Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2016-05-25
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


Country Club Hills facing complaints about discrimination
by Kate Sosin, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Two south suburban men have filed complaints with the Illinois Department of Human Rights, alleging that Country Club Hills Mayor Dwight Welch and former City Manager Henrietta Turner discriminated against the men because they are gay.

James Abernathy and Tony Harper, a south suburban couple, are alleging that city officials subjected them to unfair treatment, ridiculed them and passed them over for job promotions.

"She called me names like 'faggot,'" Harper said of Turner, who is no longer employed by the city.

Harper, who worked for the city as marketing director for Country Club Hills Theater before being reassigned to another position, alleges that Turner mocked him for more than three years.

According to Harper, Turner gave him a women's birthday card, intended to ridicule his sexual orientation. Harper also alleges that when a toilet seat was accidentally delivered to his desk from public works, Turner joked that it was because "public works knows that Tony likes to play in shit."

"I felt like crying whenever Ms. Turner revealed my sexual orientation in a loud, overt and disapproving manner, which was done regularly in front of my co-workers," Harper said in his complaint. "I felt like Oprah Winfrey in The Color Purple."

Turner, whose employment with the city ended in July, could not be reached for comment.

According to complaints, Turner allegedly harassed both men for being gay while other city employees, including the mayor, turned a blind eye to the discrimination.

Both men claim that Turner and Welch berated them for inquiring about partner insurance benefits in the fall of 2010.

Abernathy's complaint states that Welch dismissed their attempts to discuss insurance, saying that it was "an election season and he could not have 'silly stuff' going on."

Harper said that the mayor told him to stop talking with Turner because she is homophobic but that he did not take action to intervene.

Welch did not return requests to comment in time for publication.

Jacob Meister, the attorney representing Harper and Abernathy, claims that city officials did not respond to the anti-gay harassment after Abernathy and Harper reported it.

"They wouldn't let them file a complaint," Meister said. "And they said the complaint had to go through Henrietta [Turner]."

The anti-gay allegations are one part of a string of other complaints Harper and Abernathy have made against Turner and Welch. They also claim Turner, who is Black, used racial slurs while Welch referred to Turner as an "angry" Black woman. The two men have also said that Turner sexually harassed co-workers and strong-armed staffers into raising campaign funds for the mayor.

Lastly, Harper said that Welch told him it was his responsibility to dispel a rumor that Turner's son was gay. Harper said he told the mayor he knew nothing about the rumor and that he didn't feel it was his responsibility to deal with it.

Harper and Abernathy say that they were both passed over for raises while heterosexual co-workers received them. The reason given, according to the complaints, was that the couple earned more than $105,000 as a household. The complaints allege that other straight workers who are married did receive raises.

After Abernathy and Harper filed their complaints with the Department of Human Rights, the city demoted them, they said.

Abernathy said he was demoted from theater direction to operations manager three weeks after he filed his complaint, a position for which he claims he has not received a job description. Harper said he was demoted to an assistant manager of a day care at Meadowview School, despite the fact that he had never worked with children.

Both men filed a second round of complaints for the alleged retaliation.

Overall the men said, they have found Country Club Hills to be accepting of their relationship. The two say they have never had problems with neighbors or friends in the community.

"The negativity, surprisingly enough, came from inside City Hall," Harper said.

facebook twitter pin it stumble upon digg google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Kitty Genovese's murderer dies in prison 2016-04-27
Bangladesh LGBT activist murdered 2016-04-25
S.C. sheriff makes anti-trans speech 2016-04-20
Mitera characters continue to love those who hate what they are 2016-04-07
Kansas Governor Brownback signs attack on LGBT college students into law 2016-03-23
North Carolina Legislature to hold costly Special Session for anti-LGBT bill 2016-03-22
Anti-LGBT Senate Bill 180 passes KY Senate 22-16 2016-03-14
Australia sends gay refugee couple to Nauru, where gays can get 14 years hard labour 2016-03-08
Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice Bradley expresses hate, U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan responds 2016-03-08
Gay man attacked on Red Line train 2016-02-16
Report: Traditional deniers of LGBT rights behind 'Religious Liberty' push 2016-02-11
World: Marriage in Mexico; hate-crime survey; gay diver retires 2016-02-02
New Report connects religious exemptions to historic efforts to deny civil rights 2016-02-01
Eve Ensler and others sign on to "Stop Hate, Dump Trump" 2016-01-21
Knight at the Movies: The Revenant; Joy; The Hateful Eight 2016-01-06
FBI Hate Crimes Report out before Congressional anti-transgender violence forum 2015-11-17
World Congress of Families whitewashes in media, Speakers show true positions 2015-10-29
Report looks at implications of religious exemption laws 2015-09-01
National: Hillary; Texas hate crime; Trump; 18th trans murder 2015-08-25
Designer Dolce apologizes for comment 2015-08-18 signs off on petitions with hate speech 2015-08-11
McCarter introduces 'religious freedom' bill 2015-08-10
Obama makes pro-gay remarks in Kenya 2015-07-26
HRC releases discrimination map 2015-07-22
THEATER REVIEW Whatever 2015-07-22 signs off on petitions with hate speech 2015-07-17
Man arrested for hate motivated violence resulting in death 2015-07-08
Global homophobia report released 2015-07-01
Texas victim of a hate motivated violence dies 2015-06-30
IHRC orders $30,000 penalty from Fair Housing Violator 2015-06-25
Kyrgyzstan passes draft anti-LGBT propaganda bill worse than Russia's law 2015-06-24
Lambda condemns religious refusal bills in Michigan and North Carolina 2015-06-11
Nat'l report out on hate violence against LGBTQ, HIV-affected communities 2015-06-09
Amendment to hate crimes law clears General Assembly 2015-05-24
State's attorney's office launches hate-crimes council 2015-03-31
State's Attorney Alvarez steps up efforts on hate crimes 2015-03-12
Upcoming events: Internat'l Women's Dance; gays on 'Hate in America'; Knuckles film 2015-02-18
Urban Outfitters markets tapestry with Nazi-era anti-gay imagery 2015-02-10
World: Turing notebook; ISIS killing gays; king makes history 2015-01-27
Religious extremists target bakers with requests for 'God Hates Fags' cakes 2015-01-22

Copyright © 2016 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.