U.S. Rep. Robin Kellya progressive Democrat who represents part of Chicago's South Side, south suburbs and rural areashosted an LGBT roundtable Jan. 12 at Matter's space in the Merchandise Mart. Guests included leaders and advocates from the LGBT community.
Kelley's special guest was Erin O'Flaherty. O'Flaherty, Miss Missouri 2016, was the country's first open lesbian to compete in the Miss America pageant. She is an advocate working on LGBT suicide prevention, including with The Trevor Project and The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
She first was impacted by the issue when a friend committed suicide, when they were both 13. O'Flaherty has spoken across the country, including on television, about her own life, and the causes she cares about, which also include mental health.
Rep. Kelly spoke briefly about the challenges facing this country under a GOP-led House and Senate, and with a right-wing racist in the White House. She said she tries to be bipartisan, and "around the edges" things do get passed, but that it is very difficult to work across the aisle in D.C. these days, as evidenced by the retirement of so many elected officials.