LGBTQ

flickr / user: Benson Kua

LGBTQ rights activists say two pieces of legislation should be signed by the governor. Both passed the General Assembly unanimously.

Rachel Otwell

What's considered to be the first openly gay country album was recorded in the 1970s. It went largely unnoticed until just a few years ago. Having been resurrected and re-released from a label in North Carolina in 2014, the work has earned new fans and accolades. A performance featuring the singer and songwriter of Lavender Country, Patrick Haggerty, happened earlier this year in St. Louis. Haggerty, a 72 year old Washington state native, is touring the U.S. and seeing his ground breaking work gain acknowledgment in an era of increased acceptance.

Matthew Wilson (IG: @matchupee)

Lavender Country is the name of a band and an album that came out in 1973. It rattled some conservative cages, and then for a long while it seemed to be erased from the history books. Patrick Haggerty is the singer/songwriter, he had help with production from the Gay Community Social Services of Seattle. "At the time that we made Lavender Country we knew very well what it was. We also knew that the audience that was going to hear it was going to be out (of the closet), or coming out, and that the rest of the world was going to reject gay country music," says Haggerty.

facebook.com/Club-Station-House

This year will be the seventh one to see a PrideFest in Springfield, celebrating the local LGBTQ+ community through food, entertainment and fun. This year there's the new addition of a parade to kick off the event, and its Grand Marshal is Angelica Sanchez - the drag queen who was the lead performer at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.

flickr / user: Benson Kua

Illinois State University in Normal kicked off a new Queer Studies concentration, under the Women & Gender Studies department, this academic year. It's a burgeoning field, one that might not be as well understood as more traditional academic areas of study.

AJWF Photography

August Francis is a photographer based in central Illinois, many of his photos come from Springfield and Decatur but he also travels for his shots. Many of his photographs come from events that involve subcultures. A project called 'Now, See Me..." combines photos and interviews in a nuanced way that depict people who are LGBT and/or Queer as well as other aspects of their personality. 

NPR Illinois

About 300 people stood on Lawrence Avenue outside of Springfield's LGBTQ community resource facility, The Phoenix Center

via flickr.com/beejjorgensen

Across the nation those in and who are allies of the LGBTQ community are mourning the loss of life in Orlando over the weekend. 

The Legacy Project

Learning about the past to change the future: it's a goal of many academic institutions. But when it comes to the LGBT community - not enough has been done to memorialize and honor figures who've been overlooked due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. That's the opinion of Victor Salvo - founder and director of The Legacy Project.

WUIS/Rachel Otwell

Marriage for same-sex couples is now the law of the land. While it took effect in Illinois in 2014, the United States Supreme Court made it available across the country earlier this year. So what's next in the push for rights in the LGBT community? That's a question I posed at a recent conference in Springfield: