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Rauner meets with LGBTQ groups at Equality Illinois headquarters

Tuesday, Sep 26, 2017 - Posted by Rich Miller

* Some heads on the governor’s far right flank are gonna explode in three… two…

LGBTQ and allied groups met with Gov. Bruce Rauner Tuesday morning to discuss challenges faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer Illinoisans that might find remedy in actions by the state.

The issues discussed during the meeting at Equality Illinois, the state’s LGBTQ civil rights organization, included healthcare and human services, youth and schools, housing, immigration, LGBTQ cultural competency of state-funded programs, and the protection and promotion of civil rights.

The governor also presented ceremonial copies of two bills he signed this summer that were part of the 2017 Equality Illinois legislative agenda–bills that modernize the birth certificate law for transgender Illinoisans needing to correct their gender marker and ban the anti-LGBTQ panic defense in murder cases. He also signed this year a bill to build LGBTQ representation on state boards and commissions.

“We thanked the governor for signing these significant measures that advance LGBTQ civil rights,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois. “It is also important that he heard from diverse voices in the state about the challenges LGBTQ Illinoisans still face in achieving full equality in Illinois and being able to live fulfilling and authentic lives.”

In addition to Equality Illinois, the organizations represented at the meeting included ACLU of Illinois, Affinity Community Services, AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Association of Latinos/as Motivating Action (ALMA), Chicago House and Social Service Agency, Howard Brown Health, Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, Lambda Legal, and Pride Action Tank.

During the approximately half-hour meeting, the participants presented an overview of key issues and provided the governor with an expansive agenda for consideration by him and his administration. (The organization(s) requesting inclusion of the particular policy item on this list is indicated in parentheses.)


Healthcare and Human Services

    Protection of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and Medicaid, especially opposition against the Graham-Cassidy rewrite of health insurance (AIDS Foundation of Chicago)
    Gubernatorial leadership opposing ACA repeal (Howard Brown Health)
    Ensuring the Department of Insurance provides proper oversight to stop and take action against discrimination for people living with HIV and other chronic diseases in the ACA insurance marketplace (AIDS Foundation of Chicago)
    Adequate funding for HIV services and programs and launch statewide “Getting to Zero” HIV elimination plan (AIDS Foundation of Chicago)
    Restore Illinois Department of Human Services funding to levels of two years ago (Chicago House and Social Service Agency)
    Sign House Bill 40 to ensure access to safe and legal reproductive healthcare for all women in Illinois (Equality Illinois)
    HIV quality measures in Medicaid managed care (Howard Brown Health)
    Medicaid access to Hepatitis C cure treatments (Howard Brown Health)


    More resources for LGBTQ youth who are experiencing homelessness (Pride Action Tank)
    Sign the Medicaid 1115 Waiver so that Medicaid can pay for tenancy support services in Illinois (Chicago House and Social Service Agency)

Youth and Schools

    Improve treatment and placement of LGBTQ youth in the care of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) (Grayson Alexander)
    Improve access to mental health services for LGBTQ students in schools (Grayson Alexander)
    In order to foster consistent affirming policies across the state, the Illinois School Board of Education should issue guidance to schools for affirming and supporting transgender students, including by allowing them to use facilities that match their gender identities, as required by the Illinois Human Rights Act. (ACLU of Illinois)
    Regarding the fair and inclusive treatment of transgender students across Illinois, we want gender-affirming and clear guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education using existing district policies that have been working well for years and that is consistent with the Illinois Human Rights Act (Illinois Safe Schools Alliance)
    Child welfare experts believe that LGBTQ youth are over-represented in child welfare systems and that one of the most significant barriers to providing this population with better care is a lack of research. For this reason, we have been advocating for a study on the prevalence and experiences of LGBTQ youth in DCFS care. The Governor’s office can play an important role in identifying funding and intellectual resources to facilitate such a study. (ACLU of Illinois)


    Requiring LGBTQ-cultural competency training for state-funded programs (Pride Action Tank)

Immigrant Rights and the LGBTQ Community

    Urge the governor to make statements against the President’s recent decisions regarding the pardoning of former Maricopa County, AZ Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted on criminal contempt for racial profiling of Latinos, and against the President’s ban on recruitment of transgender individuals by the military (ALMA)
    Urge the governor to support greater protections for all immigrants, especially LGBTQ folks. For instance, the governor should support providing specific state resources to organizations providing both legal and advocacy services for LGBTQ immigrants seeking asylum and citizenship. An example of such an organization is the National Immigrant Justice Center, a Heartland Alliance program. Many of our LGBTQ immigrants face the threat of violence or death if returned to their countries of origins. (ALMA)

Civil Rights

    Enhance our civil rights protections by reducing the 15-or-more employee requirement to be a covered employer under the Illinois Human Rights Act (Dr. Anthony Kreis)


    ACLU of Illinois
    Contact: Khadine Bennett, Director of Advocacy and Intergovernmental Affairs

    Affinity Community Services
    Contact: Imani Rupert-Gordon, Executive Director

    AIDS Foundation of Chicago
    Contact: John Peller, President and CEO
    Ramon Gardenhire, Vice President of Policy

    Association of Latinos/as Motivating Action
    Contact: Luis Roman, Board Member

    Chicago House and Social Service Agency
    Contact: Scott Ammarell, Chief Executive Officer

    Equality Illinois
    Contact: Brian C. Johnson, Chief Executive Officer

    Howard Brown Health Center
    Contact: David Munar, President and Chief Executive Officer

    Illinois Safe Schools Alliance
    Contact: Owen Daniel-McCarter, Executive Director​

    Lambda Legal
    Contact: Christopher Clark, Midwest Regional Director

    Pride Action Tank
    Contact: Kim Hunt, Executive Director

    Dr. Anthony Kreis
    Professor of Law, Chicago-Kent College of Law
    Advocate for Senate Bill 1761 (panic defense ban)
    Equality Illinois Community Advisory Group

    Grayson Alexander
    First year student, Loyola University
    Advocate for House Bill 1785 (birth certificate modernization law)
    Equality Illinois Community Advisory Group


  1. - Honeybadger - Tuesday, Sep 26, 17 @ 11:24 am:

    Proft/Tillman for GOP nomination.

  2. - Saluki - Tuesday, Sep 26, 17 @ 11:24 am:

    I am not sure if the Governor is running for re-election or not at this point…

  3. - A guy - Tuesday, Sep 26, 17 @ 11:24 am:

    If there’s an organized group who ought to be happy with him; it should be this one. He’s signed everything that’s come in front of him. And like the smart group they are…they’ve got a bigger list.

  4. - Last Bull Moose - Tuesday, Sep 26, 17 @ 11:25 am:

    I thought the Q stood for questioning.

    Amazing the change in attitudes since my youth.

  5. - cdog - Tuesday, Sep 26, 17 @ 11:36 am:

    Good for Rauner. I can take issue with a few things above listed, but we are a nation built on freedom and liberty. The LGBTQ community is always a good ruler to use when trying to be true to those American values.

    On the other hand, this whole Sharia dialogue from the Sharia Board, headquartered on Western Ave in Chicago, is a full on assault of a 19 year old LGBTQs constitutional rights. Very disturbing.

  6. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Sep 26, 17 @ 11:39 am:

    I can’t think of a single LGBTQ voter who supports Rauner. This won’t change that.

    Instead, Rauners playing to voters who haven’t written him off as worse than the Blagojevich. This won’t change that either.

    Rauner is Governor DOA in 2018. The Democrats will need to really mess up to lose next year.

  7. - Original Rambler - Tuesday, Sep 26, 17 @ 11:45 am:

    Democrats: “Hold my beer.”

  8. - Texas Red - Tuesday, Sep 26, 17 @ 11:56 am:

    “I can’t think of a single LGBTQ voter who supports Rauner”

    Classic ” big tent” move by Rauner. I know a number of LGBT folks that voted for Rauner due to second amendment issues.

  9. - Honeybear - Tuesday, Sep 26, 17 @ 12:03 pm:

    OW there is your proof of Diana’s brand management efforts.
    Wow she must have gotten clobbered on the Winetka cocktail circuit. What maybe two weeks ago? Before the whole SB40 stuff resurfaced?

  10. - Chicago_Downstater - Tuesday, Sep 26, 17 @ 12:25 pm:

    @VanillaMan & Texas Red

    I’m definitely one of those LGBTQ voters that will not be voting for Rauner. While these bills were a step in the right direction, the nonprofit organizations he strangled serve a lot of LGBTQ folks that needed those resources.

    Besides I doubt if he’s really worried about capturing the LGBTQ vote. This seems more like something he can point to to say, “No social agenda here folks! I love the gays.”

    Great Bruce. Now where’s the check for the service providers that did the front line work with my fellow LGBTQ community members?

  11. - SuburbanRepublican - Tuesday, Sep 26, 17 @ 12:39 pm:

    Good on the Governor for supporting these bills and meeting with Equality Illinois today. More Republicans need to embrace truly limited government by supporting these issues. Hopefully Equality IL will recognize this Governor next year and not oppose him.

  12. - NIU Grad - Tuesday, Sep 26, 17 @ 1:14 pm:

    “I can’t think of a single LGBTQ voter who supports Rauner.”

    Very narrow worldview you’re expressing…LGBTQ people don’t think and act the same way. Actions like these don’t win over those voters who will vote Democratic no matter what, but to convince LGBTQ voters who do support him and his ideas (yes, they exist) that he isn’t a far-right social ideologue.

    You want to know how Democrats lose next year? It’s by perspective like that…assuming “blocks” of voters will follow them no matter what, so they can propose things that voters will really be upset about (how about more taxes?).

  13. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Sep 26, 17 @ 1:33 pm:

    Saluki, did you not pay attention to Rauner last election? He’s doing the same thing.

    The idea is to make soothing noises to hopefully keep voters in the city and suburbs who vote Dem in presidential years from turning out on general election day in 2018.

    Historically, the Dem drop off in non-prez years is massive. If the Dem nominee in 2018 gets 75% of the vote Clinton got in 2016, there’s no way Rauner can win.

  14. - King Louis XVI - Tuesday, Sep 26, 17 @ 4:01 pm:

    In 2014, Rauner vowed to veto marriage equality bill w/o referendum.

    In 2017, a 30 minute sit down won’t compensate.

  15. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Sep 26, 17 @ 4:43 pm:

    Sounds like you know one.
    I don’t.
    Excuse me if that seems to get your undies in a bunch.
    Or whatever your thrilling yourself with wearing. Or not wearing.

  16. - blue dog dem - Tuesday, Sep 26, 17 @ 7:05 pm:

    NIU Grad. Nice work. I feel the same about Dems demagoging the union vote.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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