Chicago mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot unveiled her LGBTQ+ policy framework today, on National Coming Out Day. Lightfoot is the only LGBTQ+ candidate for mayor of Chicago and, if elected, will be the first LGBTQ+ person to hold the position. The full policy framework is available on the campaign website here.
“Like anyone else, my identity and experiences have helped shape how I see the world,” said Lightfoot. “As an out and proud black lesbian, I understand the importance of safeguarding the civil rights of the LGBTQ+ community, and I recognize that while significant progress has been made, more important work must be done.
“Although all members of the LGBTQ+ community continue to face struggles in today’s society, the challenges are especially acute for our youth, members of the trans community, and LGBTQ+ people of color. People of color experience LGBTQ+ discrimination differently than our white counterparts, and this shows up in employment, the wage gap, access to healthcare, and interactions with the government and criminal justice system. This lived awareness will inform my administration’s efforts to serve the LGBTQ+ community.”
The policy framework addresses an array of issues that are important to Chicago’s diverse LGBTQ+ community, including:
– Guaranteeing visibility and participation in city government: Lightfoot will actively recruit LGBTQ+ staff to serve in her administration, including appointing three mayoral LGBTQ+ liaisons who will work directly with communities on the South, West and North sides. Liaisons will hold regular meetings with community members and LGBTQ+ groups in their neighborhoods and coordinate with city departments including the Chicago Police Department and the Chicago Department of Public Health.
– Bolstering safety and justice for the trans community: Lightfoot will set high standards for how police officers treat members of the trans community, improve police training, institute safeguards to ensure that hate crime incidents and complaints are properly investigated, provide support for victims and witnesses of hate crimes, and create a task force to investigate the recent murders of two transwomen of color.
– Protecting and supporting LGBTQ+ youth: Lightfoot will launch anti-bullying campaigns including an LGBTQ+-inclusive curriculum in Chicago Public Schools and work to establish 24-hour drop-in centers to provide LGBTQ+ youth places to sleep, lockers to store their belongings, and access to social services.
– Promoting wellness and health: Lightfoot will ensure that the Chicago Department of Public Health partners with local institutions to complete a detailed study of healthcare outcomes for LGBTQ+ Chicagoans, ramps up efforts to effectively eliminate new HIV infections by 2027, and increases collaboration with local healthcare providers, community groups, and state and federal health agencies to maximize communication and rapid responses to new health concerns.
– Addressing the needs of LGBTQ+ seniors: Lightfoot will ensure that city staff and vendors providing services to LGBTQ+ seniors receive specialized training, conduct outreach and training at senior care facilities to ensure that facility managers and staff as well as residents understand all applicable anti-discrimination regulations, and work with community groups across Chicago to identify and create more affordable housing options for LGBTQ+ seniors.
– Ensuring LGBTQ+ veterans get a fair deal: Lightfoot will work with the Chicago Office of Veterans Affairs to provide culturally appropriate services and accurate information for LGBTQ+ veterans, including information about benefits, social support programs, legal resources, and mental health counseling. Lightfoot will also work with the legal community to assist veterans who were discharged under the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in upgrading their separation paperwork.