Equality Illinois FY 2012 Annual Report

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The Mission The Mission of Equality Illinois is to secure, protect and defend equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Illinois

Equality Illinois


BERNARD CHERKASOV Chief Executive Officer ANGELO BARONE Director of Finance & Administration RANDY HANNIG Director of Public Policy MICHAEL NORDMAN Director of Development CAROLINE STAERK Director of Field Programs MITCH LOCIN Communications Liaison JOEY MCDONALD Operations Manager Kristy DeWall Field Organizer, Central & Southern Illinois Rachel Skylis Field Organizer, Northern Illinois JOY CONKLIN Special Events Associate


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(As of July 1, 2012)

Dalila FRIDI President, Equality Illinois Education Project CATHERINE SIKORA President, Equality Illinois JOHN PARRO Vice President MICHAEL JEFVERT Treasurer CHRISTINA KAHRL Secretary, Equality Illinois Education Project GRANT GOCHNAUER Secretary, Equality Illinois MARK COZZI JOAN DUCAYET TOBY EVELAND KEVIN HAUSWIRTH STEPHEN S. HERSETH ARTHUR L. JOHNSTON WILL LOPEZ MIKE SIMMONS


Bernard Cherkasov Dear friends, Thank you so much for another very successful year pursuing full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people. Thanks to your support, our educational efforts reached unprecedented levels. We organized family picnics in religious congregations and educational forums in community centers; we engaged prospective allies at local festivals and geared up for the first marriage equality booth at the State Fair. We helped good employers become even better by adopting inclusive practices, such as gross-up benefits and gender transition guidelines. We held public and private actors accountable for full implementation of the civil union law. Throughout the year, we managed to extend our reach to every single county in the state. Our envied bipartisan advocacy team vigorously pursued nearly 30 state and federal bills, defeating some hateful measures and moving the equality marker forward. And our groundbreaking Chicago Appointments Project identified dozens of well-qualified Chicagoans for service in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Administration. So much still remains to be done. We will need you to continue writing letters, making telephone calls, registering voters, educating neighbors, and raising crucial dollars; an we will need to intensify those efforts the closer we are to our goals. As you leaf through the pages of this Annual Report, I hope you take pride in what your support has enabled us to accomplish. We couldn’t have done it without you.

Let’s keep moving forward!

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Where We’ve Been… STATEWIDE

• R egistered voters at events, festivals and our office • Educated voters regarding upcoming elections • A lerted members to urgent actions needed in regards to legislation • R eached statewide to ensure smooth implementation of the civil union law


• R allied support for LGBT equality and educated Metro East Pride Festival attendees • O rganized supporters for Marriage Equality Lobby Day 2012


• F acilitated faith roundtable discussion with the Prairie Pride Coalition • R allied supporters to sign anti-bullying pledges in support of the federal Student Non Discrimination Act • B riefed Moses Montiefiore Temple members on LGBT equality issues • Engaged local activists on marriage equality • E ducated State Farm employees about LGBT equality issues on a panel with the Prairie Pride Coalition


• O rganized supporters for Marriage Equality Lobby Day 2012


• R allied support for LGBT equality and educated Carbondale Pride Picnic attendees • E ngaged local clergy in video supporting equal love and marriage equality • P articipated in local radio show called "Isn't It Queer," discussing LGBT issues • O rganized supporters for Marriage Equality Lobby Day 2012 • P resented on a panel regarding civil union law and marriage for the Women's Law Forum, LEGALS, and the LGBT Organization for Law Students at SIU Carbondale Law School • Engaged local activists on marriage equality


• T abled at the Dundee Crown High School “Activism Fair”


• R allied support for LGBT equality and educated Champaign Urbana Pride Festival attendees


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• R allied support for LGBT equality and educated Andersonville Midsommarfest attendees • Marched, danced, and cheered at Chicago Pride Parade • Hosted a parliamentary delegation on minority rights from Bulgaria • Energized supporters and rallied support for LGBT equality at Windy City Black Pride on Chicago’s South Side • Organized 300 volunteers at Market Days • Rallied support for LGBT equality and educated Halsted Market Days attendees • Delivered Civil Union Community Forum at Wildman Harrold LLP • Connected with supporters in Humboldt Park and Hyde Park to sign anti-bullying pledges in support of the Student Non Discrimination Act for lawmakers • Attended and participated in “Voter Engagement 2012,” aimed at finding new ways to make voting easier as well as energizing voters to exercise their right • Hosted Fall Women’s Social at Flourish and the Spring Women’s Social at Mignonette • Hosted Capitol Club Briefing Series with Lieutenant Governor Sheila Simon, Treasurer Dan Rutherford, Senior Counsel to United States Attorney General Eric HolderMatt Nosanchuk, U.S. Representative Mike Quigley, Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration-Pamela Hyde, • Participated in a Congressional Field Forum regarding DOMA with U.S. Representatives Mike Quigley, Luis Gutierrez, and Jan Schakowsky at City Council Chambers • Engaged Illinois County Clerks for the six month and one year anniversary of the civil union law • Supported Lambda Legal’s “Freedom to Marry Reception” in Pilsen • Organized and led LGBT leaders and clergy for an indistrict constituent visit with Senator Kirk’s office regarding the Student Non-Discrimination Act • Coordinated and attended GLAAD media training for various LGBT groups • Attended Loyola Career and Internship Fair in Rogers Park and the Chicago Theological Seminary Field Placement Expo in Hyde Park • Participated on radio in the "Jackie Oooo show," discussing LGBT issues • Empowered Francis Parker School’s Junior class to secure anti-bullying pledges and marriage equality postcards • Hosted a delegation of LGBT advocates from Israel • Presented the LGBT Wedding Expo with RainbowWeddingsNetwork.com • P artnered with local community and faith organizations for CROSSwalk, a four-mile procession across the heart of the city to remember murdered youth and connect participants with opportunities to protect children, mitigate violence and support families struggling with these issues.

What We’ve Done • P resented on a panel regarding ”Gender on the Job” for the Journal of Women, Gender and the Law’s Annual Symposium at DePaul University • P articipated in 8th Day Center for Justice’s “Good Friday Walk” • T abled at the “GLBT Travel Expo” • H osted students from in Rhodes College in Tennessee and Marietta College in Ohio • F acilitated second annual Interfaith Equality Prayer Breakfast with over 60 participants from faith and community organizations • C onnected with supporters at the play, “The Rock and The Ripe” to get anti-bullying pledges signed • E ducated federal employees on LGBTQ history and equality issues at a discussion hosted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics • Hosted a gay rights religious activists from Uganda


• T abled at Elmhurst College for the “Big Gay Gathering” event


• H osted Civil Union Community Forum with McDermott, Will and Emery at the Unitarian Church of Hinsdale


• B riefed Joliet Universalist Unitarian congregants on LGBT equality issues


• E ducated Exelon employees about LGBT equality issues at the LaSalle Station Power Plant


• P resented on statewide equality agenda to staff and clients at the Sertoma Center


• C onnected with supporters to sign anti-bullying pledges in support of the Student Non Discrimination Act for lawmakers • Organized supporters for Marriage Equality Lobby Day 2012 • C aroline Staerk received the “Bruce Scott Courage and Justice” award from Euclid Ave. United Methodist Church in Oak Park • P resented a workshop on marriage equality for the Northern Illinois Conference of Reconciling conferences of the United Methodist Church • B ernard Cherkasov and Equality Illinois were honored with the OPAL Award by OPALGA


• B riefed PFLAG members on statewide equality agenda


• H osted a civil union workshop for St. Mary’s Episcopal Church


• R allied support for LGBT equality and educated Quad Cities Pride Festival attendees


• E ngaged local clergy in support of equal love and marriage equality


• P articipated in LGBT meetings of various organizations, group and individuals • Engaged local clergy in video supporting equal love and marriage equality • Energized supporters old and new at the first ever Rockford Pride Festival


• P resented and educated the Response of Skokie Youth Group on information regarding LGBT equality


• C onnected with supporters to sign anti-bullying pledges in support of the Student Non Discrimination Act for lawmakers • Lobbied tirelessly for LGBT equality • Rallied support for LGBT equality and educated Pride Festival attendees • Tabled at “National Coming Out Day” event at the University Illinois of Springfield • Rallied marriage equality advocates for our annual Lobby Day at the Capitol • Engaged local activists on marriage equality


• B riefed students and faculty on the civil union law and the statewide equality agenda at Governor’s State University

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Faith and Freedom Religious leaders and people of faith continue to be among the strongest supporters of LGBT equality. Equality Illinois has been at the forefront of building partnerships with affirming clergy and congregations across the state, laying the foundation for strengthening their voices as active advocates for LGBT issues, and building a platform for engaging non-affirming clergy and congregations. Through the efforts of our Faith & Freedom Initiative task force, we followed the strategic plan organized around key areas, including advocacy and capacity building, media representation, education and awareness, alliances and partnerships, and outreach to lay leaders, youth and young adults and people of color.

During FY2012 alone, we: • C ompleted our “Faith In Your Community: A Guide to LGBT-Inclusive Religious Practices” both in reference pamphlet and extended how-to manual forms; • Engaged over 160 supportive clergy eager to perform civil union ceremonies; • Facilitated local support and strategic meetings with Rev. Mark Kiyimba, a Unitarian Universalist minister and activist from Uganda fighting the kill-the-gays legislation; • Organized the interfaith Equality Prayer Breakfast in Chicago with over 60 participants of various denominations and faith backgrounds; • Convened Bloomington/Normal’s second Interfaith Round Table; • Recruited local churches in Carbondale, Oak Park and Belleville as launch sites for marriage equality lobby day; • Shared our gained knowledge and skills at discussions and trainings for faith communities such as, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church (Park Ridge), at the Northern Illinois Conference of Reconciling conferences (Oak Park), at Moses Montefiore Temple (Bloomington), at the Unitarian Church of Hinsdale, at the Joliet Unitarian Universalist church, and at the Oak Park Temple; • Produced videos for our “Stories from the Heartland” series featuring 11 clergy and their affirmative support of love and marriage equality; • Developed a “religious case for marriage equality” booklet; • Continued to build bridges between congregations and leaders who are supportive and those where full acceptance is still a challenge. • Secured nearly 400 signatories to the Marriage Equality Faith Petition.


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On the Road with


In 2008, in partnership with PFLAG, Equality Illinois launched the Allied for Equality program aimed at engaging straight allies in the fight for full LGBT equality. Caroline Staerk, EQIL Field Director, is the architect of that program, and has visited every corner of the state in pursuit of that mission. This year, Caroline was awarded the Bruce Scott Courage and Justice Award from Euclid Ave. United Methodist Church in Oak Park. Q: What did you hope to accomplish when you first started with Allied For Equality? A: One of the main things that I wanted to accomplish was to make every part of the state feel interconnected and get the sense that “we are in this together and are NOT alone.” I also really wanted to build bridges and make connections between groups that were natural allies and maybe ones that were not so obvious. Q: How has the program evolved over the past 4 years? A: I feel that allies are really integrated into the overall fabric of the work we do. In many areas of our work, allies are helping to lead the conversations, change hearts and minds, and recruit new supporters. Q: What has surprised you? A: I have been amazed at the amount of religious support that exists. I had always assumed that many religious groups would not publicly support LGBT equality but I was really proven wrong. Many faiths and denominations ARE supportive and are happy to show it. When I give a presentation to a faith group or congregation, I always thank them for helping me on my own spiritual journey as seeing their support renews my faith. Q: With all your travels, meet-and-greets, and town hall meetings, do you sometimes feel like you’re running for U.S. President? A: I am all for shaking hands and kissing babies. Seriously I LOVE this work and love the people I have met! The best eggplant parmesan was made by a very awesome woman in Carbondale and I would have never had that experience had I not been doing what I love. The meet and greets and town hall meetings are what I enjoy the most, however I still do wish that we could invent some kind of teleporting device because the travel can get tiring (even with a LOT of coffee)! Q: What’s still ahead? A: I am looking forward to expanding our work and having offices in different parts of the state. It would allow us to be anchored in various communities across the state, providing much-needed resources and amplifying local voices.

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CHAIRS In 2012, Equality Illinois made history by electing two prominent, accomplished women as Chairs of its two Boards of Directors. Meet the two women who help lead the movement for LGBT equality.



Chair, Equality Illinois Education Project

Chair, Equality Illinois

Dalila Fridi, a 1990 immigrant from Algeria, continues for a second year as the board chair of the Equality Illinois Education Project, which concentrates on community outreach and building alliances within the faith community and educating the public about LGBT issues.

Catherine Sikora, a photographer and longtime LGBT activist with a special focus on the transgender community, is the chair of the Equality Illinois Board of Directors, overseeing the political advocacy work of the non-profit. Sikora, a 2005 inductee in the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, was recognized “for advocacy of laws against discrimination because of gender identity or sexual orientation and for visual documentation of the transgender community as well as the larger LGBT community in the Chicago area.”

Fridi believes that the teachings of her Muslim faith support equal rights for all. “I was born to fight for civil rights,” Fridi told the Chicago Tribune, recalling her grandmother’s encouragement in Algeria. “Equal rights come in different colors. ... As a Muslim woman, I might not make an impact fighting for Muslims as a whole, but maybe somehow I could make people think differently about Muslims.” Fridi is a senior technical analyst at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, where she has been working since 1998. Additionally, she has worked with the Lesbian Community Cancer Project, raised funds and volunteered for Howard Brown Health Center, and volunteered at the Women’s Health Department of Northwestern. In Algeria, she was on the National Women’s Junior HandBall Team.


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The parent of a grown daughter, Sikora was at the center of successful campaigns to include gender identity in human rights protections in Chicago, Cook County and Illinois. Her photographic documentary work has showcased Equality Illinois, the Chicago Commission on Human Relations, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and the Test Positive Aware Network.

FOCUS ON Jaime Garcia & Daryl Rizzo


The work of Equality Illinois touches real people, such as suburbanChicago family of Jaime Garcia, Daryl Rizzo and their daughter Siena Rose Garcia-Rizzo. Jaime and Daryl were joined in an Illinois civil union that became law with the help of Equality Illinois advocacy. Then when the White House called last spring looking for an Illinois family to participate in the annual Easter Egg Roll, Equality Illinois thought of “Papa” Jaime, “Daddy” Daryl and Siena and arranged for them to fly to Washington for the event. The family shares a big, loving household in west suburban La Grange that also includes a devoted grandmother and two dogs. The White House invitation arranged by Equality Illinois was very meaningful to the family. “Our family was thrilled to participate in the White House Easter Egg Roll event,” Rizzo said. “To be a part of a celebration that has been a presidential tradition for over 100 years was an honor. Just as important was the opportunity to represent a new tradition for the American family, a loving same-sex household with an adored adopted child. Through the eyes of our daughter, there was no difference between her family and the many families she encountered on the White House lawn.” Annual Report FYI2



Legislative Docket Equality Illinois has a four-person bipartisan lobbying team in Springfield who work aggressively to ensure that legislators understand and recognize the importance of issues affecting the LGBT community. The major legislative victories of 2010 and 2011 for the LGBT community in Springfield and Washington, D.C. gave way to a more somber election-year reality during the Spring 2012 legislative session. Lawmakers up for re-election in November grappled with legislation dealing with the economy and balancing the budget before heading home to meet with constituents. While some lawmakers tried to avoid bills addressing LGBT equality issues, the EQIL team remained vigilant and forced a debate on issues important to our community. In total, EQIL lobbied on nearly thirty separate pieces of federal and state legislation last year. Some legislative highlights from the last year include: H.R. 1116, S. 598 (Federal) would repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and allow the U.S. government to provide benefits to same-gender couples in a marriage. For the first time ever, the Respect for Marriage Act was debated and voted on in a Congressional committee. Approved by Senate Judiciary Committee and sent to Senate floor. H.R. 1397, S. 811 (Federal) would prohibit discrimination against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. If the Employment Non-Discrimination Act becomes law, individuals would no longer be fired simply because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. While Illinois has a similar state law on the books, LGBT individuals in 39 other states have no related protection against job discrimination. Referred to Subcommittee. SB1123, SB1993, SB2495, HB3774, HB3942 (State) would have amended the Civil Union law to allow religiouslyaffiliated child welfare agencies to use public funds to discriminate against same-sex civil union couples in adoption and foster care placements. All five measures defeated in committee. HB4724 (State) would create the Illinois Family Medical Leave Act, ensuring that parties to a civil union would be allowed the same unpaid family medical leave benefits that all heterosexual married couples in Illinois currently enjoy. Approved by Judiciary Committee. HB4725 (State) would add gender identity to the list of protected classes enumerated in the Illinois Hate Crimes Act. Approved by Judiciary Committee. HB5170 (State) would grant full marriage equality to same-sex couples. Remains in committee. HB5290 (State) would create a model school bullying prevention policy for Illinois schools. Passed House; Failed in Senate.

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The Push for

Marriage Equality: A Look at Two Key Bills

Marriage Legislation in Illinois On February 8, 2012, state Reps. Greg Harris, Kelly Cassidy, and Deb Mell filed the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act (HB5170) – legislation that would bring marriage equality to Illinois. The bill would rescind current state law passed in 1996 that defines marriage as between a man and a woman and allow Illinois to recognize our freedom to marry. Once marriage equality under this legislation takes effect, same-sex couples in a civil union would still be allowed to continue with that status, but no new civil union licenses would be issued. Couples in a civil union who wish to “upgrade” to a marriage would be allowed to do so without onerous fees and red tape. Religious institutions would not be compelled to perform same-sex marriages; gay and lesbian couples would be married under civil law, using a willing officiant (religious or secular). Unfortunately, the General Assembly did not consider the marriage bill during this year’s spring legislative session. However, Equality Illinois is working diligently to educate lawmakers on the topic of marriage equality to ensure that Illinois becomes the next state to grant us the freedom to marry.

Respect for Marriage Act The Respect for Marriage Act (H.R. 1116, S. 598), would repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and allow the U.S. government to provide benefits to samesex couples in a marriage, has been lingering in Washington, D.C. for years but never acted upon. This year, for the first time ever, the Respect for Marriage Act was debated and voted on in a Congressional committee. While that bill still languishes in the Senate, the movement to rescind DOMA is gaining traction in Congress as more and more states approve marriage equality, and legislators from marriage states realize their constituents are being treated like second-class citizens in the eyes of the law. Couples who cannot file federal taxes jointly, who cannot take unpaid leave from work to care for a sick spouse, who cannot receive spousal benefits, or who cannot sponsor a partner for citizenship are truly being treated unfairly. While hopes for any movement to rescind DOMA in the current 112th Congress are slim, chances of the Respect for Marriage Act passing in the near future are looking brighter as those inside the Beltway are recognizing increasing popular support for marriage equality.

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BRIDGES A Path Forward: Leading on Immigrant Rights As a leader in the Illinois LGBT Immigrant Rights Coalition, Equality Illinois has been working diligently to ensure that the needs of LGBT immigrants and their loved ones are addressed. From bi-national same-sex couples trying to stay together in the United States to LGBT immigrants seeking asylum in this country, a wide range of immigration issues impact the LGBT community. For that reason, EQIL joined the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights (ICIRR) to expand our work in the arena of LGBT immigration policy. ICIRR is dedicated to promoting the rights of immigrants and refugees to full and equal participation in the civic, cultural, social, and political life of our diverse society. ICIRR educates and organizes immigrant and refugee communities to assert their rights; promotes citizenship and civic participation; monitors, analyzes, and advocates on immigrant-related issues; and, informs the general public about the contributions of immigrants and refugees. In partnership with EQIL, ICIRR is developing a number of LGBT-inclusive tools that impacted families and individuals can use to seek competent services.

Goooaaal: EQIL Scores New Partnership with Chicago Fire In FY2012, EQIL launched an exciting, new partnership with the Major League Soccer’s Chicago Fire, showing that basic fairness is not just a political issue. As a part of their public support for the LGBT community, the team marched with EQIL in the Chicago Pride Parade. The team showed its support for marriage equality and LGBT rights by attending our First Friday Social and Celebrity Pie Toss. A portion of the proceeds from tickets to Chicago Fire Pride Night also benefitted the Equality Illinois Education Project. For soccer fans of all orientations and identities, their love of sport is a uniting factor that breaks barriers. The partnership was the first-of-its-kind in professional soccer and received widespread media attention across the country. There was a great outpouring of excitement in the LGBT fan base, too, and EQIL looks forward to continuing our partnership with the Chicago Fire in the years to come.

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Spreading the Good Word Rev. Dr. Thom Parrott-Sheffer Union Church of Hinsdale, United Church Of Christ “Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.’” (NIV Matthew 19:14) These are powerful words … “Let them come …” “Do not hinder them …” “They belong to the kingdom of heaven.” Right from the beginning Christ set an example of inclusion and acceptance; he ate with tax gathers, ministered to prostitutes, talked openly with women, reached out to the poor and marginalized, spent time with children, and held the affluent and powerful accountable. The community of faith is called to be a place inclusivity and invitation, where God’s children are encouraged to grow and become what they were created to be – unhindered and with a true sense of belonging. Yet … for many, this has not been their experience of the Church. It is so vitally important that we struggle against the forces that attempt to limit the love of God. Early on in my ministry, while attending a seminar, I remember a keynote speaker say, “As Christians, we were called to witness to the world and pray for one another. Somewhere along the way we have flipped that so that we witness to each other and pray for the world.” Is it that we lost our courage? Is it that we feel powerless? Have we become so afraid of human diversity and that we needed to circle the wagons and only allow in that which is only like us? In that same keynote address the speaker went on to say, “The Christian army is the only army in the world that shoots its wounded.” If we fail to stand for what is truly affirming and life-giving we help create an environment that allows for persecution and pain. This is not the Church which Christ called into being with his invitation to come, unhindered. There were two life-focusing events in my life, one personal and the other professional, which occurred within the same year. The first was when my son came out to his mother and me as bi-sexual. He was a sophomore in high school. It hurt that he was afraid to tell us, afraid of what our reaction would be. Had we lived in such a way that made him doubt the power of our love for him? It opened my eyes and heart to just how terrifying this world can be for someone who doesn’t fit societal norms. My experience in theater and dance left me with a skewed outlook, and it wasn’t until I witnessed the reaction of my son’s peers and the saw the way in which the greater community was afraid of his differences that I began to truly appreciate the rough road that lay ahead for him. And I was convinced that it was all so unnecessary, but oh so real. The second event was as a delegate to the Synod meeting of the United Church of Christ, our national gathering. At this gathering we were taking up the resolution to come out in support of the LGBT community and, in particular, same-sex marriage. I was stunned by the ferocity of the opposition and their misuse of scripture, misunderstanding of history, and the misinterpretation of tradition. Yet, IO was buoyed by the willingness of those who, in courage, stood to speak out. I was driven to the microphone to make my own plea, both on behalf of a Church which needed to welcome and “hinder them not” as well as for my own son whose right to love and marry was being taken away. That voice, which I found at General Synod, began to grow in me. I began to find more and more avenues to witness, example, and confront: joining the United Church of Christ Coalition (our LGBT Advocacy Group), joining PFLAG, lobbying in Springfield, and finally joining in the work of Equality Illinois. I have learned that silence gives strength to an enemy. I have stood with good people building a community that encourages me when I might otherwise loose heart. I have been a pastor in the United Church of Christ for some 32 years and one thing remains very clear to me … God is bigger than I am and God’s message is to change the world (not vice versa). God made each of us unique, each of us gifted, and each of us as a child of grace. EVERYONE needs to be encouraged to learn to love, to grow, and to live into the being they were created to be … to come, unhindered, into the kingdom of God. Annual Report FYI2

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Civil Unions: The Law

Implementation and Tracking

On January 31, 2011, Governor Pat Quinn signed into law the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act. The law took effect on June 1, 2011.

In the first month 1,618 couples received a civil union license under the new law, by the sixth month 3,729 couples received a license, and in only one year at least 4,910 couples received a civil union license. There were 2,508 licenses issued in Cook during the year, 845 licenses issued in the five collar counties around Cook, and 1,557 licenses issued Downstate. The interest in obtaining a civil union was statewide: Licenses were issued in 92 percent of the counties; only eight counties out of Illinoisâ€&#x; 102 counties had no civil union applicants.

Rather than allow same-sex couples to marry, Illinois lawmakers instead created a separate status. However, in passing the civil union law, lawmakers intended that in all areas governed by Illinois law, couples in a civil union would be treated identically to heterosexual couples in a marriage. Unlike heterosexual couples who can choose between a civil union or a civil marriage, same-sex couples are only allowed to enter civil unions. Indeed, even same-sex couples who are legally married in other jurisdictions, such as New York, Iowa, and Canada, are only recognized in Illinois as civil-unioned.

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Thousands of additional same-sex couples across the state who have a marriage, a civil union, or a domestic

One Year Later partnership issued by another jurisdiction, are also recognized as “civil-unioned” in the state of Illinois. Upon the signing of the Act, EQIL and Lambda Legal launched the Illinois Civil Union Tracker to ensure that same-sex and different-sex couples who have a civil union are treated fairly under Illinois law. Over the course of the year, EQIL followed experiences of numerous couples. Towards the conclusion of the first year of the law, EQIL surveyed couples through the Civil Union Tracker on their experiences and also talked to scores more who contacted EQIL with their stories.

The Assessment The result of our year-long assessment was summarized in a special report highlighting patterns of inequality and further presented in the participant’s‟ own words. The report highlights a number of critical areas in which couples in a civil union are treated unequally or are denied rights, protections, benefits, or recognition available under state law to married heterosexual couples. Importantly, the very fact that same-sex couples in loving, committed relationships were not allowed to marry invited discrimination and stigmatization by private and public agents. It is the clearest evidence yet that civil unions are not equal to marriage. As we painfully learned through our national history, separate does not make equal.

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d a e h A d a o R The

vocacy d A & ld ie F g in m co p U f o t An Illustrative Lis

ork closely with legislative allies to build a proW marriage equality majority in the General Assembly Strengthen the Illinois Congressional Delegation’s support for LGBT equality legislation, including the Respect for Marriage Act, the Employment NonDiscrimination Act, the Student Non-Discrimination Act, and the Uniting American Families Act Add gender identity to the Illinois hate crimes statute Ensure that Illinois’ children are able to attend school in a safe, nurturing environment free from bullying by making sure that every school district in Illinois implements a comprehensive anti-bullying policy

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to FY 2013


Educate the LGBT community on their rights under the law and empower them to use those rights Expand Equality Illinois’ reach by hiring new field staff and opening offices across the state Engage 500 clergy from across Illinois in fostering welcoming and affirming communities Continue to build broad coalitions with students, labor unions, non LGBT focused community and advocacy groups, small businesses as well as racial. immigrant and economic justice organizations Gather 20,000 supporters to take a stand for marriage equality via postcard, email and petition campaigns Annual Report FYI2

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Corporate Responsibility:

Law Firms

EQIL conducted its seventh annual corporate responsibility survey, issuing its Raising the Bar report which recognized 37 Illinois law firms for leading the way in providing a safe and fair work environment for LGBT employees and engaging with the LGBT community. 2 0 1 2


This annual look at corporate responsibility, built from our survey of the 150 largest firms doing business in the state of Illinois, focuses exclusively on law firms.





In addition, Equality Illinois published the Law Firm Best Practices Manual with comprehensive policy recommendations to help firms foster an LGBTfriendly environment. The report and the best practices manual can be found at www.eqil.org. Thanks to the hard work of Equality Illinois and many others, Illinois is one of eleven states in which sexual orientation and gender identity are protected classes in the workplace. In addition, the civil union law and other statewide administrative guidelines set a far higher bar in law than can be measured by a national index. This higher baseline puts Illinois employers ahead of the pack, but it also gives them a greater responsibility to push the envelope in securing truly LGBT-inclusive policies in the workplace. As such, the Equality Illinois survey measures workplace equality in three categories: employment benefits, workplace diversity initiatives, and community relations.

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EQUALITY Over the last year, public policy regarding transgender equality has rapidly evolved at the federal, state, and local levels. Even as transgender-friendly policies continue to flourish across the country, we still need to remain vigilant in defending those successful initiatives here in Illinois. Some highlights from the victories over the last year include the following:

Housing. New federal regulations took effect in March 2012 that ban discrimination in federally-funded housing based on actual or perceived gender identity. More specifically, the rules prohibit owners or operators of government housing from asking about an applicant’s gender identity.

Mortgages. The federal regulations also prohibit lenders from denying mortgages to individuals based gender identity and give equal access to housing programs for eligible families, regardless of their gender identity.

Veterans. A federal policy adopted over the last year addressed the fair treatment of transgender veterans through the Veterans Health Administration. The Veterans Administration required all of its facilities to provide respectful, confidential healthcare to transgender veterans, including providing hormones and mental health care. Important components include requiring all staff to provide care to transgender patients without discrimination and keep all personal information about transgender status and medical care confidential.

Birth Certificates. At the state level, an agreement was reached in court to allow transgender individuals who have not had gender reassignment surgery the option of updating the gender marker on their birth certificates without having to undergo genital surgery. The previous policy required individuals to undergo costly and potentially dangerous surgical procedures without regard to a person’s desire or need for such surgery. Congratulations to our colleagues at ACLU of Illinois for leading the fight in the courts.

Learn more at www.eqil.org

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2012 Equality Illinois Gala:

Justice for All

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Focus on Equality:

GINGER LEE Whether you join Equality Illinois at the Transgender Community Social, attend our educational series, or simply party at our many outreach events, a constant friendly face welcomes you to the program. Ginger Lee is one of EQIL’s most engaged supporters and volunteers. Ginger also serves as Secretary of the Chicago Gender Society.

EQIL: How did you get involved in the LGBT equality movement? Ginger Lee: I knew about EQIL through my involvement in the Chicago Gender Society. I’ve seen the work that the group has done for transgender equality, so I started volunteering to get involved. I have been volunteering over the past five years now.

EQIL: What do you see as the issues on the horizon? Ginger: One key issue is voting rights because some people may not identify in a way that matches their voter registration. But regardless of how individuals present themselves, their voting rights should not be affected. I know that this year, EQIL is educating all county clerks on appropriate processing of transgender voters, and that is a step in the right direction. We also need to help businesses be more considerate of their transgender employees and customers, beyond just complying with the law. Some steps can be as simple as having gender-neutral bathrooms, while others will require more training and input.

EQIL: You are involved in so many activities. How do you find the time? Ginger: I had volunteered a lot even when I was in the workforce. But now that I’m retired, I feel that volunteering for organizations that fight for us is the best thing I can do to advance our equality.

EQIL: What motivates your involvement in Equality Illinois? Ginger: I feel like have two great mentors: Cathy Sikora and Christina Kahrl. While they are doing so much for the transgender community, I know they can’t do it alone, so my motivation is to provide support. Seeing what they have achieved encourages me to step up and I hope it encourages others. As far as being transgender, I've always been well received and made friends at Equality Illinois. When you come to a place that you enjoy and where you know there are people who like you, it makes it a lot easier. By me doing this, I feel like I'm doing my fair share. I'm not comfortable just sitting back and letting someone else do it. I'm helping myself as well as the rest of the transgender community.

Annual Report FYI2

| 23

Capitol Club

Briefing Series

The Briefing Series is an exclusive program for members of the Capitol Club, bringing Capitol Club members together with statewide and national political leaders who offer insider perspectives and commentary on the LGBT-rights movement. Briefings are closed to the media.

Recent speakers include:



Senate President

Lt. Governor



Senior Advisor to President Barack

Administrator of

Obama and Assistant

the Substance

to the President

Abuse and Mental

for Public

Health Services

Engagement and

Administration, U.S.


Department of Health


and Human Services

Valerie Jarrett

Pamela Hyde

Senior Counsel for Civil Rights to United States Attorney General


Eric Holder

State Treasurer



We are grateful to Quarles & Brady, the Presenting Sponsor of the Capitol Club Briefing Series.

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Annual Report FYI2


Craig Andree & Frank Quinn Robert Brumbaugh J.N. Pritzker


Anonymous Mark Cozzi Gabriel Fontes & Grant Gochnauer


James (Wally) Brewster & Bob Satawake Yvette Chavez & Lisa Gershenson Jim & Joan Ducayet Jon Thomas Foley & Jeffrey Grinspoon Jeremy Gottschalk Theodore Grady & Ross Slotten, M.D. Heidi Grathouse & Laura Ricketts Art Johnston & Jose Pena Robert Kohl & Clark Pellett Ryan LaLonde & Christopher Moody Charles Middleton Robert Park & Robert Rupp


Anonymous John Becvar & Jim Walsh Scott Johnson & Gary Metzner Ray Koenig & Johnny Song Rich Lane & Jaime Laurita Jennifer Rule & Christy Webber Joseph Schroeder & Allan Tenorio


Rob Abernathy & Peter Vamvakas Ralph Adams & George Posyzwak Mathieu Agee & Bret Farris Whitney Allen & John Whitehurst James Alexander & Curtis Drayer Sofia Anastopoulos & Angela Barnes Bryan Anderson & Allen Gustin, Jr. Charles Austin & Stuart Whitman Austin Baidas Fran Bailey & Mary Kaye Buettgen James Bailey Brad Ballast & David Hill Bradley Balof John Barry & Daniel Otto Bernard Bartilad & Michael Herman Paula Basta & Terri Worman

Annual Report FYI2

| 25

Charles Benge James Bennett & Terry Vanden Hoek Andrew Bigelow & Brian Lighty Marcus Boggs Barry Brunetti & Robert Neubert Karen Bundy Jerry Burgdoerfer & Sam Tang Phil Burgess & Jim Nutter David Caplan & Robert Macko Kay Carter & June Donka Bernard Cherkasov & Danny Cohen Thomas Chiola & Drew Jemilo Jeff Clark & Kurt Dahl Robert Cohn Duane Cole & Joseph Powers Abe & Ida Cooper Kenneth Creech & Frank Perkins Randy D’Agostino & Charles Hyde III David Dean Alexander deHilster & Michael Jefvert Nicholas Dehnert Joseph Della Monica Daniel L. Dever Brian Donlan Ira Dym & Ryan Endress Alan Eaks & Alberto Senior Walter Eppich Toby Eveland Nicholas Farina William Fraher & Blake Smietanski Andrew Freeman Daniel & Jacqueline Frett Dalila Fridi & Elizabeth McKnight Michael Fruchter David Frueh Quincy Fuller & Kelly Jones Hon. Bridget Gainer J. Richard Gallagher, M.D. & Clifford Kaiser Chris Gawart Kris Gibbons & William Lopez Mark Glafka & Damon Marquis Christopher Gloede Mary Beth Glotzbach & Barbara Rosen Jerry Glover John Graziani & Timothy Volk Samuel Griffith & Brian Mattson Jerome Guillen David Hall & Michael Nugent Lori Hannigan & Roseann Mireles David & Susan Hauswirth 26 |

Annual Report FYI2

Kevin Hauswirth Michael Herman Stephen Herseth & Mary Jo Herseth Louis & Peggy Heuser Dean Hobart Zachary Huelsing & Jonathan Lehman Chris Jessup Randolph Johnston Christina Kahrl & Charley Wanamaker Daniel Kirk & Brian Wolff David Kovy Eric Kurdziel Eric Ledbetter Michael Lemon Sean Lewis John Litchfield James LoBianco James Madigan Daniel Matarelli Don McDevitt & Al Torrence Kevin McGirr Hon. Michael McHale John Menefee & Nirmalpal Sachdev Michael Mitsoglou & Christopher Pare Nuha Nazy Brandon Neese & David Wick Bill & Sherry Graham Nelson Thomas O’Connell & Bryan Portman Arthur Paris John Parro & Jerry Teske Thom & Joan Parrott-Sheffer Claudia Perry Kathy Powers Ramsey Prince William Pry Alan & Irene Redman Peggy Rudd Paul Ruffino & Mike Weaver Dave Samber & Darrell Windle Paul Sanders Sam & Steve Schwartz-Fenwick Hon. Debra Shore & Kathleen Gillespie Joseph Silberman Catherine & Linda Sikora Michael Simmons Mario Sullivan Cliff Todd Hon. Tom Tunney Jeffrey Turner Wilton Walker Don Wenzel Richard Wilson

CORPORATE PARTNERS Abbott Laboratories American Family Insurance Aon Corporation Baird & Company Baird Foundation Inc. Baker & McKenzie BMO Harris Bank Brinks Hofer Gilson & Lione Chapman and Cutler LLP Chicago Beverage Systems Chicago Teacher's Union Clark Hill PLC CNA Insurance DLA Piper Exelon

Remy Cointreau USA, Inc. Roundys Supermarkets Sara Lee Foundation Schiff Hardin LLP Seyfarth Shaw LLP Shefsky & Froelich Ltd Sidley Austin LLP SitterCity Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP Unitarian Universalist Church of Joliet Unite Here Local 1 Walgreens Walmart Wildman Harrold Winston & Strawn LLP Wirtz Beverage Group

Fiorentino Law Offices Foley & Lardner LLP Greenberg Traurig LLP Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP Hyatt Hotels Jenner & Block LLP Jones Day K & L Gates LLP Kirkland & Ellis LLP Latham & Watkins LLP Marshall, Gerstein & Borun LLP McDermott, Will & Emery LLP McGuireWoods LLP MillerCoors LLC Moet Hennessy USA Navigaytour Neal, Gerber, Eisenberg LLP Nielsen Company Northalsted Business Alliance Pattishall, McAuliffe, Newbury, Hillard Private Bank Quad City Pride Inc. Quarles & Brady LLP Reed Smith, LLP

IN-KIND DONORS About Face Theatre Andrew Vesselinovitch Andy Karol Ann Sather Anneliese Moy Annoyance Productions Argo Tea Bark Bark Club Bary-Regent Quality Cleaners Bespoke Cuisine Best Western Plus,   Hawthorne Terrace Big Bowl Birkenheuer Photography Blackhawks Blue Man Group Chicago Blue Moon Resort Las Vegas

FOUNDATIONS Abe & Ida Cooper Foundation Aon Foundation Baird Foundation David Bohnett Foundation Equality Federation Institute Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute Gochnauer Family Foundation Human Rights Campaign Illinois Bar Foundation Kainz Family Foundation Kirkland & Ellis Foundation LAGBAC McDermott, Will & Emery Charitable Foundation PFLAG Northern Illinois Council Shefsky & Froelich Charitable Foundation Sidley Austin Foundation Taproot Foundation Tawani Foundation

Blueberry Moon Salon & Spa Bo Concept Boetto & Boetto Insurance Brimfield in Andersonville Broadway in Chicago Broughton Hospitality Bucca di Beppo Buzz Café Carol Donavan Casey Moran's Catering by Michael's Ceasars Entertainment Chalet Charlie Rice Minoso Chicago A Cappella Chicago Cubs Chicago Cut Steakhouse Chicago Gay Hockey Association Chicago Red Dress Party Chicago Shakespeare Theatre Chicago White Sox Chicago Wolves Chuck Renslow City Lit Theater Company

Annual Report FYI2

| 27

28 |

CJ Sikora

Glessner House Museum

Landmark Theatre

Classical Angst Publishing & Re-

Goldstar Events



Goodman Theatre

Le Cordon Bleu

Club Lucky

Goorin Bros. Hat Shop

Light Opera Works

Continuum Studio

Graham Crackers Comic Books,

Lincolnshire Marriott

Court Theatre


Lookingglass Theatre Co.

Crew Bar & Grill

Green's Nails and Massage

Loretta Julian

D Spa and Pet Boutique

Greenlawn Landscaping Inc

Lou Malnati's

Dalila Fridi

Haagen Dazs Shops

Love's Yogurt & Salads

Dalyn Miller

Hamburger Mary's

Lucky Strike Lanes

David Derks Design and Interiors

Hearty Restaurant

Lynda Creech

Diego Rocha Custom Design LLC

Hill Barbershop

MAC Cosmetics

Dikel's Bakery

Hilton Chicago

Mark Brown Photography

Douglas J

Horseshoe Casino


Dr. Joshua H. Ehrlich

Hub 51

Maui Sunseeker LGBT Resort

DS Tequila Co.

Hubbard Street Dance


E. Melone Floral

Hyde Park Art Center

McDermott Will & Emery LLP

Early To Bed

In Good Company

Melrose Restaurant

East Bank Club

International Mr. Leather

Men's Wearhouse and Tuxedos

Elizabeth McKnight

iO Improv

Mens Grooming Parlor

Entertainment Cruises

J Bar

Michelle Costigan

eta Creative Arts Foundation

J&L Catering


Farmers' Guest House

Jack's on Halsted

Mike Nourse at

Farrell's Extreme Bodyshaping

Janet & Dr. Alan Rosenfeld

  Hyde Park Art Center

Fiorentino's Cucina Italiana

Jeff & Natalie Kocis



Jim Karas Personal Training

Minnie & Sharon Minoso

Fitness Formula Club Gold Coast

Joey McDonald

Monatstero's Ristorante

Flywheel Sports Chicago

Jonathan Adler

Mr. Taco

Forever Young Cosmetic Spa

Kane Country Cougars

Museum of Contemporary Art

Four Points by Sheraton O'Hare

Kent Certified Wine Cellar

Museum of Science & Industry


Kevin Grace Design

Music Box Theatre

Frank Event Design

Kids Portraits by Picasso

Music of the Baroque

Frank Perkins

Kim Junkert

Myopic Books

Frank'n bake

Kincades's Bar & Grill

Nail Bar

Frankie's on the Park

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Namaskar Yoga

Frontera Grill

Lady Gregory's

New York City Bagel Deli

Frost Lighting

Lakeshore Express

Nolan Studios

Gene Siskel Film Center

Lakeview Athletic Club

Nookies Restaurants

Gethsemane Garden Center

Lakeview East Chamber

Northlight Theatre

Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago

  of Commerce

NV Salon

Glee TV Show

Lan Su Chinese Garden

Officer Jose Rios

Annual Report FYI2

Olive Garden

Seyfarth & Shaw LLP

The Peninsula Chicago


Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers

The Redhead Piano Bar

Oriental Institute

Shedd Aquarium

The Second City

Palm Springs Art Museum


The Talbot Hotel

Panache Boutique

Source One Office Products

The Westin Michigan Avenue

Park Hyatt

Spencer Massage

Thierry Roger Courturier

Parlour on Clark

Sports Corner

Thodos Dance Chicago

Paul Clark

Spin Nightclub

Thomas Fallon Photography

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum

St. Croix Shop

Thousand Waves Martial Arts and

Perennial Virant

Stanley's Kitchen & Tao

Self Defense Center



Tim Otte Studios

Playboy Enterprise

Stars on Ice

Time Line Theatre Company

Point Myotherapy

State Rep. Rosemary Mulligan

Timothy Loftus, M.D.

Porchlight Music Theatre

Steven Green

Tom Meier

Prime Time Pilates

Strawdog Theatre


Progressive Chiropatric

Sutton Studios

Train Chicago Studios

PRP Wine International

Swedish Bakery

Trey Coppland

Quarles & Brady LLP



Rachel Nelms Photography

Tattoo Removal


Ratio Clothing

Taverna 750


Raven Theatre

Terry's Toffee

Turley Road

RayMundo De Acosta Private Col-

The Bagel



The Brigade-Private Events

Unabridged Books

Redmoon Theatre

The Chicago Sky

Uncle Julio's Hacienda

Rick Bayless

The Clubhouse

Warby Parker

Robert John Russo Gallery

The Few Institute for Aesthetic

Waxman Candles

Roscoe's Tavern

Plastic Surgery


Rosebud Restaurants

The Glenwood

Wilde Bar & Restaurant

Roeser's Bakery

The Grand Resort & Spa Fort Lau-


Rosie O'Donnell Show


Wirtz Beverage Illinois

Ryan LaLonde

The James Hotel

Women & Children First

Salon Fete Lincoln Park

The Joffrey Ballet

Wishbone Restaurant on Lincoln

Sanctuary Interiors & Furnishings

The Land of Nod

WT Writers' Theatre

Savon Spa

The Nielsen Company

Young Sun Han

Scarlet Bar

The Pampered Chef

Zanies Comedy Night Club

Scott Shatzer

The Peace School


The listing reflect contributions during the 2012 fiscal year. We apologize for any inadvertent omission in this report -- we love all of our supporters.

Annual Report FYI2

| 29


YOUR DOLLAR$ AT WORK FOR EQUALITY Each dollar you generously donated, combined with contributions from other donors, provided the resources to make amazing progress over the past year!


30 |

Annual Report FYI2


Individual Contributions Corporate Contributions

Special Events


Individual Contributions (Non-event) Corporate Contributions (Non-event) Foundations & Trusts Special Events Total Revenues

$208,170 $135,689 $85,000 $719,167 $1,148,026

18.1% 11.8% 7.4% 62.6% 100.0%

Programs & Education Administration Special Events Fundraising Total Expense

$618,419 $145,222 $250,585 $93,576 $1,107,802

55.8% 13.1% 22.6% 8.4% 100.0%






tio n Tru s & sts

Programs & Education

Special Events







Budget Growth Year-Over-Year:

Fiscal Year $ Budget % Growth

2009 $735,137

2010 $968,398 31.7%

2011 $1,012,322 4.5%

2012 $1,148,026 13.4%

The numbers represent the audited combined figures for Equality Illinois and Equality Illinois Education Project. Please contact Joey McDonald, operations manager, at 773-477-7173 ext. 102 or jmcdonald@eqil.org if you wish to request a copy of our Independent Auditor’s Report.

Annual Report FYI2

| 31


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