Very Good Day at Woodstock Pride Fest

By Patrick Murfin

WOODSTOCK — Thousands of happy people descended this past weekend on the Square to celebrate Woodstock Pride Fest.  It was a glorious afternoon that scared away the storms that TV weather folk predicted for the afternoon.  Thousands came and went over the five hour event.  They crowded the streets to participate in or cheer on the predictable colorful parade.  They thronged the Square cross walks where vendors, non-profits, advocacy groups, and churches including the Tree of Life Congregation from McHenry did brisk business from their booths.  Folks cheered speakers including Congresswoman Lauren Underwood of the 14th District, bopped to bands and DJs, and whooped it up with Drag Queens. The crowd was remarkably diverse—lots of families with children and pets, proudly out teens including transgender youth, long-time couples, and older folks who could remember when McHenry County was shutdown, closeted, and fearful.  There were also good numbers of Latino and Black participants.  All mingled happily with straight allies, friends, and family as well as with the simply curious. See all the photos from Woodstock Pride on the original post with Heretic, Rebel, a Thing to Flout. Post reprinted here with permission.

Ohio lawmaker wants to ban Drag Queen Story Hour

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio speaker of the house is wanting to ban Drag Queen Story Hour because it “turns boys into drag queens.” WLWT, an NBC affiliate in Columbus, reported that Larry Householder, a Republican, sent a letter to the Ohio Library Council asking the program be shut down at public libraries. From WLWT:
The letter was sent the day before LGBTQ Pride Month began, upsetting members in the community. Householder wrote in part: “… taxpayers aren’t interested in seeing their hard earned money being used to turn teenage boys into drag queens.”

Clock Inc. officially opens in Rock Island

ROCK ISLAND — The Clock, Inc. LGBT+ Community Center opened this week in Rock Island. The staff of the community center were joined by Rock Island Mayor Mike Thoms to cut the ribbon for the facility. The Clock will serve as a major community center for the Quad Cities area. “I just want to express how thankful we are for all of our supporters and helping make a difference in our community!” said center founder Chase Norris.

Trump Administration rule would undo healthcare protections for LGBTQ patients

By Emmarie Huetteman
Kaiser Health News

WASHINGTON — A new Trump administration proposal would change the civil rights rules dictating whether providers must care for patients who are transgender or have had an abortion. Supporters of the approach say it protects the freedom of conscience, but opponents say it encourages discrimination. The sweeping proposal has implications for all Americans, though, because the Department of Health and Human Services seeks to change how far civil rights protections extend and how those protections are enforced. Roger Severino, the director of the HHS Office for Civil Rights, has been candid about his intentions to overturn an Obama-era rule that prohibited discrimination based on gender identity and termination of a pregnancy. In 2016, while at the conservative Heritage Foundation, he co-authored a paper arguing the restrictions threaten the independence of physicians to follow their religious or moral beliefs.

Joliet PrideFest on June 29

JOLIET —  Joliet joins the increasingly large list of Illinois communities holding Pride celebrations. From the Facebook event:
This is the inaugural Joliet PrideFest. It is a family-friendly event for the entire Joliet community to come together to celebrate Pride month. Some of the events planned are:

Scales and Tales Travelling Zoo (featuring Xena the sloth!)
A resource fair of non-profit organizations
The Joliet Mermaid
Food trucks
Local brewery Elder Oak
Dee J Christa
Local musicians
Story Time with Miss Foozie
Joliet Slammers Mascots
Face Painting
Special Pride Selfie Spots
Touch-a-truck with the City of Joliet
LGBTQ History Display
Yard Games
Past & Present Miss Gay Joliets in a musical revue
The festivities will be at the Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park & Theatre at 201 W Jefferson St in Joliet.

Tennessee DA investigates sherriff’s deputy calling for LGBTQ to be killed

KNOXVILLE — The district attorney for Knox County, Tenn., is investigating after a deputy called for LGBTQ people to be put to death. A reporter for WVLT-TV, a CBS affiliate in Knoxville, was invited to services and recorded the sermon by the deputy, who is also a Baptist minister. In it, Grayson Fritts calls for government to kill LGBTQ people. From WVLT:
“The purpose of this sermon is, our government, like the police, should enforce Leviticus 20:13,” Fritts said during a service at All Scripture Baptist Church during a sermon titled “Sodomite Reprobates.” The King James Bible version of Leviticus says, “If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.”

Study finds 39% of LGBTQ youth, more than half of transgender and non-binary youth have considered suicide in past year

NEW YORK — The Trevor Project on Tuesday released the results of its inaugural National Survey on LGBTQ Youth Mental Health. The survey found that 39 percent of LGBTQ youth surveyed have seriously considered suicide in the past twelve months, with more than half of transgender and non-binary youth having seriously considered suicide. Nearly 1 in 5 LGBTQ youth in this study attempted suicide in the past twelve months, with nearly 1 in 3 transgender and non-binary youth having attempted. The study also found that conversion therapy is impacting LGBTQ youth across the country and putting them at higher risk of negative mental health outcomes. Two out of every three LGBTQ youth report that someone attempted to convince them to change their sexual orientation or gender identity, with youth who have undergone conversion therapy more than twice as likely to attempt suicide as those who did not.

Galesburg holds its second Pride Picnic

GALESBURG — This small city in northwestern Illinois hosted its second Pride Picnic this past weekend. The picnic was hosted by Safe Space, a non-denominational group for people ages 18-30’s. This group has been formed to give people of this age group who have typically felt judged or ostracized by the church a safe place to hang-out with others of their age from all walks of life and talk about current events and/or topics of spirituality. It was at Lake Storey Park. The Galesburg Register-Mail reported that the event included food, karaoke, face painting, touch-a-truck, and Drag Queen Story Hour.


New lawsuit challenges rule allowing refusals in healthcare

NEW YORK — The National Family Planning & Reproductive Health Association (NFPRHA), Public Health Solutions (PHS), The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), and the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) filed a lawsuit on Tuesday challenging the Trump administration’s rule that allows health care personnel to deny patients information and treatment based on personal religious or moral beliefs. The rule, finalized last month by the Department of Health and Human Services, aims to dramatically expand the ability of health care institutions and workers to refuse to provide medical services, and even information, from patients if they have a moral or religious objection to the care. Under the policy, a hospital receptionist could refuse to schedule an appointment for a transgender patient seeking gender-affirming care and an orderly could refuse to transfer a patient to the operating room for an emergency abortion. The rule’s sweeping terms are likely to embolden refusals to provide a range of other health services. It forces health centers that receive federal funds to employ individuals who refuse to perform essential job functions, without any regard for the wellbeing of their patients or public safety.