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  WINDY CITY TIMES

Illinois LGBTQ Advocacy Day May 15
2019-05-02

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SPRINGFIELD— Champions of equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer ( LGBTQ ) Illinoisans will journey to Springfield on Wednesday, May 15, for LGBTQ Advocacy Day and ask lawmakers to pass pro-LGBTQ initiatives that ensure Illinois remains one of the strongest states in the country for LGBTQ equality and inclusion. Equality Illinois is partnering with LGBTQ-led organizations from across Illinois, including Affinity Community Services, ALMA Illinois, the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois, Peoria Proud, the Phoenix Center ( Springfield ), Prairie Pride Coalition ( Bloomington-Normal ), the Rainbow Café ( Carbondale ), and WPT ( East St. Louis ) to host the annual LGBTQ Advocacy Day.

The past two election cycles have been very exciting for pro-LGBTQ equality. We saw a record number of pro-LGBTQ equality candidates elected at all levels of government. Even more exciting, we saw an LGBTQ sheriff elected in central Illinois, the first LGBTQ person of color elected to the General Assembly and even a mayor who is an LGBTQ African American woman elected as the chief executive of the third largest city in America — all right here in Illinois!

"On the national level, we have witnessed a rise in anti-LGBTQ sentiment from the administration in Washington. To counter that, we have to be present and visible in the Illinois Capitol so that our state representatives and senators, as well as officials of the executive offices, see that LGBTQ voters and our families and allies will continue to aggressively pursue our rights here in Illinois," said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, the statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization.

"There is no stepping back from the victories we have already won, and we are counting on our elected Illinois officials to support our agenda," Johnson said.

One major topic these citizen advocates will be discussing with their hometown lawmakers is the Inclusive Curriculum Bill ( HB 246 ), which would ensure the inclusion of LGBTQ contributions in the history curriculum taught in Illinois public schools. An LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum can have a positive effect on students' self-image and make their peers more accepting. It would also bring Illinois closer to being a state that tells the whole story of our shared history. Read more about the bill HERE.

Among other measures that are part of the LGBTQ Advocacy Day agenda is legislation to advance equity for LGBTQ elders ( SB 1319 ) and to ensure the state's jury service non-discrimination protections apply to LGBTQ people ( SB 1378 ). Another agenda item, ( SB 556 ), which would designate single-occupancy restrooms as gender neutral in places of public accommodations and in public buildings.

—From a press release


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