advocacy Day includes lobbying training, meetings with legislators, and a visit to the Capitol, plus a box lunch and concluding reception. Registration includes transportation selection: bus from two locations in Chicago or driving on your own, including car pooling and ride sharing. The bus departs at 6am from Equality Illinois in the Loop at 16 N. Wabash Ave., and from Affinity Community Services, 2850 S. Wabash Ave., at 6:35am.

 

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.

 


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.

READ MORE

 

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.

SEE THE FORMS

 

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.

READ MORE

 

Illinois Transgender Survey Finds Disturbing Patterns and Disparities

October 15, 2017

With 27,715 respondents nationwide, the U.S. Transgender Survey conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality in 2015 included 1,082 in Illinois.

As the Trump administration tries to remove protections for transgender people, the just-released findings reveal in Illinois and around the nation the need for such protections, and more.

There were disturbing patterns of mistreatment and discrimination and startling disparities between transgender people in the survey and the U.S. population when it comes to the most basic elements of life, such as finding a job, having a place to live, accessing medical care, and enjoying the support of family and community. Survey respondents also experienced harassment and violence at alarmingly high rates.

READ THE ILLINOIS REPORT

 


#HireTrans Campaign Launches

September 25, 2017

#HireTrans is launching this week to push for more opportunities for transgender and gender nonconforming (TGNC) individuals, who face high obstacles for consistent employment and advancement opportunities on the job.

LEARN MORE ABOUT #HIRETRANS

And plan to attend the WERQ! LGBTQ Job Fair this Friday at the Center on Halsted. More than 75 major corporations, small businesses, government agencies, schools and nonprofits will participate.

JOB FAIR

The #HireTrans campaign is created by Windy City Times. Equality Illinois is proud to be a sponsor, along with Chicago House and Social Service Agency, Center on Halsted, Howard Brown Health, Heartland Alliance, Association of Latinos/as Motivating in Action (ALMA Chicago), and Pride Action Tank.

 

Equality Illinois Stands with the Dreamers

September 5, 2017

Equality Illinois stands with the Dreamers. Immigrants are part of the fabric of America. Here we believe in tolerance, inclusion, liberty, and fairness. President Trump’s policy today is an absolute betrayal of American values.

Click HERE to urge your member of Congress to support the Dream Act and reject Trump’s anti-DACA policy.

The president’s policy is cruel and mean-spirited. According to the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, there are over 75,000 lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Dreamers in the United States. Of those, over 36,000 have participated in the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Ending DACA is very much a life and death decision for these LGBT Dreamers. They not only face terrifying expulsion from the only country they know as home but also discrimination and violence after deportation because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This is not who we are as a country or a state.

As a welcoming state that is the home of more than 40,000 DACA participants, Illinois’ elected officials must step up now and defend our Dreamers and our values. Thank you to our U.S. Senator Dick Durbin for his longtime leadership to protect Dreamers and sponsorship of the Dream Act.

We call on Governor Bruce Rauner and the Illinois congressional delegation to condemn the president’s policy publicly, vigorously, and without equivocation. Our members of Congress should move forward quickly on passing the Dream Act of 2017, and Governor Rauner should forcefully support that initiative. That’s how you defend our values in the Land of Lincoln.

TAKE ACTION

 

Celebrating Protections Against Workplace Bias on Labor Day

September 4, 2017

As we celebrate Labor Day, we are grateful that LGBTQ Illinoisans are protected against discrimination in the workplace. Equality Illinois spearheaded the successful effort to outlaw discrimination against LGBTQ Illinoisans with the passage of an amendment to the Illinois Human Rights Act in 2005.

However, there is no federal law barring employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, and in 28 states, you can get fired just for being lesbian, bisexual, or gay, and in 30 states, you can be fired for being transgender. That is why Congress must pass the Equality Act, to protect all LGBTQ Americans from discrimination.

 

Reacting to Charlottesville

August 14, 2017

Everyone should unite in expressing disgust at the racist, anti-Semitic, xenophobic, misogynistic and homophobic messages spewed at the white nationalist gatherings in Charlottesville this weekend.

Contrary to the “many sides” of responsibility for the hate, bigotry and violence suggested by Donald Trump, there are only two sides: Those on the wrong side of history by standing against equal and fair treatment for all Americans and those on the right side of history by fighting for justice and human rights.

Kudos to the marchers in Chicago and around the nation who peacefully stood up Sunday to the hateful demonstrators and their ideologies and to the coddling of them by the Trump administration.

 


Fighting transgender military ban at the Illinois State Fair

August 11, 2017

Equality Illinois is at the Illinois State Fair for the 6th year in a row, this year seeking support for our brave and patriotic troops, including transgender members of the military.

Fairgoers who stop by the Equality Illinois booth during the State Fair, which runs now through Aug. 20 in Springfield, will be able to sign a message to their U.S. representative that Equality Illinois will forward to Washington.

If you can’t make it to our booth at the southeast corner of the fairgrounds in Springfield to send a message to your member of Congress, click below to tell them to reject the Trump ban.

TAKE ACTION