LGBT Equality Institute – Program


LGBT Equality Institute V4 for FB




The Federal LGBT Policy Agenda
U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky, a senior member of the Illinois Congressional Delegation, Gautam Raghavan, White House Public Engagement Advisor on LGBT Issues, and Meg Gorecki, Midwest Director for the U.S. Department of Justice will be joining the institute for our lunch panel to discuss the federal LGBT policy agenda


Transgender 101
Owen Daniel-McCarter (Chicago House), Christina Kahrl (Equality Illinois)

Have you ever had questions about transgender issues and did not have a safe space to get more information? Learn what advocates are doing to continue the conversation on transgender equality and walk away with a sense of how you can personally help change the systems that affect the transgender community.


“I tolerate differences; isn’t that enough?”
Elizabeth Holman (University of Illinois)

A survey in nonmetropolitan Illinois asked LGBTQ residents about their experiences as a queer persons in the downstate region and found significant differences between tolerance and support in terms of individual’s mental health, stress levels, attachment to the community, life satisfaction, and openness or visibility in the community. While tolerance of LGBTQ individuals in the state is an important step (compared to hostility), it is important that we move beyond tolerance to a place of welcoming acknowledgement and support.


Youth Issues: Homelessness and Bullying
Alison Stanton (Chicago Summit on LGBT Youth Homelessness), and Lawrence Carter (Illinois Safe Schools Alliance)

Alison Stanton from the Chicago Summit on LGBT Youth Homelessness will share the outcomes from the summit and help the audience imagine what can be done about youth homelessness from several different areas (Policy, Legal, Youth in Systems, Housing, Health, and Job Training & Education). Lawrence from Illinois Safe Schools Alliance will outline his work to cultivate a network of Gay Straight Alliances (GSAs) throughout the state.
The US Military: LGBT Issues in a Post-DADT World
Lorry Luscri (Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital) and Gautam Raghavan (White House advisor)

Mr. Raghavan served as a White House advisor to the U.S. Department of Defense and as the Outreach Lead for DoD’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Working Group. He will share his insight on the process of repealing the policy and in what ways the culture has changed in the US military. Ms. Luscri serves as Health Promotion Disease Prevention Program Manager at Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital, and she will share what she has done to make her work place more inclusive for LGBT veterans.


Thinking Strategically About Ally Development
Biz Lindsay-Ryan (DePaul University), Sunny Nakae (Northwestern University)

How can you engage in strategic ally development? Often advocacy & social justice work has an intense focus on marginalized populations and not enough attention on building allies to create, sustain, and reinforce change. In this train-the-trainers type session, you will think critically about the concrete outcomes of the progressive movement and how to develop educational and outreach initiatives in a way that nurtures allies.


Networking 101
Michael Nordman (Equality Illinois) and Kevin Mork (AIDS Legal Council of Chicago)

Learn how to work a room, make contacts that boost your career, and build relationships for whatever you need. The dreaded networking at events doesn’t have to be so bad and can actually bring you success. This workshop will look at ways to build your communications and interpersonal skills and discuss techniques to get more out of your daily interactions. It will also give some introductory tips on how you can apply this to any fundraising or event planning activities that you do.


Transgender Legal Advocacy
Owen Daniel-McCarter (Chicago House)

What happens when non-discrimination legislation is not enough? This session will discuss the challenges that the transgender community faces and how legislation is only the first step. Learn about the work that legal advocacy groups are currently doing to increase access to basic services through the legal process.


What can people of faith do to support LGBT equality?
Chris Pett (moderator), Stacy McCaskill (Reconciling Journey), Pastor Vernice Thorn (Broadway Methodist Church)

This panel discussion is an introduction to the intersections of faith and LGBT Equality. Learn about trends within the LGBT support in faith communities and be a part of a facilitated discussion about how LGBT people of faith can be a positive force for social change in their local families and churches.


Access to Health Care as a Civil Rights Issue
David Munar (Howard Brown Health Center), Cecilia Hardacker, RN (Howard Brown Health Center), Kate Miller (AIDS Legal Council of Chicago)

This session will explore LGBT health as a civil rights issue with unique service provision, cultural competence, access, education, and public policy components. Join a discussion that encompasses examples and input for the L, G, B, and T of our community.


LGBTQ Priorities for Immigration Reform
PANEL: Aneesha Gandhi (moderator), Keren Zwick (NIJC), Mike Jarecki (NIJC), and Dennis Ojiyoma (CLASP -Chicago LGBT Asylum Support Program).


For many in the LGBTQ community, marriage recognition was only the first step to creating an immigration system that addresses the full needs of the community. Listen to these immigration advocates outline priorities for comprehensive immigration reform that are of particular significance to the LGBTQ community.


Addiction and the LGBTQI Community
Jeff Zacharias, (New Hope Recovery Center)

This workshop will provide an in-depth look at: addiction in the LGBTQI community whether with drugs/alcohol or process addictions (sex, porn, gambling), the factors that exacerbate addictions most notably trauma and provide evidence-based best practices for treatment of LGBTQI clients impacted by addictions and trauma.


LGBT Older Adults: Preparing for the Age Wave
Britta Larson (Center on Halsted), Serena Worthington (SAGE)

As our population ages, there is a rapidly growing number of LGBT older adults in need of services. LGBT older adults face many unique challenges and barriers as they age. This workshop we will review the culture, needs and concerns of LGBT older adults and how to better serve LGBT older adults who are currently seeking access to basic services.


The State of the State
Panel in formation

Post marriage equality, the Illinois General Assembly has not stopped investigating ways to secure and protect the rights of LGBT Illinoisans. Hear discussion about the state LGBT legislative agenda and what she is hearing on the ground about what there is left to do in Illinois.


Bird’s Eye View of LGBT Equality
Alexandra Kirschner (Lambda Legal)

This year has been momentous for our movement with historic victories all over the country. So, where does the national movement stand now? Get a glimpse of what is happening in the courts and legislatures across the US as we move together towards total equality nationally.


So you want to run for office?
Hon. Debra Shore (Victory Institute Board)

After a full day of hearing all of the issues that are still affecting the LGBT community in our state, learn how to make a bold step in making a change: run for office. If you ever thought about running for office, here is your chance to learn more about how to make that dream a reality.



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