Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-12-11
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Equality Illinois holds Valentine's Day gala
by Matt Simonette
2015-02-15

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

      More Photos


About 1,200 supporters of Equality Illinois—among them more than 40 elected officials and political candidates—crowded into the International Ballroom of the Chicago Hilton and Towers for the organization's 2015 Gala Feb. 14.

Three of the five candidates vying for the post of Chicago mayor—incumbent Rahm Emanuel, Cook County Commissioner Jesus "Chuy" Garcia and 2nd Ward Ald. Robert "Bob" Fioretti—were among those officials working the room to meet constituents in the moments prior to dinner. Emanuel's voice had given out, and he nursed hot tea as he approached guests throughout the gathering.

Among those other officials and candidates in attendance were Illinois Comptroller Leslie Munger; U.S. Rep. Jan Schakowsky; City Clerk candidate Marc Loveless [Loveless is currently not on the ballot, but said he is mounting a write-in campaign]; Chicago Commission on Human Relations Commissioner Mona Noriega; former state Rep. Ellis Levin; Maya Karmely, Consul for Public Affairs, Consulate General of Israel to the Midwest; 19th District Police Commander Elias Voulgaris; 43rd Ward aldermanic candidate Jen Kramer; Chicago Public Library Commissioner Brian Bannon; 46th Ward aldermanic candidate Amy Crawford; 5th Ward aldermanic candidate Jocelyn Hare; 15th Ward aldermanic candidate Raymond Lopez; former state Rep. Tom Cross; Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez; Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown; Consul General to Germany Herbert Quelle; Cook County Commissioner Bridget Gainer; state Sen. Don Harmon; state Rep. Kelly Cassidy; state Rep. Ann Williams; state Rep. Scott Drury; state Rep. Greg Harris; Ald. Leslie Hairston; Ald. Deb Mell; Ald. Michele Smith; Ald. Tom Tunney; Ald. James Cappleman; Ald. Joe Moore; Springfield Alderman and Illinois Tourism Director Cory Jobe; East Aurora School Board candidate Alex Arroyo; U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley; U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly; City Clerk Susana Mendoza; and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle.

Former Gov. Pat Quinn was also in attendance and, along with Emanuel, was greeted with a standing ovation from the audience.

Equality Illinois co-founder Arthur Johnston pointed out that, with the Illinois gay marriage law having taken effect in June 2014, this was "the first Valentine's Day that our love is treated as equal under the law." He further paid tribute to three political allies of the LGBT community who have passed in recent months: former Mayor Jane Byrne, state Rep. Rosemary Mulligan and Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka.

He discussed how, under Byrne's watch, police raids on gay bars ceased and official city recognition of the Pride Parade began. He also spoke of how Mulligan, who was seriously ill, drove to Springfield to cast a deciding vote on civil unions in Illinois. Lastly, he shared a story about Topinka's shock when an embarrassed friend didn't want to be seen at a gay event, a moment that fortified Topinka's public advocacy for LGBT issues.

"Please remember these remarkable women, who stood with us, and for us, when it was much, much harder to do so," Johnston said.

Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov noted that "the idea that all love is equal is neither revolutionary nor new, but it sure took us a long time to get to this point. In Illinois, we began this century with no protections for LGBT individuals, not even from hate crimes, so nine years ago it was perfectly legal to fire someone from a job, just because of a perception that a person was lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. We began this decade with no anti-bullying laws and no relationship recognition of any kind, not even the right to visit a sick partner in the hospital.

"Now, look what we have accomplished. Today, Illinois is one of the growing number of states that have hate-crimes protections, trans-inclusive non-discrimination laws, anti-bullying protection, and, as of last June—thank you, Gov. Quinn—full marriage equality."

Cherkasov further discussed Equality Illinois' work on youth safety in the months since the community's marriage victories.

"Equal marriage laws are great, but they don't help young people who are struggling with coming out from being bullied and having no one to turn to," he said. "Our coalition worked and passed a stronger anti-bullying law, because no one should be scared to go to school. We built a network of over a thousand clergy members in every part of Illinois, and helping them create safe spaces for struggling young people. This year, we're going to pass Rep. Kelly Cassidy's bill that bans and protects minors from conversion therapies. Young people need to know that they are born perfect and we will love them unconditionally for who they are."

Cherkasov also discussed Equality Illinois phone banks to defend its political allies in the 2014 elections. "We might not win every battle—and we didn't—but in the end, every single state representative, and all but one state senator, who had voted for marriage equality, Republican and Democrat, won re-election." Gov. Quinn, however, lost.

Emanuel, still hoarse, briefly said some remarks to introduce Michael J. Sacks, CEO of the investment firm, GCM Grosvenor, then turned his prepared remarks over to his wife, Amy Rule. Sacks was recipient of the 2015 Business Leadership Award.

"I feel like Maria Von Trapp, stepping in to save the captain," joked Rule, before Sacks took to the stage and described his advocacy history, much of which, he said, came about at Emanuel's behest. Sacks in 2013 organized an effort to convey support from Illinois business leaders for marriage equality to the General Assembly.

Sacks recalled meeting a gay couple hosting a fundraising event for President Bill Clinton in the 1990s, and being impressed that one of their fathers was in attendance and showing so much support for their son.

"I thought to myself that night, that was the kind of father I wanted to be," Sacks said. "… I wanted to hang out with people who were willing to be in that room and were proud to be in that room."

TransLife Center of Chicago House was presented with a 2015 Freedom award. Roderick Hawkins of Chicago Urban League, last year's recipients, presented the award to Rev. Stan Sloan, CEO of Chicago House.

TransLife Center, Hawkins noted, came about "in response to the great need for culturally competent, expert social services specifically for transgender individuals. The Center provides comprehensive programming and support with health issues, housing, legal aid and employment assistance for transgender individuals impacted by poverty, homelessness and health issues. The TransLife Center provides critical life-changing services."

Hawkins added, "It is only appropriate that we honor TransLife Center at this gala titled 'Love is Love.' Love is defined in many ways, including service to the community, and embracing the disenfranchised."

Performer Lea DeLaria was 2015's other Freedom Award recipient. She kicked off her remarks in a raspy voice to poke fun at the mayor.

"How fucking great is Rahm?" she then exclaimed. "Amy, it's a really bad idea to promise a room full of gay men The Sound of Music then renege on it."

DeLaria later reflected on her upcoming marriage and the progress of the LGBT community later: "I surprised everyone including myself by asking Chelsea Fairless to marry me. She is the love of my life, and it's an honor for me, and a privilege that we have fought very hard for, to finally be able to stand next to the woman I love, while someone sings 'The Greatest Love of All'. … In my wildest dreams, if someone had told me, when I was 28 years old, that, before I died, I would be able to get legally married in the United States, I would have told them to take another hit of acid."

DeLaria told Windy City Times that the LGBT community needs to expend less energy infighting, so that it can better combat its foes in the religious right and elsewhere.

"Our progress is often us taking five steps forward, then seven steps back," she said. "The more we have coming to us, the harder they push back. We need to work harder at finding our similarities, more than worrying about our differences."


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Baim guest speaker at CME/HRC event 2019-12-12 - Chicago Reader Publisher and Windy City Times owner Tracy Baim was the featured speaker at a Dec. 10 CME Group LGBTQ PRIDE Employee ...


Gay News

Velazquez, Craig and Maloney Press HHS on Removal of LGBTQ Protections 2019-12-12 - Washington, DC — More than one hundred members of the U.S. House of Representatives have written the Trump Administration's Department of Health and ...


Gay News

Lambda Legal: Van Dyke's Confirmation An Affront to LGBT Community 2019-12-11 - ( Washington, DC, December 11, 2019 ) — Today, Sasha Buchert, Senior Attorney at Lambda Legal, issued the following statement after the U.S. ...


Gay News

Sean Hayes at Feb. 5 Goodman event 2019-12-11 - Goodman Theatre, now in its 95th season, will host the "Legacy & Promise" Education and Engagement Luncheon Wed., Feb. 5, featuring Emmy-winning and ...


Gay News

Alphonso David: New national HRC president on work, policies and Trump 2019-12-11 - Alphonso David is more than the new national president of the sprawling LGBTQ-rights organization the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ). He literally ...


Gay News

ELECTIONS 2020 Marianne Williamson talks LGBT rights, presidential bid 2019-12-11 - Marianne Williamson—an author and activist who's been running to secure the democratic nomination for president in 2020, said that she doesn't see herself ...


Gay News

International Human Rights Day legislation would make U.S. LGBTI protections leader 2019-12-10 - Washington ( December 10, 2019 ) — Today, as the United Nations commemorates the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of ...


Gay News

Community turns out for World of Chocolate 2019-12-10 - About 1,000 Chicagoans and other visitors showed up at Revel Fulton Market in the West Loop for AIDS Foundation of Chicago's annual World ...


Gay News

WORLD Marriages in Brazil, chemsex, couple attacked, Gus Kenworthy 2019-12-10 - The state Institute Brazilian Geography and Statistics said that same-sex marriages in Brazil grew 61.7 percent in 2018—a trend that grew from October, ...


Gay News

GOP offers answer to Equality Act; LGBTQs criticize measure 2019-12-06 - On Dec. 6, Republican Utah Rep. Chris Stewart unveiled the so-called Fairness for All Act—legislation that supposedly protects LGBTQ+ people against discrimination in ...


 



Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.