True Love Block Party with Howard Brown

CHICAGO — On Friday, July 21, Howard Brown Health will unveil TRUE LOVE, an interactive art installation by artist Bob Faust at a community open house for its Rogers Park clinic. Open and offering full-spectrum healthcare services since December 2015, Howard Brown Health Clark welcomes the community to an open house that will include refreshments from local restaurants, entertainment, and family-friendly activities in conjunction with the unveiling. Medical providers and staff will be on hand to discuss services available at Howard Brown Health Clark Street. The installation features the words “TRUE LOVE” with the word “TRUE” as flat colorful two-dimensional decals overlaid with the word “LOVE” fabricated in three-dimensional, clear acrylic boxes. The clear boxes are repositories for colorful slips of paper on which visitors are encouraged to respond to one or more available prompts on the topic of TRUE LOVE.

PASSINGS: Chuck Renslow, leather community founder

Updated with comments from IML, Center on Halstead, and the Leather Archives & Museum

CHICAGO — It was announced today that Chuck Renslow, founder of International Mr. Leather and co-founder of the Leather Archives & Museum, has passed away. He was 87. The news was announced on Facebook by Tracy Baim, publisher of the Windy City Times. The news was still reverberating across the global leather community on Thursday afternoon. The impact of Chuck on the leather community was, without exaggeration, legendary.

Gay publication barred from DOJ Pride event

WASHINGTON, D.C. — A reporter from the Washington Blade, the capital’s gay newspaper, was barred from a Pride event at the U.S. Department of Justice on Wednesday, the newspaper reported. During remarks by Assistant Attorney General for National Security Dana Boente, a Justice Department approached reporter Chris Johnson and told him that the event was closed to the press. From the Washington Blade:
The closed-press rule for the event is unusual. The Blade attended and covered DOJ Pride events as a member of the press numerous times during the Obama administration — under both former U.S. Attorneys General Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch. The Blade was also allowed under the Trump administration to cover a Pride event for LGBT service members and civilians at the Pentagon with full cooperation of officials.

Pride Arts Center Theatre for young audiences begins July 8

CHICAGO – Pride Arts Center (PAC), home to Pride Films and Plays (PFP), has been producing a variety of shows each month, but this summer will be their first ever Theatre for Young Audiences production. PAC delightedly presents PRIDE EVER AFTER, a charming 45-minute show for ages 10 and up, which enlightens and entertains as four actors play more than 20 characters! PRIDE EVER AFTER is directed by PFP Artistic Associate Amber Snyder with guest artist Lesley Fisher Chapman as assistant director. This physical comedy romp will feature Myesha-Tiara McGarner, Kendra Verhage, Matthew Towers and Shea Lee. PRIDE EVER AFTER explores what it means to add pride to familiar “Happily Ever After” tales and looks at the world through rainbow-colored lenses.

Pulse One Year Later at Center on Halsted, June 12

CHICAGO — Center on Halsted is hosting Chicagoland’s LGBTQ community on Monday, June 12, 2017 to mark one year since the PULSE nightclub shootings that happened in Orlando, Florida on June 12, 2016. The Candle Lighting Vigil and Sunset Bell Toll will commemorate each of the 49 lives taken while sharing the resiliency amongst those still living. Last year at Center on Halsted’s candle lighting vigil and sunset bell toll, more than 500 people attended, and the cross streets of Halsted and Waveland were shut down due to the outpouring of support of the service in the lobby. This year, even more attendees are expected due to the call to action of the National Equality March being held in Washington, D.C. on June 11th. The program will be led by Joanna Thompson, Community Outreach and Engagement Coordinator for Center on Halsted.

Illinois passes LGBTQ panic defense ban, birth certificate law

SPRINGFIELD — The Illinois General Assembly passed two pieces of legislation on Wednesday, May 31: A bill banning the “gay panic” defense and a law making it easier to update birth certificates. House Bill 1785, a measure to modernize Illinois law allowing people to change the gender marker on their birth certificate, passed the Senate Wednesday night 32-22. Having previously passed in the House, the bill now goes to Gov. Rauner’s desk for his signature. It was sponsored by Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) and Sen. Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights). “”No one should face the dilemma of being denied a birth certificate that conforms with their gender simply because they are unable – or cannot afford – to undergo surgery that the medical community agrees is not necessary for everyone who transitions,” John Knight, Director of the ACLU of Illinois’ LGBT and HIV Project, said in a statement.

Central Illinois Pride Health Center to build lending library

BLOOMINGTON – Central Illinois Pride Health Center received a grant of $500 from the Acorn Equality Fund to build a Lending Library for the LGBTQ youth of Bloomington-Normal youth group, “Friends Like Us.”

The youth group that meets weekly will now be able to obtain LGBTQ-focused books specific to the ages of 13-19 years old, as well as games that will be played during their weekly youth group. The youth group, which started meeting every week since June 2016, has seen an increase of youth activity to the group. The Lending Library will allow them to have material to read that matches their age and identity. Games that promote inclusion, equality, education, and skill building will be obtained from our Lending Library. “This library will give our youth more ways to understand their life as an LGBTQ youth,” said Len Meyer, Executive Director.

Proud to Run 2017 10k Run & 5k Run/Walk, June 24

CHICAGO — Proud To Run is a 10K run and 5K run and walk that celebrates lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer pride! The run is June 24, 2017. This year’s fantastic beneficiaries are Care2Prevent at The University of Chicago, Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, Pediatric AIDS Chicago Prevention Initiative, Test Positive Aware Network! ALL the proceeds raised will go to these amazing organizations who do such important work for the community. The annual race relies on all the support of the community members and businesses.

First Chicago Bear and Cub named at Bearfest

CHICAGO — Rough Rick won the first Chicago Bear title and Drew Recker won the first Chicago Cub title on Saturday, May 27, at Chicago’s Touche. The contest was the climax of the first Chicago Bearfest weekend. Touche manager David Boyer said during the contest that the Bearfest was started, basically at the last minute, when it was found that Bear Pride would not happen as an organized convention this year. So Chicago bars Touche, The Call and Hamburger Mary’s got together to organize events including the contest on Saturday night, bar crawls and a beach barbecue. While Rick and Drew were the only competitors for their respective categories, they still had to win a minimum number of points to win.