Having received endorsements from the LGBTQ Victory Fund and the Equality Illinois PAC, Maggie Trevor is an out lesbian running as a Democratic candidate for the 54th District of the Illinois House of Representatives. The district includes Palatine and Rolling Meadows.
Trevor, who has a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, decided to run because she feels her opponent, Tom Morrison, is way too conservative for her community. "His views on social issues are completely out of step with the majority of people who live in the northwest suburbs," said Trevor, "and I could not abide by him running unopposed again."
Windy City Times: How did you feel when you marched in this year's Pride parade?
Maggie Trevor: It was interesting and funan incredibly enthusiastic crowd. There was a pretty big contingent of people form the northwest suburbs who marched in that parade, too, which I thought was pretty impressive.
WCT: Did you ever think that being out would hinder your political career?
MT: I never thought I'd have a political career before this election and I have no intention of doing this as a career. I'm 55 years old, I've had three careers, at least, depending on how you count. I specifically want to run for state representative to represent my community. I also feel that in this particular race, being out is important. It's important that people know that [LGBTQ people] are out here in the suburbs, we are your friends, neighbors, and family members, and there's this person in the suburbs [incumbent Morrison], who is trying to shut the door on us.
WCT: Unlike your opponent, you've stated that you will protect the right to marry and support policies for trans youth to access bathrooms that correspond with their gender identity.
WCT: What else do you propose to do to further support the LGBTQ community?
MT: I think that Illinois is one of the best states for LGBT rights, but I think that we have to have strong protections for employment discrimination more than anything else. The key is making sure there is the potential of enforcement for that.
WCT: Would you say that's what you're most passionate about in terms of issues that impact the LGBTQ community?
MT: It's central to everything else. If you're afraid of losing your job, it restricts your freedom to do so many other things. Because of that, I think it's absolutely crucial to address.
WCT: Would you ever proactively increase funding for agencies combatting LGBTQ homelessness, for example?
MT: I would like to. Given the budget circumstances, there are a lot of competing things. But I think homelessness in general is a huge problem and disproportionately affects LGBTQ youth. I grew up in a house where my mother was a political activist and one of the many things that she did was that she was the volunteer welfare officer for the city of Rolling Meadows. Through watching her work, I really came to understand how important it is to keep people from becoming homeless. Once [they do], it becomes that much harder to get people services to help them get back on their feet.
WCT: Do you support banning employment discrimination based on criminal records?
MT: Under most circumstances, yes. But I think are still circumstances where it does need to be taken into account.
WCT: Can you talk through what some of those circumstances may be?
MT: Not easily. There are types of circumstances where that would be relevant. I'm thinking certain aspects of financial industries, healthcare, where you have access to the type of information, that can be very sensitive. But, by and large, it shouldn't be a bar to employment.
WCT: What are your thoughts on the repeal of laws that mandate criminal penalties for the transmission of HIV/AIDS?
MT: I think those need to be repealed.
WCT: Do you support the decriminalization of marijuana?
MT: As long as there are two conditions [met]: one, enforceable safeguards against driving under the influence; second, I favor legalization taxing. That tax needs to be, at a minimum, enough to cover any public health considerations that may arise from increased use of marijuana, kind of like what we do with cigarettes. There are public health concerns with respiratory diseases and things like that. We need to make sure that any impact that happens to our public health system is covered as well as being a source of revenue for other concerns.
WCT: Still on the subject of marijuana, do you favor restorative justice measures?
MT: Can you explain that a little more?
WCT: If we start legalizing something that predominantly people of color get put in jail for, what do we do to retroactively go back and lessen sentences, etc.?
MT: That's something we should reconsider regardless, not only for social justice reasons, but because we as a state are spending a lot of money incarcerating people for non-violent crimes. Whether or not we legalize marijuana, that's something we need to look hard at.
WCT: On your Facebook page, you shared a story about what unions mean to your family when they came to the United States. Can you tell us more about that?
MT: My mother's family were Italian immigrants. My grandmother came over just before World War I as a teenager and my grandfather came over in the 20s. When my grandmother came over, she came with her entire extended family and she was the oldest of [her siblings] by 10 years, so she helped support the family through a job as a seamstress. It was a union job and she ended up making more money than her parents did, who were factory workers.
MT: That union job is basically what helped bring my extended family into the middle class. They were able to purchase property in Chicago, which was the typical immigrant model of them all sharing and chipping in for this property. It gave them a toe hold. Because of that, I understand the value of unions and I also understand just how much has been lost in terms of the ability for workers to organize collectively for a living wage and safe working conditions.
WCT: What do you love most about living in Rolling Meadows?
MT: Rolling Meadows has changed tremendously over the years through the work of a lot of people, my mother included. It's now a diverse place; not only in terms of ethnicity and income, but there's also a very vibrant LBGT community out here. On top of that, Rolling Meadows also has a very wonderful small-town feel. I appreciate the fact that it's become a very accepting community.
Learn more about Maggie Trevor at trevorforstaterep.net/ .
See more 2018 election coverage at www.windycitymediagroup.com/gaynewsarticles.php .