Former ambassador aims to be first out gay U.S. senator

DENVER — Dan Baer, who served as ambassador for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe during the Obama administration, could be the first gay U.S. Senator. The first LGBTQ and first lesbian senator is Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin. Kristen Sinema of Arizona is the first bisexual person to serve in the Senate. Denver TV station 9News reported on Tuesday that, Baer will try to replace U.S. Senator Cory Gardner if he wins the election. From 9News:
Baer also attempted a Congressional run in 2017 but ultimately withdrew when fellow Democrat, Representative Ed Perlmutter, decided to keep his seat in Colorado’s 7th District in 2017.

LGBTQ open forum with Carbondale mayoral candidates on March 28

CARBONDALE — Unconditional, the LGBTQIA Family, Parent and Ally Group, is hosting a forum for Carbondale’s candidates for mayor this week. From the Facebook event:
Meet and Greet and Open Forum with incumbent Mike Henry and candidate Nathan Columbo. What concerns do we have as the LGBTQ community of Carbondale and the greater Southern Illinois area? As family, parents, allies, and LGBTQ individuals, let’s take this chance to express our concerns and ask questions to help inform not only the candidates but also, the community! Hosted by Unconditional, the LGBTQIA Family, Parent and Ally Group

We do not endorse any candidate; the purpose of this forum is for community education.

Anti-LGBTQ flyers become a part of the Chicago mayoral race

CHICAGO — Flyers that claimed that out Chicago mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot would enforce a “Gay Equality Act” were passed out on the south side over the weekend, according to several media outlets. From the Chicago Sun-Times:
One one side of the flyer is a picture of Lightfoot and her wife, Amy Eshelman with a sign beneath the couple that reads, “The Gay Equality Act !!! It’s our turn.”

Beneath that is a line in red print: “1st openly gay woman in City Hall.” Above the couple is another line in red that says, “The Feminist and Gay Movement Have Come Full Circle.”

The flip side of the flyer says, among other things, “ALL CONTRACTS, JOBS AND EMPLOYMENT NEWLY ASSIGNED EXCLUSIVELY TO GAY PEOPLE!”
The newspaper reported that the back of the flyer had this text: “With our people in City Hall, I promise to enforce the Gay Equality Act: All churches will abide by the gay marriage laws. All public restrooms will be gender-free. All Public Schools will teach Gay History by mandate.

Art Johnston endorses Susana Mendoza for Chicago mayor

CHICAGO — LGBTQ donor and activist Art Johnston endorsed Susana Mendoza for mayor on Thursday. Johnston made the announcement in a video on Mendoza’s campaign site. Johnston is an owner at Chicago’s Sidetracks and a co-founder of Equality Illinois. Equality Illinois PAC endorsed Lori Lightfoot, the only LGBTQ candidate in the mayoral race, last week.

Robinson sworn in as first out gay African-American state rep

CHICAGO — Lamont Robinson was sworn in as the first out gay African-American state representative in Illinois this past week. He is in the seat formerly held by Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton. From WBBM Radio:

“It matters because we need someone to be able to ring the alarm on the issues that are facing the LGBT community, particularly the African American community, as we’re talking about making sure we have quality health care in that community; that we have quality education; that we have quality housing; that if you are trans, you can get a job.  That you can make sure you can get an apartment and don’t have to be criminalized,” Robinson said. Robinson was sworn in by Illinois Supreme Court Justice P. Scott Neville, who is the second African American Supreme Court justice in the state’s history. The swearing-in was at Matthew House, a center for the homeless in the 3700 block of South Indiana.

Equality Illinois PAC endorses LGBTQ Chicago aldermen

CHICAGO — Equality Illinois PAC (EIPAC) on Friday endorsed all five LGBTQ Chicago aldermen in their re-elections for the city council next year. Endorsed are Aldermen Raymond Lopez (15th Ward), Deb Mell (33rd Ward), Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th Ward), Tom Tunney (44th Ward) and James Cappleman (46th Ward). “We are proud to endorse Aldermen Cappleman, Lopez, Mell, Ramirez-Rosa, and Tunney – the five LGBTQ incumbent aldermen of the Chicago City Council’s LGBT Caucus,” said John Litchfield, chair of EIPAC. “These aldermen have been leaders in the effort to ensure Chicago not only stays a welcoming and affirming city for LGBTQ people but also keeps moving forward despite the attacks on LGBTQ equality by the Trump Administration.”

From the EIPAC press release:
The five aldermen have led on ensuring full and equal access for transgender people to places of public accommodations through their sponsorship of the Chicago Equal Access Ordinance in 2016. They have also challenged the Trump Administration’s anti-trans agenda by opposing the President’s ban on military service by brave and courageous transgender people and the recent policy proposal to erase transgender people from federal civil rights protections.

Equality Illinois

Equality Illinois makes endorsement in Chicago treasurer race

CHICAGO — Equality Illinois this week made a  endorsement in the race for Chicago treasurer. The organization usually endorses for positions in state government or mayors offices. Politico Illinois reported the endorsement in their Friday morning Illinois Playbook newsletter. Equality Illinois CEO Brian Johnson told Politico that his group was worried about the stances, or lack there of, on two LGBTQ pieces of legislation this past year. From Politico:
On HB1875, the birth certificate-sex designation bill (which allows trans folks to change their gender on their birth records without having surgery), Conyears-Ervin was the only lawmaker to vote present (instead of yea or nay).