Dusty Rhodes / NPR Illinois

This coming school year, districts will be expected to provide information on LGBTQ figures in history before students graduate eighth grade.

JGLSONGS / CC- by 2.0

Beginning next year, Illinois schools will be required to include the positive contributions of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals in their history curriculum.

Officials overseeing construction of the Obama Presidential Center on Chicago's South Side say they're taking steps to ensure a diverse workforce builds the center.

Ted Eytan / CC BY-SA 2.0 / Flickr

A state legislative proposal would make sure schools teach about LGBTQ people who made history. Equality Illinois, an LGBTQ advocacy group, says many of the state’s school-aged children who don’t identify as heterosexual feel left out of history lessons. Mike Ziri is the group’s Public Policy Director.

Wikimedia Commons

Advocates for LGBTQ rights in Illinois say while 2017 brought setbacks at the federal level, the state passed three laws aimed at improving equality.

Annual Parade Highlights CU Pride Fest

Sep 18, 2017
Jim Meadows / Illinois Public Media

Now in its eighth year, the CU Pride Festival bills itself as the largest gay pride event in downstate Illinois. The three-day festival in downtown Champaign runs September 15th-17th instead of the traditional June for gay pride events, so that University of Illinois students can attend.

Festival director Josh Laskowski says Champaign-Urbana’s status as a college town has helped the event grow.

UICOMP Expansion Includes Accomodations for 'All Genders'

Aug 29, 2017
Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Medical students at the University of Illinois College of Medicine at Peoria successfully advocated for two “all gender” bathrooms on campus. It’s just one of several efforts aimed at improving awareness and understanding of LGBTQ patients.

Cass Herrington / Peoria Public Radio

Planned Parenthood health centers in Peoria, Pekin and Bloomington this month added services for transgender patients. Peoria Public Radio’s Cass Herrington reports members of the transgender community welcome the news, but say there’s still a void in the treatment that’s available:

Darcia Ostling started her transition six years ago, “From who I was into who I am, who I truly am,” Ostling said.

Subconsci Productions / Flickr/Creative Commons

Peoria residents who identify as transgender will have more local options for health services, like hormone therapy.

Planned Parenthood announced Wed. its centers in Peoria and Pekin will begin offering hormone treatment and preventative care, specifically for transgender patients as soon as Aug. 1.

Peoria Transgender Society Co-chair Kristen Haley says it’s a step forward for improving options available in Peoria.

“Access to necessary healthcare services is the biggest challenge transgender people face, whether the reasons are economic or geographical,” Haley said.

Tamie Yost

Chicago police say the massacre at a gay nightclub in Florida has prompted the department to beef up security at this weekend's gay pride festival and next weekend's gay pride parade.

Candlelight vigil for Orlando victims tonight

Jun 13, 2016

The Interfaith Alliance and Peoria Proud are holding a candlelight vigil at Liberty Park at 6:00p.m. The vigil is aimed at allowing the community to gather in the wake of the Orlando tragedy.

LGBT Foundation / Flickr/Creative Commons

CHICAGO (AP) - Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he will try to poach businesses and conventions from North Carolina because of a law eliminating anti-discrimination protections for lesbians, gays and bisexuals.

Emanuel also says he will he ban the use of city funds for nonessential travel to the state. 

CHICAGO (AP) - The U.S. Department of Education says a suburban Chicago school district is violating the rights of a transgender student in refusing to allow use of the girls' locker room.

The student filed a federal complaint against Palatine Township School District 211, asking for unrestricted access to the locker room. The district proposed a compromise that would allow access, but require the student to change and shower in a separate area.

Preparations under way for Peoria Pride festival

Aug 18, 2015
Cesar Vargas

In what has been a momentous year for the LGBTQ community, Peoria will revive a pride festival downtown. Peoria native Cesar Vargas is planning this year’s event.

Vargas says he wanted to put together something that would encourage youth to feel confident and embraced by the community.

“I hope people are inspired and see wow, if he’s doing it, I can do something too,” Vargas said. “I feel like if that energizes people, we could all be doing something fabulous.”

Vargas says the city hasn’t had a large-scale gay pride event in six years.