Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-09-06



VIEWS Workers' rights are LGBTQ+ rights
by Brian C. Johnson

This article shared 3556 times since Mon Jun 27, 2022
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

June usually marks a joyous month for the LGBTQ+ community and our allies as we reflect on the decades of hard work that our community and movement have put into securing and promoting our civil rights. While this June is no exception, we're also forced to come to terms with the fact that our Constitutional rights remain in jeopardy.

We've already seen what an emboldened right-wing majority on the Supreme Court is willing to do. Last week, the Supreme Court rolled back women and pregnant people's fundamental right to reproductive freedom despite decades of established legal precedent.

That shocking development was a harrowing reminder to LGBTQ+ Americans that the progress we've fought so hard for in courts and communities for decades could be wiped away by a new generation of activist judges more interested in advancing their ideological agenda than understanding and following established case law.

There has never been a more important time to stand up and continue the fight for our fundamental rights and advance the cause of equality. Luckily, here in Illinois, we have a powerful opportunity to do just that this November when Illinois voters will have the opportunity to vote yes for the Workers' Rights Amendment.

The Workers' Rights Amendment will update the Illinois Constitution to guarantee the right to collective bargaining, ensuring workers can join together to negotiate for pay raises, voice safety concerns that can save lives in the workplace, and continue to eliminate discrimination against LGBTQ+ Illinoisans.

This is a crucially important opportunity for our community and our entire state. It is also a powerful reminder that workers' rights are queer rights, and in our fight for our equality, collective bargaining agreements were some of the first places LGBTQ+ non-discrimination protections existed, long before laws were enacted to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

In fact, the first workplace protections for gay people in US history were secured in a collective bargaining agreement - the one secured by the Marine Cooks and Stewards Union. In 1936 the union featured a banner stating "Race-baiting, Red-baiting, and Queer-Baiting is Anti-Union" in its union hall.

The labor movement's commitment to our cause began as early as 1970 when the American Federation of Teachers became the first federal labor union to make a public statement calling for an end to discrimination against LGBTQ+ workers. That same year, unions began including anti-discrimination policies in their collective bargaining agreements, and by 1974, two AFSCME locals negotiated collective bargaining agreements that expressly prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation.

In the 1980's, our allies in the labor movement extended their advocacy to protecting our families as well as our workers. In 1982, the staff union at the Village Voice in New York City negotiated an extension of the company health plan to "spouse equivalents." In the mid-1980s, the Columbia clerical local union collectively bargained for nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ+ workers, spousal equivalent bereavement leave, health coverage, and tuition benefits for domestic partners.

And, later that same decade, the Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union negotiated the addition of "change of sex" to the list of protected classes at an industrial laundry facility after a union steward was harassed at work following her gender reassignment surgery.

It's worth noting no state would pass statewide non-discrimination protections until Wisconsin in 1982. Illinois didn't pass LGBTQ+-inclusive non-discrimination protections until 2005. Before the state legislatures took action, labor unions and queer labor activists were leading the fight for anti-discrimination protections.

That is why Equality Illinois is proud to endorse the Workers' Rights Amendment. In the current environment, we hear anecdotal reports that collective bargaining agreements are sometimes the only protections for LGBTQ+ workers in the 28 states without explicit statutory protections for LGBTQ+ workers.

Should our fundamental rights in the workplace come under the same threats facing reproductive freedom, collective bargaining agreements may be the only significant tool we have to enforce LGBTQ+ nondiscrimination in the workplace.

It is critically important that we win this fight for workers' rights in Illinois this November and keep our state moving backward. Vote Yes for Workers' Rights in the general election.

Brian C. Johnson is the CEO of Equality Illinois

This article shared 3556 times since Mon Jun 27, 2022
facebook twitter google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By


Gay News

Lambda, TLDEF urge 4th Circuit to uphold rulings protecting gender-affirming care in NC, WV
--From a press release - (RICHMOND, VA - Thursday, Sept 21) — Today, a full panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit heard arguments in two cases involving equal access to health care for transgender people. State ...

Gay News

WORLD French fund, mausoleum, Abrazo Grupal, Biden, Billie Jean King
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna announced a fund to help promote the rights of LGBTQ+ people, French24 reported. She made the announcement at the 15th anniversary of an LGBTQ+ group at the United Nations at the ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Sarah McBride, TIME100 lists, Kentucky clerk, suspects arrested
A poll showed that Delaware Democrat Sarah McBride—who is bidding to become the nation's first openly transgender member of Congress—leads her primary opponents by a wide margin, The Hill reported. In a survey of likely Democratic ...

Gay News

Chicago-based Pillar of Love Fellowship UCC set to celebrate 20 years
Pillar of Love Fellowship United Church of Christ (UCC), founded by Bishop Phyllis V. Pennese in 2003, will be celebrating 20 years on Oct. 1 from 2-5 p.m. at the Oak Lawn Hilton Hotel, 9333 South ...

Gay News

MAP reports on obstacles trans people face with healthcare, legal recognition
--From a press release - Today the Movement Advancement Project (MAP) released Banning Medical Care and Legal Recognition for Transgender People, the fifth in MAP's report series, Under Fire: The War on LGBTQ People in America. The report details how the ...

Gay News

Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin to resume abortions after ruling
Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin (PPWI) announced that it will resume abortion-care services Monday, Sept. 18, after a judge ruled in July that an old state law that appeared to ban the procedure does not apply to ...

Gay News

Newsom ends California's travel ban against anti-LGBTQ+ states
On Sept. 13, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he signed SB 447 by Senate President pro Tempore Toni G. Atkins (D-San Diego), which ends the state's restriction on taxpayer-funded travel by state agencies and departments ...

Gay News

In D.C., Black LGBTQ+ lawmakers protest Nigerian wedding arrests
On Sept. 12, Black LGBTQ+ lawmakers—led by Maryland state Del. Gabriel Acevero and D.C. Councilmember Zachary Parker, and alongside the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC) and other advocacy groups—protested outside ...

Gay News

HRC to host Chicago dinner, auction to support response to national state of LGBTQ+ emergency
--From a press release - Chicago, IL. - September 8th - The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Chicago Steering Committee is proud to host its Annual - Human Rights Campaign Chicago Fundraising Dinner and Auction!! The Dinner and Auction will be held ...

Gay News

WORLD Couple's win, attack in Beirut, German military, gay ski week
In Strasbourg, France, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that Bulgaria violated the rights of a same-sex couple (Darina Koilova and Lili Babulkova) by not recognizing their marriage abroad, RFE/RL reported. Rights groups lauded the ...

Gay News

Hong Kong court grants rights of same-sex couples, stops short of marriage
On Sept. 5, Hong Kong's top court ordered the city's government to legally recognize the rights of same-sex couples in a partial victory for LGBTQ+-rights activists, CNN reported. Five judges from Hong Kong's Court of Final ...

Gay News

Judge halts Texas' ban on drag performances
U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Texas David Hittner has stopped the state's ban on drag performances—which was scheduled to go into place on Sept. 1—enforcing a temporary injunction, media outlets reported. A coalition ...

Gay News

WORLD Brazilian court, Scottish items, Canadian policy, PEPFAR
The Brazilian Supreme Federal Court ruled nine to one that homophobia is now punishable with up to five years in prison, The Washington Blade reported. Their decision equates homophobia to racism in terms of prison time. ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Sorority suit, trans woman's win, school policy, activist honored
U.S. District Judge Alan B. Johnson dismissed a civil lawsuit against Kappa Kappa Gamma and Artemis Langford—the first openly trans woman to join a sorority at the University of Wyoming, according to Oil City News. Johnson ...

Gay News

Ugandan man charged with 'aggravated homosexuality'
In Uganda, a 20-year-old man is facing the death penalty after being charged with "aggravated homosexuality," the BBC reported. His lawyer, Justine Balya, told Reuters that the man—accused of unlawful ...


Copyright © 2023 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.






About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.