Justice & Human Rights
At Innovation Illinois, we are very proud that Illinois is one of 34 states (at last count) where LGBT men and women have the freedom to marry, and where their marriages are recognized by the state, with all the legal rights and privileges afforded to other couples.
We also are proud that, for the last decade, the Illinois Human Rights Act has prohibited discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, and public accommodations.
Over the years, Illinois has been a leader in protecting LGBT rights. But we still need to work together to make sure everyone in Illinois has an equal chance to live a long, healthy, prosperous life here in the Land of Lincoln.
That means we need to build a healthcare system that offers affordable, high-quality, culturally appropriate medical care to everyone. That means we need to work toward greater social justice and overturn the barriers and prejudices that still get in the way of LGBT people’s equal pursuit of happiness and prosperity. And it means that we need to address the many serious social problems, such as youth homelessness, that have a disproportionate impact on the LGBT community.
Assuring Access to Affordable, Appropriate, Quality Healthcare
Although there are a number of health needs that are especially important to the LGBT community, many health care providers have not been trained to recognize and respond to all of their gay patients’ health concerns. So Innovation Illinois is a strong advocate for state legislation that would require health professionals to take continuing education courses to improve their cultural competency regarding LGBT issues. We also support the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity in patients’ electronic health records. Making this information available to health professional will help them address their LGBT patients’ health needs holistically and comprehensively.
Providing Housing and Supportive Services for LGBT Youth
A disproportionate number of homeless youth identify as LGBT – up to 40 percent, according to one recent study of youth shelters nationwide. Sadly, many of these young people have been abused and rejected by family members, leaving them vulnerable and alone.
There are many great agencies and programs throughout Illinois working to help homeless teens and young adults find housing, get medical care, land jobs, and begin productive and healthy adult lives. But with an estimated 25,000 homeless youth living in Illinois, the need for help far outstrips the available resources. Innovation Illinois solidly supports increased funding, at both state and local levels, to create safe shelters and targeted social service programs for these young Illinoisans in need.
To learn more about the many organizations that are dedicated to serving Illinois’ vibrant LGBT community, please visit these websites:
1. LGBT Homeless Youth Survey - July 2012
2. Chicago Homeless/FAQ-Studies