Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2022-06-08



Chicago LGBTQ+ leaders, activists reflect on Pride Month at event state Sen. Simmons hosts
by Carrie Maxwell

This article shared 716 times since Thu Jun 30, 2022
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

On June 29, Illinois first out gay state senator, Mike Simmons, hosted a press conference featuring Chicago LGBTQ+ leaders and activists at Gerber/Hart Library and Archives.

Speakers included Simmons; Gerber/Hart Library and Archives Development Coordinator Michael Rashid; Brave Space Alliance COO Stephanie Skora; Brave Space Alliance Founder and Executive Director LaSaia Wade; Legacy Project Co-Founder and Executive Director Victor Salvo; comedian, writer and activist Kujichagulia Juniper (K.J.) Whitehead; Howard Brown Health President and CEO David Ernesto Munar; Equality Illinois Public Policy Director Mike Ziri; Paint the City Co-Founders Missy Perkins and Barrett Keithley; Lorde, Rustin and Bates President and Senior Managing Director/community advocate Anthony Galloway; Chicago Therapy Collective #Hire Trans Now Program Coordinator J. Silas Leslie; Andersonville's Rattleback Records co-owner Paul Ruffino; state Reps. Kelly Cassidy and Lamont Robinson; and Alds. Matt Martin and Maria Hadden.

Simmons spoke about his own district's queer activism, adding how honored he is to be the residents' senator. He added that this year, the LGBTQ+ community is "under siege across the country" by GOP-controlled state legislatures and courts. Simmons said it is important to remember LGBTQ+ history and how the community got to this moment. He called on each speaker to address what it means to them personally to be a member of the LGBTQ+ community this year, considering everything that has happened in recent years. Simmons also asked for a moment of silence for all the transgender people who have died this past year, specifically mentioning local individuals Tatiana Labelle and Elise Malary. He asked the audience to "Say Her Name" out loud for Labelle and Malary.

Rashid said that "by happy coincidence, it is Henry Gerber's birthday today" and spoke about his importance to LGBTQ history as an early activist in Chicago. He said Gerber/Hart "will continue to serve the community" and asked that everyone share their stories with the library and even donate memorabilia to make them available to the public in the years to come.

Skora spoke about how these are historic times where trans people are being attacked on multiple fronts. She said that pride, for her, is the ability to exist in public "unapologetically." Skora said her family has deep roots in Chicago as refugees of the pogroms (organized massacres) in Poland and Russia that happened more than 140 years ago. She added that her family's history shows that sometimes people have to leave their country of origin and other times staying and fighting for what is right "in community deeply rooted in each other and ourselves" is the solution.

Wade said she is tired but she will continue to "fight tooth and nail to combat the ignorance" that is directed at every marginalized community. She spoke about her role as a mother of a young child and how worried she is about the "Christian fascists" who will target and threaten her as a Black trans mother.

"How am I supposed to smile at my child when I do not know if I am going to survive?" asked Wade.

Salvo said the Legacy Project is focused on education and "making sure that the contributions we have made are there for the youngest and most vulnerable among us so that they grow up with a sense of identity and purpose." He added that he is proud the Legacy Project is one of the "principal architects" of Illinois new LGBTQ-inclusive K-12 mandated curriculum because it is vital. Salvo spoke about seeing the impact of his work first-hand from people of all ages who learn this information and said that educating young people is the only way to stop the hatred and bigotry.

"We cannot fault people for not knowing what they were not allowed to learn," said Salvo. "There are forces out there dedicated to exploiting" that lack of knowledge.

Whitehead spoke about losing Malary, a friend and colleague, and how that has colored her thinking about Pride Month. She added that she is a 30-year-old Black trans woman and, statistically, she is supposed to die by her 32nd birthday—just like Malary did. Whitehead said that since 2016, seven of her friends have died, so she has wondered about the point of celebrating. One of the ways Whitehead said she reclaimed her joy this year was marching in the Pride Parade, where she saw small Black children celebrating with their families—something she would have wanted that as a child.

Munar said that the trauma in the LGBTQ+ community is real and rooted in the fact that they cannot be their whole selves in all aspects of their lives. He added that having better healthcare services that address the myriads of health disparities LGBTQ+ people face because of discrimination. Munar called on everyone to take care of themselves, noting it has been 28 years since he was diagnosed with HIV. He sounded the alarm about the rising monkeypox cases that are impacting the LGBTQ+ community. Munar also said that being intersectional within LGBTQ organizing spaces is necessary to win these social-justice battles.

Ziri said that Illinois is one of only five states that mandates LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum and how proud he is that in this state "we say gay, and we say trans." He called on LGBTQ allies in elected office in all levels of government to show up now and take action to keep Illinois a safe state for every marginalized community and people who can get pregnant. Ziri said the fight for reproductive justice and LGBTQ equality are "inextricably linked" because GOP state legislators are already using the Dobbs decision to argue that trans children should be denied gender-affirming care.

Perkins spoke about how Paint the City began in 2020 as a result of the racial justice protests and the pandemic and their mission is to create public art with messages of hope, solidarity and inclusion.

Keithley said he is an LGBTQ ally and, as a Black man, he recognizes that all marginalized people's rights are being taken away—including those of his twin sister, who is a lesbian. He said he wants to use his platform to help people see themselves in art and added that "without communication there is segregation."

Galloway spoke about his own physical battles, including heart failure and being a candidate for diabetes, adding that five of his Black gay friends between the ages of 37-42 have died due to heart issues over the past two years. He said that despite his health issues, he is not going anywhere. Galloway said being resilient is as important as celebrating. He added that one way to do this is showing up at Chicago Black Pride events this coming weekend.

Leslie spoke about Malary and her important role at Chicago Therapy Collective and that her "memory is a blessing and call to action." They said everyone should "commit to the equity, safety and liberation of the trans community" and that includes holding people in positions of power accountable. Leslie said this has to happen year-round on many fronts.

Ruffino said he was an out and proud teacher and principal before becoming a business owner. He spoke about partnering with the Chicago Therapy Collective and working with Malary in the past. Ruffino said he will continue to partner with organizations that advance the safety and well-being of the LGBTQ community.

Cassidy spoke about how hard it was for her to march in this years Pride Parade after the Roe decision but she was really glad she did it because she needed that joy in her life. She said the decision came down when her and others were celebrating the passage of the PrEP and PEP funding bill in the state legislature at Howard Brown. Cassidy said that in the room at Howard Brown there are messages on the wall including "rights are not given; they are taken away" and that is true now.

Robinson said that the new LGBTQ center that includes healthcare services on the South Side of Chicago is so important for the community. He added that representation matters and so does voting for candidates who will protect marginalized communities and people who can get pregnant from right-wing attacks.

Martin spoke about allies like himself showing up in LGBTQ spaces and how important it is to "shut up and listen" because "there are so many experiences we do not have." He said that elected officials like him need to sound the alarm about what is happening in this country.

Hadden said this past weekend she had to make mental shifts because of the Roe ruling and the Pride Parade. She said boxing twice a week helps her focus. She added that being in community is vital because there are so many forces against the LGBTQ community. Hadden added that she is seeing several young Black people who are talking about leaving the United States but that there are many people who come to this country to seek refuge from their own oppressive home countries. She is choosing to stay in America and "create the vision of where we want to go, who we are, where we want to be and if people are not with us then we just need to blow right past them."

In ending the event, Simmons called on everyone to remember that social-justice movements need joy to keep themselves going—something that is necessary now more than ever.

This article shared 716 times since Thu Jun 30, 2022
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

POLITICS Queer businesswoman running for alderperson in 48th Ward 2022-08-19
- Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth—a queer native Chicagoan and 23-year resident of Andersonville who also describes herself as a "mother of three, tango dancer, small business owner and community organizer"—announced her candidacy for ...

Gay News

Report: U.S. has record number of LGBTQ+ elected officials 2022-08-19
-- From a press release - Washington, DC — LGBTQ Victory Institute released its 2022 Out for America Report, the only national census of out LGBTQ elected officials in the United States. With at least 1,043 out LGBTQ elected officials currently serving, ...

Gay News

Bailey's running mate's anti-LGBTQ posts unearthed 2022-08-18
- Stephanie Trussell—Republican Darren Bailey's running mate for Illinois governor/lieutenant governor—has made controversial posts (including ones against the LGBTQ+ community) on social media, WGN-TV reported. "Stick your ...

Gay News

Penn. governor ends conversion therapy for LGBTQ+ youth 2022-08-18
- Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf signed Executive Order 2022-2 "to protect Pennsylvanians from conversion therapy," according to a press release from his office. "Conversion therapy is a traumatic practice based on junk science that actively harms the ...

Gay News

HRC endorses Pritzker, Stratton for re-election 2022-08-17
- The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) announced its endorsements of Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker and Lt. Gov. Juliana Stratton for re-election. A press release stated, "HRC PAC is committed to engaging its volunteers, members and supporters to ...

Gay News

Planned Parenthood organizations launch largest-ever electoral program 2022-08-17
- Planned Parenthood advocacy and political organizations launched the 2022 electoral program "Take Control," which represents the groups' largest ever investment in an electoral cycle, an organizational press release announced. The ...

Gay News

U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney loses to Trump-endorsed candidate 2022-08-17
- Overnight on Aug. 16, U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney—the vice-chair of the House Jan. 6 panel and one of former U.S. President Donald Trump's biggest Republican critics—lost her seat in Congress to a challenger backed by the ...

Gay News

WORLD Vietnam's pro-LGBTQ+ move, Grindr kidnappings, Taiwan event 2022-08-14
Video below - Vietnam took a major step forward in the recognition of LGBTQ+ rights with the country's Ministry of Health stating that being gay, bisexual or transgender is not a disease and urging medical practitioners to end discrimination ...

Gay News

NATIONAL: Conn. candidate, trans study, D.C. attacks, Palm Springs Pride 2022-08-14
- LGBTQ Victory Fund-endorsed candidate Erick Russell won the Democratic primary election for Connecticut state treasurer, according to an organizational press release. With this victory, he is on track to become the first out Black LGBTQ+ person ...

Gay News

Cook County officials discuss MPV timelines 2022-08-12
- Members of the Cook County Health and Hospitals Committee gathered Aug. 8 to hear details from local health officials on the monkeypox virus' (MPV's) impact on both suburban Cook County and Chicago, and their planned responses. ...

Gay News

Big Cities Health Coalition holds monkeypox virus briefing 2022-08-11
- Big Cities Health Coalition (BCHC) held a virtual monkeypox virus briefing Aug. 10 fthat ocused on local public health activities in Chicago. Speakers included BCHC Executive Director Chrissie Juliano and BCHC member and Chicago Department of ...

Gay News

Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom names first queer woman to state supreme court 2022-08-11
- California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced his intention to appoint Alameda County Superior Court Judge Kelli Evans to serve as an associate justice of the California Supreme Court to fill the vacancy created by Justice Guerrero's elevation ...

Gay News

Another queer candidate is part of Chicago mayoral race 2022-08-10
- In addition to incumbent Lori Lightfoot as well as Ald. Raymond Lopez and media figure DJ Doran, there is a new LGBTQ+ candidate in the race for Chicago mayor. According to their website, J Saxon "is ...

Gay News

Chicago Ald. Sophia King enters mayoral race 2022-08-10
- Chicago Ald. Sophia King (4th Ward) has officially entered the Chicago mayoral race. "I love this city. We need a Chicago that's safer AND stronger," King says in the video, according to NBC Chicago. "Let's put ...

Gay News

Drag show finally takes place at UpRising Bakery and Cafe 2022-08-08
- After a series of events that encompassed everything from vandalism to meetings with village officials to a visit from Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker, LGBTQ+-owned Lake in the Hills business UpRising Bakery and Cafe finally held its ...


Copyright © 2022 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      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.