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City Council introduces pro-trans, Renslow resolutions

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The Chicago City Council introduced a resolution from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the LGBT Caucus and other alderpersons to express opposition to President Donald Trump's decision to ban transgender individuals from military service.

The resolution is headed to the Committee on Human Relations for a hearing; the date of said hearing has not yet been specified.

The resolution is as follows:

WHEREAS, The service and sacrifices of tlie members of our military guarantee the freedoms tiiat eacin and every American enjoys today; and

WHEREAS, Tiiose who answer the call to military service include persons of every race, color, religion, gender, and gender identity; and

WHEREAS, Under a decision by former Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter to lift a ban on transgender military service, for the past year transgender troops have been serving openly and have been widely praised for their service; and

WHEREAS, Transgender soldiers openly serve in the military forces of eighteen of our allies around the world, including Israel and Great Britain. Our allies have noted that policies allowing the transgender community to serve in the military have benefited all service members by creating a more inclusive and diverse force; and

WHEREAS, A Rand Corporation study commissioned by the Department of Defense estimated that there are fewer than 10,000 members of our armed forces who are transgender, and concluded that allowing members of the transgender community to serve would not impact unit cohesion, operational effectiveness, or readiness; and

WHEREAS, Notwithstanding the willingness of these transgender troops to voluntarily defend the freedoms we all hold dear, President Donald J. Trump decided, on the 69th anniversary of President Truman's order to integrate the military, that these soldiers can no longer serve in our armed forces; and

WHEREAS, This arbitrary decision by the President will result not only in a tragic personal blow to our transgender service members, but also a substantial professional loss to our military; and

WHEREAS, There is no evidence to suggest that the contributions of transgender service members are any less valuable to the defense of our nation than those of other members of the military; and

WHEREAS, Service by members of the transgender community has no negative impact on our military's ability to achieve decisive and overwhelming victory; and

WHEREAS, President Trump's decision to ban transgender persons from the armed forces is another anachronistic, divisive, and discriminatory policy that does nothing to enhance the safety and security of the United States; and

WHEREAS, Not only does President Trump's latest announcement continue his campaign to attack vulnerable populations and contradict his 2016 campaign promise to be a strong defender of the LGBT community, it weakens us as a nation; and

WHEREAS, Any American who seel BE IT RESOLVED, That we, the Mayor and Members of the City Council assembled this twenty-sixth day of July, 2017, condemn the arbitrary, divisive, and discriminatory decision by President Donald J. Trump to ban members of the transgender community from serving in the United States military; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That suitable copies of this resolution be delivered to President Donald J. Trump, Secretary of Defense James Mattis, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, and House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry.

Renslow resolution

The council also introduced a resolution marking the life and passing of Chuck Renslow:

WHEREAS, Chuck Renslow, 87, a longtime pillar of the LGBTQ community in Chicago and around the world, died on Thursday, June 29, 2017 after multiple long-term health issues; and, 

WHEREAS, The Chicago City Council has been informed of his passing by the City Council LGBT Caucus; and,   

WHEREAS, Renslow was born in Chicago in 1929, raised in the Logan Square neighborhood by his grandmother, and graduated from Lane Technical High School; and,  

WHEREAS, In the early 1950s, Renslow founded Kris Studios, one of the earliest and most durable of the physique photography houses. He was an accomplished photographer, including of the ballet. His dance photography is in the Newberry Library in the Chuck Renslow Dance Photographs collection; and, 

WHEREAS, In 1958, he was brought to a local court for the distribution and possession of material with "excessive genital delineation." Unlike some gays, Renslow did not passively wait for a conviction. He and his attorneys fought back, including as evidence nude statues in Chicago. In 1964, the Post Office also brought Kris Studios up on charges of pornography. The studios did not use the more common strategy of saying the materials were art; they just denied they were pornography, and the judge agreed that the human body itself, in posing straps, was not porn; and,  

WHEREAS, He opened Gold Coast, believed to be the first leather bar in the U.S., in Chicago in 1958. It closed in 1987, when it was known internationally as the oldest leather establishment in the world; and,

WHEREAS, He was the founder of many bars and sex clubs since the 1960s including Man's Country, which is still open in Andersonville. In the 1970s, the bathhouse attracted top names on the "K-Y circuit"; and, 

WHEREAS, He was the publisher of Triumph, Mars and Rawhide Male magazines, publications mailed and shared across the country as the earliest ways gay men found each other. In 1965, he was a founder of Second City Motorcycle Club, the first such club not on the West Coast; and, 

WHEREAS, Renslow also was involved in newspapers, purchasing GayLife newspaper from its founder, Grant Ford, and publishing it for several years, until it folded in 1986; and, 

WHEREAS, In 1979, he founded International Mr. Leather, which grew out of his Mr. Gold Coast contest and the experience he had managing A.A.U. physique competitions. Renslow and Tony DeBlase co-founded the Leather Archives & Museum in 1991. Renslow served as president for many years; and, 

WHEREAS, Organizations he was involved in included Strike Against AIDS, Human Rights Campaign Fund, Metropolitan Business Association, Illinois Gay and Lesbian Task Force, National Organization for Women, American Civil Liberties Union, NAACP, Chicago Association of Commerce and Industry, Uptown Chamber of Commerce, 46th Ward Advisory Council and the 48th Ward Democratic Party Advisory Board; and, 

WHEREAS, He served on the board of directors of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and was a U.S. representative to what was known then as the International Lesbian and Gay Association; and,

WHEREAS, Renslow was especially active in politics in the 1970s and 1980s, as the gay community gained clout. He was the founder of Prairie State Democratic Club in 1980, and they hosted events with top politicians from Chicago and Cook County, and even presidential candidates coming through the area. He pushed for the gay and lesbian civil-rights ordinance when it was first introduced in the City Council in the early 1970s, and the initial executive order banning discrimination in Chicago city government, as issued by Mayor Jane Byrne; and,

WHEREAS, Renslow was inducted into the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame in 1991 and received dozens of awards from the gay and leather communities. He received The Leather Journal's lifetime achievement award and a Centurion Award as Leatherman of the Century; and, 

WHEREAS, Renslow is survived by his partner of 36 years, Ron Ehemann, and two adopted sons, Robert Wilke and Patrick Corcoran; and,

WHEREAS, on Wednesday, August 2, 2017, at Jefferson Masonic Temple, a masonic funeral ritual will be held and, on Sunday, August 27, 2017, the 36th and final White Party will be held at Metro, opening with a memorial celebrating Chuck Renslow; and,

WHEREAS, throughout his life and career, Chuck Renslow served as an exemplary leader to LGBT and Leather communities in Chicago and beyond and as a model activist for social justice; now therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED that we, the Mayor and members of the City Council of the City of Chicago, assembled this 26th day of July 2017, do hereby honor the life and memory of Chuck Renslow and extend our heartfelt condolences to his family and friends; and,

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that a suitable copy of this resolution be presented to the family of Chuck Renslow, International Mister Leather, Inc. and the Leather Archives and Museum.

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