Community Profile: Peter Thaddeus

Peter Thaddeus is a professional artist who is running the Naperville Tuesday night program at Youth Outlook. He supplements discussions with art/creative projects to add fun and interaction to group. The youth are creating something meaningful out of clay, paint, paper, sand, markers, or a variety of other fun vehicles of artistic expression. Find other Peter’s works at or Instagram @thaddeus_art. He has a “Pride” page devoted to the community. Dare to Dream: the youth are making
Emerald City centerpieces for the event! This post originally appeared in Open Doors, the newsletter of PFLAG of Northern Illinois.

With one hand, administration boosts ACA marketplaces, weakens them with another

By Julie Appleby, Kaiser Health News

In the span of less than 12 hours last week, the Trump administration took two seemingly contradictory actions that could have profound effects on the insurance marketplaces set up by the Affordable Care Act. First, officials issued guidance Monday morning that could weaken the exchanges set up for people who buy their own insurance. The new approach makes it easier for states to get around some ACA requirements, including allowing the use of federal subsidies for skimpier plans that can reject people with preexisting conditions. Yet, the other move — a proposed rule unveiled Monday evening — could bolster ACA marketplaces by sending millions of people with job-based coverage there, armed with tax-free money from their employers to buy individual plans. Both efforts play into the parallel narratives dominating the bitter political debate over the ACA.

Reclaiming video games’ queer past before it disappears

By Adrienne Shaw, Temple University
The role of video games in queer communities is finally being recognized – but it’s almost too late. For 30 years, GLAAD, a leading advocate for LGBTQ visibility in the media, has honored TV shows that positively represent LGBTQ people – and along the way has expanded its attention to include other genres, such as English language film, journalism, theater and Spanish language media. The 2019 GLAAD Media Awards will, for the first time, recognize video games with LGBTQ characters. As someone who has studied LGBTQ issues in games since 2005, I see this move as an important historical shift, acknowledging that games are worthy of LGBTQ media activists’ attention. When I started my career, I had to convince people that there even were LGBTQ game content, players or creators to be studied.

Transgender and non-binary people face health care discrimination every day in the US

Shanna K. Kattari, University of Michigan
Many people may experience anxiety when seeking medical treatment. They might worry about wait times, insurance coverage or how far they must travel to access care. Transgender and non-binary individuals have an added fear: gender-related discrimination. This can involve being outed due to a name or gender mismatch on an insurance card, being completely denied care or even being left to die. Most recently, the White House has begun to seriously weigh removing transgender and intersex individuals from definitions of gender completely.

Out of Matthew Shepard’s tragic murder, a commitment to punishing hate crimes emerged

Lara Schwartz, American University School of Public Affairs

On an October night in 1998, Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old student at the University of Wyoming, was beaten, driven to a remote field, tied to a fence and left to die. The cyclist who found him reported that the unconscious young man’s face was covered with blood except where tears had washed the skin clean. People gathered for vigils nationwide. The press flocked to Laramie to cover the story. Matthew died six days later, on Oct.

Sex object, germ killer, battleground – the wonderful history of the beard

Alun Withey, University of Exeter
Beard styles often reveal a moment in time. In 2015 the hipster beard is, despite repeated and insistent claims that the trend is over, still popular. This current trend has already outlasted many of its pogonophilic predecessors over the past 20 years or so. But perhaps the fact that an exhibition at Somerset House in London has just opened featuring 80 portraits by Brock Elbank of hirsute men indicates that the hipster beard will soon, finally, be ditched. Looking back through history, beard styles often follow particular eras.

Barriers for transgender voters ahead of the 2018 midterm elections

Timothy R. Bussey, Kenyon College
Recently, there have been a number of historic firsts for transgender political candidates. In 2017, State Rep. Danica Roem of Virginia became the first openly transgender person to be elected to a state legislature, and just last month, gubernatorial candidate, Christine Hallquist of Vermont, became the first transgender person to win a major party nomination. While these accomplishments are a significant sign of change in American politics, transgender people still face challenges in the political arena. One of these challenges is access to ID cards, like a driver’s license or passport, with a correctly updated gender marker (i.e. “M,” “F,” and in some states, “X”), instead of the gender marker that was assigned at birth. A 2018 report from the Williams Institute of the UCLA School of Law examines the impact of strict voter ID laws in the upcoming midterm elections.

Meet Stephanie Skora, Chicago’s anti-zionist trans Jewish leader

“I’m the most prominent anti-zionist Jewish trans woman in the midwest. There’s three of us, but thats something.” But let’s start in 1895. That’s where Stephanie Skora begins the story of her faith, when members of her family who survived pogroms in Russia and Poland founded the first synagogue in Chicago after the famous fire, Congregation Ezras Israel in Rogers Park. Stephanie grew up in the same congregation before her family moved to a Reconstructionist synagogue.

The Illinois Eagle says good-bye… for a while

You may have seen the post from our publisher, but this is the official announcement. The Illinois Eagle is suspending publication. For the past few years, the readership and following of the Eagle has lagged far behind it’s big brother Great Lakes Den. It has a tenth of the readership and a fifth of the followers on social media. And I simply didn’t have the bandwidth to grow that following and really establish a distinct identity from the bigger publication.