Rockford’s Drag Queen Story Hour goes on despite protestors

ROCKFORD — Drag Queen Story Hour took place at Rockford’s East Branch Library on Saturday, despite more than 100 protesters across the street. The Rockford Register-Star reported that people came from other states to protest the event, which is part of Rockford’s first Pride celebrations. From the Rockford Register-Star:
“It teaches children to ignore what’s natural,” Rockford resident Stephanie Loehr said. “It is not natural for a man to say he’s a woman and for a woman to say she’s a man. That ignores basic biology and, if you really want to educate children, they should be educated on truth and not on some lies based on how somebody feels.”

Jean Weymier traveled to Rockford from West Bend, Wisconsin, to protest the event.

Pushback on Rockford’s Drag Queen Story Hour

ROCKFORD — The Rockford Public Library is hosting its first Drag Queen Story Hour as part of the city’s Pride celebrations, but some are objecting. The Rockford Register-Star reported that local residents objected to the event, and may have been unclear on the concept. From the Rockford Register-Star:
“A big, hairy man scantily dressed as a woman promoting homosexuality and gender confusion … is inappropriate for this age group,” Sandi Ware of Rockford — parent of two preschoolers — said about the Drag Queen Story Hour that’s for children ages 3 to 8. “Most lead bizarre lives as sex entertainers.”

Amy Newburn of South Beloit, a teacher and ballet instructor who has preteen and teenage children, has similar concerns.

Rockford declares June as Pride month

ROCKFORD — Rockford is declaring June as Pride month. 

The announcement was made Tuesday night at the city council meeting. A similar announcement was made at the Rockford Park District’s monthly meeting. “Tonight at City Council, I was proud to proclaim next month Pride Month for the first time in our city’s great history,” Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara said in a Facebook post. “This proclamation for June, presented to members of PFLAG Rockford Chapter, celebrates the accomplishments of our LGBTQ+ community and commemorates the 50th anniversary of the gay rights movements across the US.” The city of Rockford said in its own post that the designation was made by a coalition of groups and agencies including the local PFLAG chapter, the City of Rockford, the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Rockford Park District and local business.

Queer Prom 2019 in Rockford on June 8

ROCKFORD — DiversCity Youth Group in Rockford is holding a Queer Prom on Saturday, June 8. From the Facebook event:
Enjoy a night of dancing, drag performances, refreshments and fun! Come alone, with friends, or bring a companion of your choice. This event is free but don’t forget to RSVP! Register at this Google Form:
https://forms.gle/TtvLimTwb48LrPU38

Thank you to our amazing sponsors:
– In Youth We Trust Grant
– PFLAG Rockford
– Rockford Public Library
– DJ Krysta
The party starts at 6 p.m.

Rockford-area Methodists protest anti-LGBTQ vote

ROCKFORD — United Methodist churches in the Rockford area are pushing back against the denomination’s vote to keep and strengthen anti-LGBTQ rules. The Rockford Register-Star reported that a group of Methodist ministers gathered at State Street and Alpine Road with signs showing their support for LGBTQ members. The action comes one day after the denomination’s international conference voted to reject the One Church policy that would have let regions and churches set their own LGBTQ policies. Instead, the conservative Traditional Plan, which no only keep bans on same-sex marriages in the church and LGBTQ clergy but also requires stronger enforcement. We’ll update as we hear more.

LGBTQ Inclusive Care Panel Discussion in Rockford

ROCKFORD — PFLAG Rockford will be hosting a discussion on LGBTQ healthcare at the UIC College of Medicine Partner’s Pavilion in Rockford on Monday, Feb. 25. From the Facebook event:
We welcome you to a panel discussion about LGBTQ+ healthcare so we can make this better for everyone involved! The LGBTQ+ & Allies group at UIC aims to improve LGBTQ+ medical education and cultural competency. This panel will help us determine what those gaps currently are and how we can improve them in order to better LGBTQ+ healthcare.

Prtizker signs exec order to restore HIV funding

ROCKFORD — Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, signed an executive order restoring public health funding for HIV care. From the State Journal-Register of Springfield:
He signed an executive order to expand access to the medicine known as PrEP, or pre-exposure prophylaxis, which can reduce the chances of getting HIV. PrEP funding was a casualty of the state budget impasse. The order also increases funding for HIV testing, the African American HIV/AIDS Response Act and other public health initiatives. “That’s what we’re here to do — to eradicate the HIV epidemic.

Coming Out Day – Shatter The Fear in Rockford

ROCKFORD — PFLAG Rockford Chapter will be giving people a chance release their frustrations for National Coming Out Day on Thursday, Oct. 11. From their Facebook event:
Have you ever been so frustrated you just want to smash something? As we know, coming out can be a joyous occasion! Although, this is not the case for everyone.