National – Local
Chicago will officially be participating in a worldwide LGBT civil rights march and demonstration this April 21. Chicago will be one of several cities around the world that will be participating in the march. Other cities currently include New York, D.C., and Atlanta but the number is still growing according to organizers. The event was started by Oklahoma city gay activist Joe Knudson and has been organized via Facebook. Noa Francis Shayden who is heading the Chicago effort, plans to hold the demonstration downtown with the assistance of other LGBT organizations including Civil rights agenda and LGBT change. To find out more visit the facebook page of LGBT equality.
Activists in Chicago will soon be facing additional hurdles when planning demonstrations. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the city of Chicago, have submitted new public demonstration regulations in anticipation for the G8 and NATO summits, which will be held simultaneously this May. The mayor’s proposed measures will present: burdensome filling requirements, require an official marshal for every 100 participants and will allow police to fine demonstrators up to $1,000 for violating the city’s rules on public gatherings. While the new regulations are geared for this year’s summits, Mayor Emanuel announced last week that he plans for them to remain in place after the events are completed.
Chicago celebrated Martin Luther King Junior Day on Monday. To honor the day the Chicago branch of the LGBT group Gay for Good held an MLK Service project in Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood. The national service groups aims to mobilize the LGBT community by volunteering for social services and environmental causes that aren’t traditionally associated with the LGBT community. This year’s MLK service event was held at the Henry Ford Academy: Power House High School, the Bethune School of excellence and the Lawndale YMCA. Participants of all skill levels participated in painting rooms and murals, and some light construction. Even Mayor Rahm Emmanuel made a stop to take part of the community service event. The National collaborative has 7 branches around the country and over 2,000 registered volunteers. More on the Chicago branch and their upcoming events can be found at Gay for good. Org
Last week Minnesota made history by being the first state to vote an openly lesbian Native American into the State legislator. Susan Allen won 56% of votes in last weeks election and took the House Districts 61B seat. In a press release announcing her victory she stated that, “As a Native woman and lesbian I know what it’s like to be left out, to not have a voice.” Her declared early priorities for her time in the seat will include bringing jobs and training to her district, developing fair tax system for Minnesota and to fight the discriminatory constitutional marriage amendment.
The UK based LGBT rights group Stonewall published its annual top 100 employers list, and at the top of the list was the global accountancy firm Ernst & Young. Earning the title is not an easy feat. To gain eligibility companies are required to: have sexual orientation explicitly mentioned in their non-discrimination policy, have a team responsible for LGBT concerns, and demonstrate that there is no pink ceiling. Which for those who may not know, it is demonstrating that there is openly-gay staff in the top of the company. As an international company, Ernst and young have taken their inclusivity to the US by implementing a tax equalization or, gross-up. The purpose of this is to reimburse employees for additional federal and state taxes incurred for their partner’s benefits, which can be up to $1500 annually.
With the republican presidential race in full swing, President Obama returned to Chicago last week to raise money for his campaign. The president spoke at three fundraisers, two were high-priced dinners, and one was a campaign rally at UIC where he spoke to a young crowd on some of the administrations accomplishments including the recovery act, passing healthcare reform, and the death of Osama bin Laden. The well attended rally also featured a concert with R&B sensation Jenlle Monae and actor hill harper, and his time in Chicago raised nearly $2 million.
Cuba has seen a quietly celebrated announcement that Same-sex civil unions may soon be legalized. Mariela Castro, Director of Cuba’s national sex education center and the country’s biggest gay activist, made the announcement on the Spanish broadcaster Cadena Ser. The proposal is currently being reviewed by Cuban authorities and will be submitted to the Community Party conference on January 28.
Tel Aviv was voted the best Gay city of 2011. In a competition by American airlines in conjunction with gay citites.com the city swept the first place ranking over New York City. The vote was held online where users were asked to vote based on a number of categories including best food, nightlife and pride parade. Tel Aviv is renowned for its liberal attitude and its open LGBT society. The annual gay pride parade attracts people from all over the world and the 2012 gay pride parade is expected to attract 100,000 visitors from all over the world.
The annual golden globes were held on Sunday. The award show was hosted again by Ricky Garvais who delivered a tamer version of last year’s jarring show, what may have been more jarring was the presence of the Westboro Baptist church, the famous anti-gay church, Outside of the award show. Many of this year’s winners spoke up for gay rights. George Clooney who won for best performance in the descendents, said during a press conference after his win that the anti-gay sentiment in the republican presidential race is on the wrong side of history, and that gay rights is the last leg of the civil rights movement. This year Christopher Plummer, who took home best supporting actor for his role as a gay man in the film beginners said I know there’s an awful lot of anti-gay feeling right now, particularly at this moment, and I abhor it. Modern Family, which won for best comedy, also took the stage against the church when Eric Stonestreet who plays Cameron told the Hollywood reporter America is a great place, speech is free and you’re able to expose the fact that you’re an idiot.”