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 2020-05-27
About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



HRC Chicago holds Equality Act panel discussion
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) Chicago hosted a panel discussion, "The Equality Act & Me," May 29 at Morningstar Inc. to highlight the ways the Equality Act would improve the lives of every LGBTQ person in the United States.

Chicago Sun-Times columnist and ABC Chicago political analyst Laura Washington moderated the event, with panelists U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly, Pride Action Tank Executive Director and AIDS Foundation of Chicago Policy and Advocacy Operations Senior Director Kim Hunt, Wintrust Bank Vice President Don Cortelyou, LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois Director Jerome' Holston and Loyola University student, first openly transgender Illinois General Assembly page and Equality Illinois Community Advisory Group member Grayson Alexander.

Ahead of the panel discussion, HRC Regional Organizing Lead Deon Young played a video outlining examples of discrimination that persists nationwide due to the lack of federal protections for LGBTQ people since only 20 states ( including Illinois ) have both sexual orientation and gender identity named as protected classes of people. Young explained that according to studies about 63 percent of LGBTQ people say they have experienced some form of discrimination. He said 70 percent of the entire U.S. population supports legal protections for LGBTQ people nationwide.

Young explained that the Equality Act has additional categories of protections that were not listed in the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and these would help not only LGBTQ people, but also women in general and people of color. He said the House of Representatives recently voted on the bill and it passed with bipartisan support—236 to 173 with eight GOP members voting for it and all Democrats present voting yes.

Morningstar, Inc. Global Director of Design David Williams and HRC Steering Committee member and Area Representative Justin Koziatek also spoke ahead of the panel. Williams announced that Morningstar had recently joined the Equality Act Business Coalition.

Washington queried Kelly on the status of the bill and steps forward.

Kelly said she is thrilled the bill passed the House and credits its sponsor, Rep. David Cicilline, for moving it forward, however, there will be a fight in the GOP controlled Senate to bring this to the floor for a vote. She explained this is "really a civil-rights bill."

Washington asked Alexander to describe his page job and what he got from the experience.

Alexander explained that pages are the "little cogs no one sees" running errands for the non-partisan clerk of the Illinois General Assembly and he learned a lot about how things really get done legislatively. In terms of him being the first openly transgender page, Alexander said he is honored to hold that status and have had the opportunity to meet the legislators who were putting forth the Birth Certificate Modernization Act and advocate for it when he was not on the clock.

"It made me appreciate how well protected I am as LGBTQ person in Illinois," said Alexander.

Alexander said he still is concerned for his transgender friends in Missouri who have to worry about passing everyday because they have no state-wide protections.

Washington asked the other panelists to outline how their area of expertise dovetails with what the Equality Act will provide and what they are doing now to address these issues.

Hunt said that, in recent years, she learned the biggest concern for aging LGBTQ people is affirming senior housing facilities since most places are not ready for them to reside there. She explained that many LGBTQ seniors are going back into the closet in these housing facilities. Hunt said this has been addressed with a bill that adds protections for LGBTQ and HIV-positive people to the existing Illinois Elder Care Law and it is awaiting Gov. Pritzker's signature.

Holston explained that there are currently about 300 LGBTQ business owners or inclusive employers in Illinois that the chamber supports in various ways. He said the Equality Act will improve the quality of life for these LGBTQ business-owners so they can thrive and qualify for more government contracts.

Cortelyou, who calls himself a socialist banker, wondered if banks want to make money why would they discriminate against anyone. He said LGBTQ people can be sitting in front of a "bigoted" loan officer who may not work as hard to find a loan they might qualify for or give them a good interest rate. Cortelyou explained that the Equality Act would amend the Equal Credit Opportunity Act to include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes of people.

In terms of arguments against the Equality Act, Kelly said the biggest obstacle is Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell even though, according to Sen. Tammy Baldwin, it could pass the Senate if it was put to a floor vote.

Hunt said many people do not know this is an issue because they think LGBTQ people are already protected on a federal level so public awareness campaigns are vital. She explained that the provisions the Obama administration put into place are being stripped away, especially for transgender people, and the Equality Act will reverse this.

Alexander, Cortelyou and Holston echoed Hunt's comments that education and publicity campaigns about the Equality Act will hasten its passage in the Senate and having it signed into law by the president.

A Q&A session followed.

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.


Gay News

North Side protest draws thousands 2020-06-02 - Thousands of Chicagoans gathered on the North Side in the late afternoon of June 1 for a demonstration in response to the killing ...

Gay News

Quigley highlights need for nondiscriminatory blood donation guidelines 2020-06-02 - Washington, D.C. — U.S. Representatives Mike Quigley ( D-IL ), Adam Schiff ( D-CA ), Carolyn Maloney ( D-NY ), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez ( ...

Gay News

U.S. Rep. Quigley releases Pride Month statement 2020-06-02 - U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley ( D-Illinois ) released the following statement in honor of LGBTQ+ Pride Month, which is observed every June in ...

Gay News

WORLD Zambia pardon, fashion house, HIV+ mayor, Costa Rica marriage 2020-06-01 - Zambia's president pardoned a gay couple sentenced to 15 years in prison in November under colonial-era sodomy laws in a case that caused ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Court ruling, Trevor Project, trans man killed, George Floyd statements 2020-06-01 - A federal district court ruled that the U.S. Social Security Administration's ( SSA's ) refusal to consider the claims for survivor's benefits by ...

Gay News

Democratic National Committee releases Pride Month statement 2020-06-01 - Democratic National Committee ( DNC ) Chair Tom Perez, LGBTQ Caucus Chair Earl Fowlkes, Treasurer Bill Derrough and Secretary Jason Rae released the ...

Gay News

Equality Illinois to air statewide Pride broadcast 2020-06-01 - For the first time in Illinois history, LGBTQ people everywhere in the state can celebrate Pride together during a statewide Pride celebration broadcast ...

Gay News

Pritzker activates National Guard at Chicago's request 2020-05-31 - In response to a City of Chicago request, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker activated 375 Illinois National Guard soldiers for state active duty to ...

Gay News

COVID-19 Commissioner holds virtual panel on supporting abuse survivors 2020-05-31 - Due to the significant increase in calls to the Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, Cook County Commissioner Kevin B. Morrison ...

Gay News

EXCLUSIVE Trans Minneapolis city councilmember talks about violence, George Floyd 2020-05-30 - In 2017, Phillipe Cunningham ( a DePaul University graduate ) made history when he became one of the first openly transgender men to ...


Copyright © 2020 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.







About WCMG Publications News  Entertainment Features Donate Bars & Clubs Calendar 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.