LGBTQ Town Hall Set For March 29th

Mar 25, 2021
Pride flag
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A virtual town hall meeting on Monday, March 29th will tackle issues facing the LGBTQ community.

Hosted by Rainbow Café and Equality Illinois, the panel will include community members as well as Du Quoin mayor Guy Alongi and Illinois Rep. Lamont Robinson, the first LGBTQ African-American to serve in the state legislature. Other state legislators and mayors from Southern Illinois have been invited to attend.

In his first weeks in office, President Joe Biden has rolled back multiple federal policies that negatively affected LGBTQ+ people under former president Donald Trump. But in Illinois, policy advocates say there’s still more battles to be fought.

State Audit Finds DCFS Performance Lacking for LGBTQ Youth

Feb 12, 2021

A performance audit of the Department of Children and Family Services released by the state auditor general this month found substandard practices for caring for LGBTQ youth at the agency.

Illinois Auditor General Frank Mautino’s office conducted the review of how DCFS manages lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning or queer youth in its care following the passage of a state Senate resolution greenlighting the audit in 2019.

The Illinois State Board of Education next month is set to adopt culturally responsive teaching standards to promote diversity and inclusion.

That plan comes despite concerns raised by a conservative group that defends biblical principles. 

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SIU’s Student Health Services is getting national recognition as a leader in LGBTQ Health Equity.

Director of Wellness Morrison said the school has been working toward this for more than 2 years. SIU was scored on non-discrimination and staff training, student support, employee benefits and polices, and patient and community engagement.

Morrison said their goal is to be able to provide affirming and inclusive care for all students and make visiting Health Services a positive experience.

A group of transgender women has asked for an independent monitor of the Illinois Department of Corrections because the agency has not improved those inmates’ care as ordered by a judge last year.

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After the arrest of a protester who was misgendered by Carbondale Police, local advocates are hoping to help police change how they interact with the LGBTQ community

Rainbow Café Board Chair Tara Bell said the incident came to her attention after witnesses released videos of the arrest. She didn’t like the police actions she saw in the videos or the way the police department released information to the public. Police say the name they released was the only one provided during the arrest.

Advocates Speak Out Against Arrest Of Trans Protester

Jun 30, 2020

Local LGBTQ+ advocates have issued a statement condemning the Carbondale Police Department for how they handled the arrest of a protester on June 28th.

Witnesses said the protester was slammed against a car and others who tried to intervene were pepper-sprayed. A police press release referred to the individual with male pronouns and gave a name they do not currently use. According to friends, she goes by Cat.

Drive Through Pride Parade Planned For Carbondale

Jun 25, 2020
Pride flag
Pete Linforth / Pixabay

The Rainbow Café LGBT Youth Center and Southern Illinois Pride are hosting a drive through pride parade in Carbondale on June 28th.

The event will be held from noon to one pm on Sunday and all LGBTQ plus individuals, families and allies are invited to decorate cars and take part in a procession. The procession will begin at the Gaia House and continue around town.

The organizers encourage attendees to remain in their cars, practice social distancing, and wear masks.

Transgender Healthcare Is A Challenge In Rural Areas

Jun 25, 2020
A person in a white coat with a stethoscope around their neck.
DarkoStojanovic / Pixabay

June marks Pride Month each year. Previously, we published a conversation between a local doctor and his patient on transgender healthcare. One of the topics they discussed was the learning curve doctors face when treating patients in the trans community.

Other doctors echo this point, saying they’ve had to do their own research and training to be able to treat the patients who’ve come to them for care.

Carbondale, IL – Tara Bell-Janowick is the board chair, community relations director, and a volunteer at the Rainbow Café LGBT Youth Center. A founder and the lead coordinator of the Southern Illinois Pride Fest, she has organized many LGBTQ events in Southern Illinois, particularly in Jackson County. She is also a member of Illinois State Treasurer Mike Frerich’s LGBTQ Advisory Council and a member of Equality Illinois’ Community Advisory Group.

University of Illinois Springfield professor Jason Pierceson recently published an encyclopedia detailing LGBTQ politics. It includes profiles on candidates, officials and activists; a timeline of events;  government documents; speeches; and court cases. Pierceson recently talked about the two-volume work with reporter Maureen McKinney, as well as the Trump administration's handling of LGBTQ issues. 

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with SIUC Assistant Psychology Professor Douglas Knutson about the upcoming symposium featuring Dr. Mechthild Kiegelmann. The seminar is Monday, September 2nd from 12:00pm-2:00pm at Carbondale Unitarian Fellowship.

You can get more information at this website.

The Illinois legislature last week approved a measure to have public schools include LGBTQ history in their curriculum. That news hit home with Callie Vine, who will attend Carbondale High School in the fall.

Callie, who's 14, is gender-nonconforming, which means she doesn’t fit into a set definition being of masculine of feminine. She made this bill the focus of her history fair project, and won the chance to compete at state.

Illinois could become the third state in the nation to require that single restrooms in offices, restaurants and other public places be gender-neutral.

Similar laws are in place in California and Vermont.

A suburban parents’ group dropped its lawsuit that attempted to ban transgender students from using school restrooms and locker rooms associated with their gender identity, a move that supporters of transgender students say helps affirm the rights of  students across the state.  

New Medicaid Coverage for Transgender Illinoisans

Apr 15, 2019
Ted Eytan / Flickr/Creative Commons

The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services will soon allow gender confirmation surgery to be covered by Medicaid.

That procedure, most often done to augment genitals and breasts, is used by transgender people who want their physical body match their gender identity. Not all trans people opt for surgeries, but many feel it’s necessary for their well-being.

“Covering gender affirming surgery fosters healthcare equity and inclusion,” said John Hoffman, the department’s spokesperson.

Lily Furgeson had a great experience in sex ed in middle school. Furgeson, who is a 17-year-old senior at a Chicago Public Schools high school, said her eighth grade sex ed teacher made sure to include lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender identities as part of their curriculum.

'Hell No to the Memo' rallies have popped up in response to word from the federal Dept. of Health and Human Services that it wants government agencies to limit the way gender is categorized. That information came out via a leaked memo reported on by The New York Times. Trans-rights’ activists say it’s a move that would unravel work they’ve accomplished. They say gender is not binary and their identity is valid.

SIU-C Ready for LGBTQ Month

Sep 28, 2018

SIU is celebrating LGBTQ History Month this October with several events. The pride walk is October 1st at noon and will begin at the Student Center main entrance.

The transition from youth to adolescence can be anxiety-inducing, navigating the physical changes and social pressures to fit in.

An idea being floated at the statehouse would urge public schools to cover the historic contributions of LGBTQ people.

The school code has already been changed to promote historically marginalized groups like women and African-Americans. The Illinois Family Institute opposes the measure.

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Alice Dreger about her upcoming lecture, "Who Should Count As A Woman On The Playing Field?"

Dreger is the SIU Law School's John and Marsha Ryan Bioethicist-in-Residence for 2018.

WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with Herrin native Brad Calcaterra, founder and creative director of The Studio in New York City. Calcaterra will moderate a discussion after the screening of "Real Boy" at the Carbondale Public Library.


WSIU's Jennifer Fuller talks with filmmaker Sandra Pfeifer about her new documentary, "Not Throwing In The Towel." The film follows a lesbian couple in western Kentucky, as they navigate daily life and the struggles of the LGBT community.

From Europe to the Middle East and Asia, condemnation is nearly universal following the nightclub attack in Orlando, Florida by a man police say called 911 and declared is support for an Islamic State group leader.

WSIU's Brad Palmer talked with Travis Tucker, the staff adviser for the Saluki Rainbow network at SIU-C about how the shooting was especially personal for him and how the LGBTQ community is reacting.


Just who can use what bathroom has garnered headlines across the country. Illinois senators are calling for a ban on unnecessary government travel to two states with bathroom laws targeting transgender individuals.

Updated at 6:20 p.m. ET

After North Carolina's governor filed a lawsuit asking federal courts to keep in place a controversial law that places limits on transgender access to bathrooms, the U.S. Justice Department responded with a lawsuit of its own.

Missouri's so-called religious freedom bill may be dead for this year. The amendment to the state Constitution would have protected people who didn't want to provide services related to same-sex marriages, including clerks, clergy and businesses.

Wednesday's 6-6 vote by a House committee stopped the measure from advancing, The Associated Press reports. Three Republicans joined three Democrats in opposition, the AP says.

Illinois lawmakers are moving to make it easier for transgender individuals to change the gender marker on a fundamental document: their birth certificates. Democrats on a House committee approved the legislation Tuesday on a partisan vote of 8 to 6.

Alexandria Dinardo, who was born and raised in Springfield, was born male; that's what Dinardo's birth certificate still says.