Illinois House passes bill to modernize state’s birth certificate law

SPRINGFIELD – A measure to modernize Illinois law allowing people to change the gender marker on their birth certificate, House Bill 1785, passed the House by a vote of 63 to 43 on Thursday and was sent to the Senate. If the bill is signed into law, Illinois would join fourteen other states and the District of Columbia in allowing people who are transgender and intersex to change the gender marker on their birth certificate. State Rep. Greg Harris, chief House sponsor of HB1785:

“Today we took a big step to modernize our state’s half-century-old law on how transgender people correct their birth certificates. I want to thank those who voted yes to conform our laws with federal and other state requirements. This is so important for people who now more than ever need to be sure that their identifying documents are in order.”

John Knight, Director of the ACLU of Illinois’ LGBT and HIV Project:

“House Bill 1785 protects Illinoisans facing the unnecessary choice between living without a birth certificate that reflects who they are and undergoing surgery that they may not want or need.

New Illinois Bear titles awarded

CHICAGO — The Illinois Bear Contests selected their new titleholders this past Saturday at the Leather Archives & Museum. Cipactli Croc Onyx is Mr. Illinois Bear 2017, D.J. is Mr. Illinois Cub 2017, and Michael S. is Mr. Illinois Bear Hunter 2017. The contest was a weekend event with a meet and greet at Jackhammer on Friday night with the Leather Archives hosting contestant interviews and main contest on Saturday. The victory party was at Touche afterwards. More than $800 was raised for the Windy City Empire’s charities. The other contestants were Tom W. of Chicago and Michael E. of Peoria.

Mr. Illinois Bear Contest 2017, April 21

CHICAGO — It’s time for the Mr. Illinois Bear Contest! Deadline to compete is April 14th. Email the application to Titles Awarded:
Mr. Illinois Bear
Mr. Illinois Cub
Mr. Illinois Bear Hunter

Weekend Schedule:

Meet and Greet: Friday April 21st
Jackhammer @ 9pm

Contest: Saturday April 22nd
Leather Archives and Museum
With After party at Touché

Victory BBQ: Sunday April 23rd
Jackhammer @ 12pm

The judges for this year are:

Raymond Smith- Mr. North American Bear 2016
Gerald Cernak- Mr. Illinois Leather 2017
Slade Travis- Mr. Fetish Jackhammer 2017
Miguel Torres- Mr. Chicago Leather 2014
AJ Perdew- Mr. North American Bear 2017

The winners will go on to represent Illinois at the North American Bear Contest in Lexington, Ky. In February 2018.

EqualityCon 2017, May 6

SPRINGFIELD — Join the Equality Illinois Institute for EqualityCon 2017 on May 6 in Springfield. EqualityCon brings together Illinois’ LGBTQ community and allies, progressive advocates, civic leaders, and community groups to train and share insights on how to make Illinois and the nation more just and equal. FRIDAY, May 5
EqualityCon Reception: Club Station House
306 East Washington Street
5:00pm until 7:00pm (Hosted by the Phoenix Center of Springfield)

Check-in opens at 8:30AM
Breakfast on your own

10:00 – 10:50am: Opening Plenary
MCs: Jonna Cooley, Phoenix Center, Anthony Galloway, Equality Illinois
Welcome | Springfield Mayor James O. Langfelder
Charge of the Conference | Equality Illinois CEO Brian C. Johnson
Opening Address | Shannon Price Minter, National Center for Lesbian Rights

11:00 – 11:50am: Breakout #1
Organizing with Religious Leaders against License to Discriminate Bills Panel Discussion | Dr. Johari Jabir, Associate Professor at University of Illinois at Chicago, Jean Saloan, Peoria Insight Meditation, Stephanie Skora, Jewish Trans Activist. Panel Description: This group of esteemed panelists will talk about groups and individuals can engage religious and non-traditional religious entities in engaging these groups in changing policies on non-discrimination against LGBTQ communities. “Growing Your Family: A Guide for Prospective LGBTQ Foster Parents” | Jane Kelly and Claudia Mosier, Illinois Department of Children and Family Services; Elizabeth & Caroline Fox Anvick, subject matter experts

Workshop Description: This workshop discuss DCFS department initiatives – Immersion Site involving all stakeholders.

Pro-LGBTQ candidates win in local elections

CHICAGO–The Equality Illinois PAC celebrates major pro-LGBTQ victories in Tuesday’s local and school board elections, including the election of pro-trans school board candidates in races contested by anti-equality opponents and the election of six LGBTQ-identified candidates in Berwyn. In Palatine-based High School District 211, incumbents Anna Klimkowicz and Robert LeFevre and challenger Edward Yung prevailed in a field of six candidates. The EI PAC endorsed Klimkowicz, LeFevre, and Yung. In Elgin-based School District 46, three pro-LGBTQ candidates endorsed by the EI PAC cruised to victory. “What Tuesday’s election results have shown us–in communities throughout Illinois–is that standing up for the LGBTQ community is not just the right thing to do, it is also good politics,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois.

Pups take over Illinois Leather Alliance

CHICAGO — Illinois Leather Alliance Weekend was jam packed with interviews, classes and shenanigans. The contest weekend kicked off with the ILA Meet and Greet at Touché on Friday, March 17th. The Meet and Greet allows the contestants to introduce themselves to their audience and contest judges. This year, there were five contestants total: three Puppies, one Trainer, and one Illinois Ms. Leather Pride. Saturday, March 18th, the afternoon kicked off with a series of workshops and classes held in the club room at Touché.

Illinois Women March on Springfield April 25 for progressive agenda, responsible budget

SPRINGFIELD — More than 50 organizations have joined a coalition to educate and organize around dozens of progressive bills being proposed in the Illinois House and Senate this session. They will bring together people across the state for the Illinois Women March on Springfield for a progressive agenda and responsible budget for all, Tuesday, April 25, 2017. The bills include the Women’s Agenda, the People’s Agenda of labor issues, plus issues including immigration, homelessness, criminal legal reform, the environment, LGBTQ, gun safety efforts, healthcare, economics, education and passing a responsible budget in Illinois. The complete agenda, with more bills expected, is available on the March website: The march is in the spirit of the Jan.

LA&M, Leather Archives & Museum

LA&M calls for works exploring materiality and alternative sexualities

CHICAGO — The Leather Archives & Museum, GAG Gallery is currently accepting entries for its first group exhibition scheduled to open in July 2017 and run through December 2017. There is no set theme guiding the content or subject matter of exhibited works; however, as the title MATERIALKINK suggests, we are interested in artists that creatively engage materials within the context of alternative sexuality. The final shape and themes of MATERIALKINK will emerge from the selected works. Leather. Rubber.

Equality Illinois

Equality Illinois condemns overturning transgender youth protections

CHICAGO – On behalf of the 53,645 stakeholders of Equality Illinois in Illinois, their resident friends and families and all who care deeply about issues of equality and fairness, Equality Illinois condemns the decision of the Trump administration to tear up the 2016 federal guidance protecting the civil rights and equal treatment of transgender youth in our public schools. “We are outraged the Trump Administration would choose to target transgender children for discrimination. Rescinding the guidance letter sends a terrible message and invites personal bias to flourish in our public schools,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois. Equality Illinois reminds Illinois school districts that they should not feel free to adopt discriminatory policies despite the federal action. Title IX of the federal education law still protects transgender students, as most courts have agreed, and Illinois law prohibits discrimination in public places.