In what has become a rite of passage for Chicago's Pride month, hundreds of professionals, activists and advocates gathered at the IO Rooftop Lounge of downtown Chicago's magnificent Godfrey Hotel on June 1 for the sixteenth annual Out of the Office.
Proceeds from the event, traditionally hosted by the Godfrey and one of Chicago's most inclusive corporations DreamTown Realty, have historically assisted an array of local LGBTQ initiatives and advocacy organizations including the Chicago Gay Games. The Legacy Project and the LGBT Chamber of Commerce of Illinois.
This year, the joyous, post-workday revelry under a picture-perfect Chicago summer sunset benefitted the Chicago House TransWorks program.
Proceeds will help further the goals of TransWorks which provides, career coaching, skill-building workshops and a mentorship program for transgender and gender nonconforming individualsa community which suffers from severe unemployment rates owing to continued discrimination on the part of employers.
TransWorks, which forms a part of Chicago House's TransLife Care programs, is also a finalist for Impact 100 Chicago's grant worth $100,000. Presentations for the award are expected to begin June 6.
Meanwhile, 2017 Out of the Office co-chairs and celebrated LGBTQ community advocates Kinley Preston and Andrew Arden Hayes were on hand alongside TransWorks Program Manager Kate Harrington-Rosen to provide an impassioned education on both the history of the event and how it's attendees can change lives.
"When I came up with this idea 16-years ago, it really was for us to come together, celebrate Pride, celebrate one another and network," Hayes said.
Preston, who is the internal vice chair of the Chicago House Board of Trustees, noted that the TransWorks program is directly addressing the transgender unemployment issue.
"We know that the trans community experiences triple the rate of unemployment than the general population," Harrington-Rosen said. "All of the proceeds tonight are going to support the trans and gender nonconforming community of Chicago.
The evening also included a silent auction and raffle.
For more information about the Chicago House TransWorks program, visit: chicagohouse.org/transworks .
For more information about DreamTown Realty, visit dreamtown.com .
For more information about the Godfrey Hotel, visit: godfreyhotelchicago.com .