Most of Illinois bracing for severe cold wave


CHICAGO — The National Weather Service offices across Illinois put out warnings Monday on the severe temperatures. Forecasts had wind chills of -54 degrees F for Wednesday. The average temp on the Antarctic coast, by the way, is 14 degrees F.

As of noon on Monday, we hadn’t found any plans for LGBTQ groups cancelling or postponing events. However, we will track them and let people know of any cancellations as we find them. It will be hitting the entire state, including the areas around MetroEast and Carbondale.

LGBTQ interfaith event looking for coming out stories on faith

CHAMPAIGN — Student group LGBTJew at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is helping with an interfaith pride project and is asking for help. The group is hoping to put a booklet together for the event that tells coming out stories relate to/speak to/are commentaries on faith. If you would like to submit a story, please email your submission (no more than three paragraphs) to LGBTJew president Claire Katz-Mariani by January 28th. Your story may relate to any religion and any aspect of the LGBTQ community. Feel free to email with any questions.

Pritzker campaign sued for transgender discrimination

CHICAGO — A transgender woman has filed a lawsuit against the JB Pritzker gubernatorial campaign saying she was discriminated against. The lawsuit was filed on Jan. 18 by Emma Todd. Todd had been hired as a field organizer by the campaign in August 2017, but fired in March 2018, just one month after Raynal Sands was hired as her supervisor. According to the lawsuit, Sands had expressed hostility against transgender people and told others that she was planning to fire Todd.

Pritzker appoints new human rights director

SPRINGFIELD — Jim Bennett was appointed as the new director for the Illinois Department of Human Rights by Gov. JB Pritzker this week. From the State Journal-Register in Springfield:
A member of the city of Chicago’s Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame has been appointed director of the Department of Human Rights. Jim Bennett has served as Midwest regional director of Lambda Legal, the largest legal organization dedicated to securing full civil rights for the LGBTQ community. In 2013 he chaired Illinois Unites for Marriage, the coalition that worked to bring same-sex marriage to Illinois. Bennett holds a master’s degree from the University of Illinois Springfield.

New ACLU report shows continued racial disparities in Illinois traffic stops

New website allows public to view traffic stop & search rates for law enforcement agencies across Illinois
CHICAGO — A new report from the ACLU of Illinois confirms that racial disparities persist in Illinois traffic stops. Black and Latinx drivers are searched at higher rates than white drivers across the state. The report examines several years of data collected by the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) as part of the Illinois Traffic and Pedestrian Stop Statistical Study Act, first championed by then-State Senator Barack Obama. The release of the ACLU report coincides with the launch of a new website: Data scientists Mollie Pettit and Chris Kucharczyk, and front-end engineer Alex Alleavitch worked with the ACLU of Illinois to evaluate all available IDOT data from 2017 and create a data visualization tool that allows people to search and view traffic stop data for each law enforcement agency in Illinois.

People living with HIV in Illinois could win gift card taking Illinois HIV Care Connect quiz

SPRINGFIELD — People living with HIV in Illinois have the opportunity to win one of 20 Amazon gift cards, valued at $25 each, by taking Illinois HIV Care Connect’s “Good Health Is More Than Health Care” Quiz by Feb. 15, the Illinois Public Health Association announced Thursday. People living with HIV in Illinois are encouraged to review the “Good Health Is More Than Health Care” web content before taking the quiz. The content and a link to the quiz can be found at The quiz can be found at

Greg Harris named state House Majority Leader

SPRINGFIELD — Greg Harris, an out gay state representative, has just been named as House Majority Leader by Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan. Harris, 62, is the first out House Majority Leader in Illinois history, capping off a string of first for LGBTQ people in politics in the state, including the first gay county commissioner, first gay county sheriff and first gay African-American state representative. “In 1997, I asked Barbara Flynn Currie to serve as the state’s first female majority leader,” Madigan said in a statement from the state Democratic Party. “Following in her historic tenure, today’s appointment again represents House Democrats’ commitment to building an inclusive, welcoming Legislature where all are represented. As the first openly gay majority leader, Representative Harris will also continue to reflect our caucus’ commitment to working across the aisle and making the tough decisions.”

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg to keynote Equality Illinois 2019 Gala

CHICAGO — Equality Illinois announced today that South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg, a rising national star among Democrats, will be the keynote speaker at the 2019 Gala presented by United, set to begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday, February 2 at the Hilton Chicago. The Washington Post called him “the most interesting Mayor you’ve never heard of” and the New York Times ran a column saying that he could be the nation’s “first gay President.” Additionally, President Obama named him one of four Democrats who represented the future of the Democratic Party. “We are thrilled to announce that Mayor Pete will be joining us at the 2019 Gala,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state’s LGBTQ civil rights organization. “Mayor Pete’s leadership and energy to enact change both in Indiana and on the national level is exciting and we are proud to welcome him. As an elected Democrat in a traditionally ‘red’ Midwest state, an openly gay male, and war veteran, he will bring a very relevant and insightful message to all in attendance.”

Mayor Pete was first elected mayor in 2011 at only 29 years old, and re-elected in 2015 with 80% of the vote.

Getting to Zero Illinois wants public feedback

SPRINGFIELD — Getting to Zero Illinois (GTZ-IL) is looking for public feedback on their draft plan to eliminate new HIV infections in Illinois. From the website:
Getting to Zero Illinois (GTZ-IL) has developed a draft plan for 2019-2023, detailing a path toward virtually eliminating new HIV transmissions and improving overall health care access in Illinois by 2030. Getting to Zero means virtually zero new HIV infections and zero people living with HIV who are not receiving treatment — a goal that will depend on major proposed changes across the health care and human services spectrum. The GTZ-IL Draft Plan can be viewed in its entirety at Public comment on the draft plan is welcome and open until Jan.