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The year 2018 in local LGBTQ news
by Matt Simonette

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—Candidates out and proud: A record number of openly LGBT candidates, as of January, are slated to run in various local elections.

—Ban the blood ban: The Chicago City Council's Committee on Health and Environmental Protection unanimously passed a resolution on Jan. 12 calling for the federal Food and Drug Administration ( FDA ) to revoke its ban on blood donations by men who have had sex with other men in the previous year.

—March on: An estimated 300,000 people gathered at Columbus Parkway near Grant Park for the Women's March Chicago rally and march Jan. 20 under the theme "March to the Polls."

—Injunction denied: A Cook County Circuit Court judge denied a preliminary injunction on Jan. 25 that would have allowed a transgender Nova Maday attending school in Township High School District 211 in Palatine access to the girls' locker room.

—Ad nauseum: Anti-LGBT gubernatorial candidate state Rep. Jeanne Ives ( R-Wheaton ) ran an ad in February mocking, among other groups, transgender Illinoisans. The ad featured what's intended as a comic depiction of a masculine man wearing a dress, "thanking" Gov. Bruce Rauner for "legislation that lets me use the girls' bathroom."

—Gala truce: Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Bruce Rauner set aside their continuing differences over the state of the state Feb. 3 as each presented welcoming remarks, as did Rauner's wife Diana, at Equality Illinois' 2018 fundraiser at the Chicago Hilton and Towers. It was Rauner's first time attending the gala.

—HIV withholding: AIDS Foundation of Chicago ( AFC ) announced Feb. 9 that state officials withheld, without explantion, about $10 million in spending that had already been approved by the General Assembly for HIV treatment and prevention.

—Housing appeal: Attorneys from Lambda Legal appealed a February ruling against Marsha Wetzel, a client who says she was discriminated against at her Niles retirement community because she is a lesbian. Wetzel ultimately prevailed in the case.

—Trans lawsuit: Six transgender women sued the Illinois Department of Corrections in February over what they say are the gross inadequacies in the medical treatment provided to prisoners with gender dysphoria.

—Aurora vote: Aurora's City Council Government Operations Committee approved on Feb. 13, by a vote of two to zero, Indivisible Aurora's permit request to hold the city's first Pride Parade on June 17. Despite the sweltering heat that day, nearly 100 degrees, more than 5,000 people descended on downtown Aurora to take in the festivities.

—Armstrong robbery: An online GoFundMe campaign was formed in February to assist Chicago-based entertainer Amy Armstrong after an establishment she helps manage in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico was robbed.

—Candidate slurs: Burt Minor—a Republican candidate for the Illinois General Assembly ( 42nd District )—received criticism from his own party in February amid claims that he asked a GOP-backed, African-American candidate for state attorney general if she was a "lesbo" and used a racial slur while talking with her.

—Statement denial: Republican Illinois State Attorney General Candidate Erika Harold said in March she didn't recall allegedly saying in 2000 that she'd prefer foster children being placed with child abusers rather than a same-sex couple, according to reports. Her opponent in the March 20 primary, Gary Grasso, has called on her to withdraw from the race over the matter.

—Title VII brief: Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan was among a coalition of 16 attorneys general who in March filed an amicus brief arguing that employment discrimination based on sexual orientation violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

—11th Ward race: Labor and education activist and out gay man David Mihalyfy entered the 11th Ward aldermanic race on March 23. For his debut event, a group of early supporters leafletted voting households in 15 of 38 precincts as his website and Facebook page went live.

—LGBT needs: City officials released an extensive 89-page report on Chicago's LGBT community's health needs they hope will call attention to the community's priorities and issues. The report, according to Chicago Department of Public Health Deputy Commissioner Brian Richardson, "is the first time that we have data on LGBT health issues across the spectrum."

—Chicago attack: A Chicago resident sustained multiple injuries after a severe beating and robbery the evening of March 23. Glenn Collins, who is gay, had just left work at Tuley Park, 501 E. 90th Pl.

—Gun-control march: Organizers estimated that more than 85,000 Chicago-area students and community members participated in the March for Our Lives event March 24 held in Union Park on Chicago's Near West Side. Schools from Highland Park to Crown Point, Indiana, and from the South, North and West sides of Chicago were represented.

—Suicide threat: SWAT teams and other police personnel responded the late evening of March 30 and early morning of March 31 after a Lake View man threatened to harm himself in his apartment.

—Lobby days: More than 100 community members became advocates and activists April 11 when Equality Illinois rallied its supporters at LGBTQ Advocacy Day at the Illinois Statehouse.

—TPAN hire: TPAN ( Test Positive Aware Network ) announced in April that it hired Christopher Clark to serve as the organization's chief executive officer. Clark joined TPAN following more than a decade of service at Lambda Legal.

—Education bill: The Illinois Senate passed the Inclusive Curriculum Bill—legislation calling for the inclusion of LGBT-related historical events and contributions in state classrooms—on May 2.

—Lightfoot campaign: Lori Lightfoot announced her mayoral run in May, making her the first openly lesbian Black mayoral candidate in the City's history. She unveiled an extensive LGBT framework in her platform in October.

—Renslow remembered: Dozens of community members gathered just outside Full Kit Gear, 5021 N. Clark St., the afternoon of May 19 as a portion of Clark Street was renamed in honor of gay businessman Chuck Renslow, who passed away in June 2017.

—Miller appointed: Stephanie Miller—who, in early 2017, was appointed to fill a 6th Cook County Subcircuit judge's vacancy, but did not retain the seat in the March 20, 2018 primary—was appointed a Cook County associate judge by the Illinois Supreme Court in May.

—School protections: Community members and school board officials lauded the passage of a rule codifying protections and instructions for transgender students at Oak Park River Forest ( OPRF ) High School in Oak Park.

—Activist injured: A Chicago activist and publicist was severely injured in a hit-and-run accident in the Logan Square neighborhood. Anthony Martinez was struck by a vehicle as he crossed in the crosswalk at the intersection of Fullerton and Kimball Avenues on June 6.

—Health resolution: Members of the City Council LGBT Caucus were among those on hand as the Council's Health and Environmental Protection Committee passed a resolution June 7 endorsing a comprehensive databook on LGBT health released in March by Chicago Department of Public Health ( CDPH ).

—Rowland nomination: Chicagoan Mary W. Rowland, who served as a U.S. magistrate judge for the Northern District of Illinois since 2012, was nominated by President Donald Trump in June to be a District Judge in that district.

—Landmark status: On June 22, as Chicago's Pride weekend kicked off, city officials announced that they'd be pursuing landmark status for the Legacy Walk in Boystown.

—Dyke March: The 22nd annual Chicago Dyke March returned to Little Village on Chicago's Southwest Side on June 23 this year. Front and center was the message of the event: It was pro-Palestinian, with inclusion up front of Little Village residents and representation from the Queer, Ill and Okay group.

—Logan Square apartments: A groundbreaking was held for the John Pennycuff Memorial Apartments at Robert Castillo Plaza—2031 N. Milwaukee Ave., in Logan Square— on June 23.

—Pride parade: Hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans and out-of-towners lined the streets of Lakeview and Uptown for the 49th annual Chicago Pride Parade the afternoon of June 24.

—Owner needed: Two prominent North Side LGBT businesses said in July they had just under a month to find a new owner for the building they've long called home, or their businesses are in danger of closing. The building at Clark Street and Devon Avenue that Jackhammer, 6406 N. Clark St., and Leather 64TEN, 6410 N. Clark St., partially occupied went into foreclosure earlier in 2018. A new owner was later found in the fall.

—Police call: Pharmacy giant CVS apologized to a Black Chicago woman after an Edgewater manager—a white, openly gay man who said he was running for 48th Ward alderman—phoned the police after she reportedly attempted to use a coupon he didn't recognize late on July 13.

—HUD meeting: U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley ( D-Illinois ), vice chair of the LGBT Equality Caucus, hosted a meeting with U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson and Chicago LGBTQ housing advocates July 20.

—Another parade: A Buffalo Grove student began working to bring a Pride parade to her Northwest suburban community. The idea came to 12-year-old Molly Pinta, who attends Twin Grove Middle School, after she attended the wedding of an uncle who is gay.

—Revenge porn: State Rep. Nick Sauer ( R-Libertyville ) resigned Aug. 1 after allegations broke that he'd posted intimate photos of his ex-girlfriend, Kate Kelly, on a fake Instagram account, where he additionally engaged in sexually tinged banter with other men.

—Goodbye Scot's: After more than 20 years serving the Ravenswood neighborhood, Scot's Bar, 1829 W. Montrose Ave., closed its doors. The longtime gay watering hole served its final customers the week of Aug. 5. Owners Thom Scot and Bill Houlihan decided to retire, Scot said.

—Transgender murder: Dejanay Stanton, a 24-year-old transgender Chicagoan, was murdered on Aug. 30 on Chicago's South Side. Her body was discovered at the alley of 40th Street and King Drive late in the morning that day, after persons nearby said that they had heard gunshots.

—Crossfire: A 25-year-old gay incoming Northwestern University student was killed Sept. 2 as he waited for a bus in the Rogers Park neighborhood, caught in gunfire exchange between two other men.

—Stepping down: Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced in September that he will not be seeking to retain his post in the 2019 city elections.

—Flag rally: Chicago Ald. Deb Mell ( 33rd Ward ) organized a peaceful assembly Sept. 19 outside Resurrection Catholic Church, 3043 N. Francisco Ave., in response to Pastor Fr. Paul Kalchik and seven parishioners' unauthorized burning of a rainbow flag.

—Union recognition: Members of Howard Brown Health's nursing staff and officials from the Illinois Nursing Association ( INA ) were among those on hand Sept. 28 to announce that the local healthcare organization has voluntarily recognized its nurses' right to organize.

—Rogers Park shooting: A 73-year-old gay man was killed in the Rogers Park neighborhood on the city's North Side the morning of Sept. 30. Another Rogers Park resident was similarly shot days later.

—Another transgender murder: A transgender Chicago woman, Ciara Minaj Carter Frazier, died after a fight Oct. 3—the second such murder in the city in just more than a month.

—Attack ad: On Oct. 11, openly gay Democratic Cook County Commissioner candidate Kevin Morrison was the target of an alleged anti-LGBTQ print attack ad mailed out by the Illinois Republican party. Another ad, this one from incumbent Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, depicted a marriage between rival J.B. Pritzker and House Speaker Mike Madigan, was also blasted by advocates and politicians for its anti-LGBT overtones. Morrison would eventually win his race.

—Change in the air: Among changes voters made at the polls Nov. 6, J.B. Pritzker handily beat incumbent Gov. Bruce Rauner, while a number of Republican incumbents in Chicago suburban districts were defeated by newcomers.

—Historic case: In a ruling that lawyers called "historic," a federal judge ordered that Illinois Department of Corrections ( IDOC ) review the case of Strawberry Hampton, a 27-year-old transgender woman who is being-held in a male-only detention facility downstate.

—Church protest: About 20 activists gathered Nov. 18 at Power House International Ministries, 7040 S. Western Ave., during the Sunday evening service to protest Rev. Antonio Rocquemore's removal of a 16-year-old gay teenager, Antwan Haywood, the previous week.

—Proposals condemned: The Chicago City Council Committee on Human Relations unanimously advanced a resolution in November condemning anti-trans Trump administration policy proposals.

—Baton moves: Longtime River North nightspot Baton will relocate to an Uptown location on Broadway in Spring 2019, its owner, Jim Flint, announced Dec. 5.

—Getting to zero: AIDS Foundation of Chicago ( AFC ), Illinois Department of Public Health ( IDPH ) and Chicago Department of Public Health ( CDPH ), all in conjunction with numerous other agencies and organizations, officially launched their Getting to Zero initiative Dec. 3. The project would eliminate all new HIV transmissions in the state by 2030.

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