Transgender woman found dead in NYC jail cell

NEW YORK — Layleen Polanco, 27, was found unresponsive in a jail cell on New York City’s Rikers Island on Friday afternoon. She is the 10th transgender woman of color to die of unknown circumstances this year. NBC News reported that she was found when an officer was conducting a tour of the Rose M. Singer Center, Rikers’ facility for female inmates. From NBC News:

[Department of Corrections] custodial staff performed CPR on her until medical staff arrived at approximately 2:51 p.m. Medics tried to revive her for about an hour before she was declared dead, according to the DOC. She was 27.

Pride St. Louis bars uniformed police in Pride Parade

ST. LOUIS — Pride St. Louis, the organizer of the city’s main Pride Parade, has asked the St. Louis police not to march in uniform in this year’s parade. PSL made the announcement in a Facebook post:
Pride St Louis, Inc. Board of Directors has asked, and they have agreed that the St Louis Police Department and St.

DC Pride panic triggered when straight couple pulled a BB gun

WASHINGTON — The panic at DC Pride that started hundreds of people running on Saturday was triggered when a straight man pulled a BB gun on someone who was assaulting his girlfriend. The Washington Blade reported on Monday that Aftabjit Singh, 38, had pulled the BB gun when someone had hit his girlfiend Melissa Duffy, 43. Singh was arrested for possession of a prohibited weapon, possession of a BB gun, and Carrying a Dangerous Weapon (Outside Home or Place of Business). The newspaper said he was also charged with “Disorderly Conduct — Cause Unreasonable Fear.” Duffy was arrested for assault when she started to kick and scream at police officers. According to the Blade, a witness had told police at Dupont Circle after people started fleeing the area and a witness told them about seeing a man with a gun.

Aurora celebrates Pride that almost wasn’t

AURORA — Illinois’s second largest city celebrated its second Pride Parade on Sunday, with thousands lining downtown streets. Aurora Pride said police had put the crowd at around 8,000 people. The parade route was under a mile long through the heart of downtown Aurora with the majority of it on Downer Place. The parade was in doubt earlier this year when a new city ordinance raised the cost much more than organizers had planned for. Negotiations with the city and the community raising more than $20,000 in less than 24 hours ensured the parade would take place.

Carbondale’s only LGBTQ bar closing

CARBONDALE — The Street Bar, Carbondale’s only LGBTQ bar, is closing according to Facebook post. The closing came to wider attention after the Daily Egyptian, the student newspaper of the Southern Illinois University, reported on the Facebook post. Jodie Santana, a performer at the bar, said in the Facebook post that she had heard from the owners that the bar was closing and bookings for June were cancelled. 

A person familiar with the business said there was nothing announced but that there were positive plans on the horizon. 

Santana said on her post that a smaller bar may open up near the old bar’s location, but wasn’t sure what plans were. The Egyptian reported that the next closest LGBTQ bar is in Cape Girardeau, Mo.

Study finds Chicago LGBTQ resources mostly in rich, white areas

CHICAGO — A University of Chicago study found that black and Latinx LGBTQ people are more likely to be further away from community services than white and Asian people. WTTW-TV, at PBS station in Chicago, reported that less than 10% of LGBTQ resources were in neighborhoods with predominately black or Latinx populations. 

“We know from previous research that when services are far away, people are less likely to access them because of transportation barriers,” Kris Rosentel, lead author of the study and research project manager at UChicago’s Center for Interdisciplinary Inquiry and Innovation in Sexual and Reproductive Health, told the station. “For many on the South and West sides, they were unable to find services in their communities.”

From WTTW:
Using two online directories, researchers compiled a data set of 193 LGBTQ service providers in Chicago between November 2015 and January 2016, then mapped those results in relation to race and income data. They found 71% of all LGBTQ service providers were located in majority white areas, with only 9.8% and 6.2% in predominately black and Latinx areas, respectively. Past research has shown that within the LGBTQ community, people of color and low-income individuals often face worse outcomes than their peers when it comes to health, employment, education, housing and the criminal legal-system due to overlapping forms of marginalization. Rosentel says this study shows there’s a “misalignment” in terms of the areas in which people may need services and where those services are actually located.

Chicago Community Trust’s LGBT Community Fund awards $200,000 in Impact Grants

CHICAGO –The LGBT Community Fund at The Chicago Community Trust announces $200,000 in Impact Grants to 8 organizations for programs serving the LGBTQ Community in Chicago. The Impact Grants RFP was launched in fall 2018 as a response to the disadvantages in access to social programs related to healthcare, housing, and employment medical care, justice and legal aid, education and personal safety for the LGBT Community in Chicagoland area. The organizations awarded have programmatic focus areas of healthcare, community safety, services for youth and senior citizens. The grant recipients were announced at the LGBT Community Fund Impact Grants Reception hosted at The Chicago Community Trust on May 9, 2019. The recipients include: Affinity Community Services, AIDS Foundation Chicago, Brave Space Alliance, Chicago Black Gay Men’s Caucus, Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, Puerto Rican Cultural Center, The Night Ministry and Test Positive Awareness Network (TPAN).

Anti-LGBTQ politician says he won’t march in Indy’s Pride, regrets votes

INDIANAPOLIS — State Sen. Jim Merritt has said Thursday that he won’t be at Indianapolis Cadillac Barbie Pride Parade and that he regrets his vote for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. RTV6, an Indy TV station, reported that Merritt had planned to attend the parade as a private citizen. IndyPride, the parade organizers, said he wasn’t welcome because of his vote on the RFRA, which gave business owners the ability to turn away LGBTQ people for a “deeply held” religious objection. He said in a press conference that he would respect their wishes. “My desire to march with friends and neighbors in the IndyPride parade was my way of saying I value every member of our community,” Merritt said Thursday at the press conference.

Skokie to host family friendly Pride celebration this weekend

SKOKIE — The Skokie Park District will be hosting the suburb’s first Pride event this weekend on Sunday, June 9. The Skokie Review reported Tuesday that the event, produced by the district, the local library, schools and city services. From the Skokie Review:
Jon Marquardt, assistant superintendent of recreation, said when the Park District began planning an event highlighting the LGBTQ community others were quick to join the effort including local elementary and high school districts, Skokie Public Library and Skokie’s police and fire departments. Marquardt said Skokie focuses heavily on discussions of diversity in culture, but said sometimes the LGBTQ community is left in the background. The event is intended to be family friendly and will include a plethora of activities and performances ranging from story tellers and comedians to musical acts and drag performances.