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First Federally Approved Monument For LGBT Veterans To Be Dedicated In Illinois: VIDEO


The first federally approved monument honoring LGBT veterans will be dedicated later this month at the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery in Elwood, Illinois, reports the Windy City Times.

Spearheaded by Stanley J. Jenczyk, a junior board member of the Chicago chapter of the American Veterans for Equal Rights (AVER), the monument was approved late last year by the Department of Veterans Affairs Acting Undersecretary of Memorial Affairs.

Abraham-lincoln-national-cemetery-10307Jenczyk said:

“I've waited for four long years to see this monument for LGBT veterans come to fruition. This ceremony will be a fulfillment of America's promise of honoring all who have served in every branch of the military."

Chicago-AVER Vice President and Secretary James Darby added:

"This is the first monument for LGBT veterans created by LGBT veterans that will be dedicated at any cemetery in the National Veteran's Cemetery System. I never believed anything like this could've happened because we've been discriminated against for so long in many areas of life including the military with the now-defunct Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. This ceremony is going to be an incredibly emotional experience for all of us."

The monument will be inscribed with the words, "Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people have served honorably and admirably in America's armed forces. In their memory and appreciation of their selfless service and sacrifice, this monument was dedicated by Chicago Chapter American Veterans for Equal Rights 'AVER' (…with liberty and justice for all )."

The ceremony will take place at 2 pm on May 25th.

Watch a clip of the AVER Chicago 2014 annual Veterans Day Dinner, AFTER THE JUMP...

Last year, the design was revealed for a memorial to gay veterans in Congressional Cemetery's 'gay corner' on Capitol Hill.

Openly transgender individuals continue to be banned from serving in the military

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Illinois Driver Has Close Encounter with Massive Tornado: VIDEO


An Illinois driver had a terrifying encounter with the EF4 tornado that swept through northern Illinois this week. According to the YouTube clip, the driver was on his way to Indianapolis when he came upon the storm, which was headed directly toward him too quickly for him to evade it.

Watch as the storm bears down on him and passes way too close for comfort,

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Illinois Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Ban Harmful Gay 'Conversion Therapy' for Minors

LGBT advocates in Illinois today announced plans to launch an initiative intended to facilitate passage of a bill introduced on Friday in the General Assembly which would ban gay "conversion therapy" for minors, Equality Illinois reports:

CassidyState Rep. Kelly Cassidy (pictured) of Chicago introduced the bill on Friday. House Bill 217, the Conversion Therapy Prohibition Act, would make it illegal for mental health care providers to engage in sexual orientation change efforts with anyone under the age of 18. A Senate version will be introduced soon, sponsored by Sen. Daniel Biss of Evanston.

“Illinois should be at the forefront of banning this failed and discredited non-therapy that attempts to change the unchangeable, our innate sexual orientation and gender identity,” said Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, the state’s oldest and largest civil rights organization advocating for LGBT Illinoisans.

“It is tragic,” said Rep. Cassidy, “that LGBT youth suffer at the hands of so-called experts whose therapies have been refuted by every legitimate medical and mental health organization. That is why my bill would label the therapy as ‘unprofessional conduct’ and subject the perpetrator to disciplinary action.”

Bans on so-called "conversion therapy" have been passed in D.C., New Jersey, and California. An effort to pass one in New York state failed last June after GOP leaders blocked the bill from coming to the floor for a vote.

Illinois Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner Appoints Anti-Gay Pastor James Meeks To State Education Board


Anti-gay Illinois Republican Governor-elect Bruce Rauner has appointed religious leader and homophobic former Democratic senator James Meeks (right) to head of the state Board of Education, reports the Chicago Tribune.

MeeksMeeks, pastor of Salem Baptist Church in Chicago, endorsed Rauner for governor and backs the increased use of charter schools and vouchers as alternatives to traditional public education.

While Rauner has claimed that he had no social agenda, Meeks has been an active opponent of same-sex marriage in Illinois.

Last year, Equality Illinois, along with associated community members and elected officials, unveiled a giant banner Rauner, showcasing a 2013 statement that he would have vetoed the state’s new marriage equality bill had it come to his desk as governor.

In 2008, it was revealed that Barack Obama often sought out Meeks for "spiritual counsel."

Illinois Obamacare Ad Features Married Gay Couple: VIDEO

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An ad for features a married gay couple, Jake and Allen, talking about the benefits of signing up for affordable coverage.

Watch the 30-second spot where the duo explains how they got covered and its benefits for both of them as a married couple, AFTER THE JUMP...


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Mika Brzezinski Loses It On Air After Learning What A 'Furry Convention' Is: VIDEO

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MSNBC host Mika Brzezinski struggled to get through her on-air coverage on the Chlorine gas leak that hospitalized 19 "furries" who attended the annual Midwest FurFest Convention, after learning what furries are from her co-hosts. The host was left quite speechless after seeing one of the participants dressed in a tiger suit and wearing what appears to be a wedding dress outside of the building that was evacuated. The furry subculture involves interests in furry, anthropomorphic animal characters with human personalities and characteristics; some of its members include people from the LGBT community as well. Watch Brzezinski's incredulous reaction to the subculture and their "fursuits," AFTER THE JUMP...

In more serious news, Rosemont Police said the release of the chemical was intentional. Most of the 19 that were hospitalized complained of dizziness, nausea and breathing problems, but it's believed no serious injuries occurred. Eighteen of those hospitalized have already been released from care. Rosemont Police have yet to find a suspect involved with the chemical leak.

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