Lighthouse Pride 2019_8_web
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With Pride events canceled, Lighthouse is supporting LGBTQ groups in need

Lighthouse co-founder Stephanie Wright speaks during the 2019 Lighthouse Pride Party in Homewood. The party has been canceled this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Lighthouse officials are encouraging people to provide financial support for organizations that serve the LGBTQ community. (Chronicle file photo)


Lighthouse LGBTQ aims to support black and transgender non-profit organizations through its spotlight series, in hopes of raising money and awareness. 

June is being observed as Pride Month in Homewood and Flossmoor with the flying of rainbow flags. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, in-person events — including Lighthouse’s fourth annual Pride Party — have been canceled.

Lighthouse is not hosting any remote or virtual Pride Month celebrations. But the organization is dedicating each day this week to Trans Lifeline, Trans Justice Funding Project, Transgender Law Center, LGBTQ Freedom Fund and Black AIDS Institute — all organizations that provide services to many members of the LGBTQ community. To help support them, Lighthouse encourages its supporters to offer donations and will match donations up to $500 for each of the highlighted organizations.

Lighthouse co-founder Stephanie Wright speaks during the 2019 Lighthouse Pride Party in Homewood. (Chronicle file photo)

Those interested in donating can message Lighthouse a screenshot of their contribution on its social media platform or email [email protected]

Lighthouse co-founder Jimmy Austin said this move is needed due to recent events. 

“We’re seeing a very high rate of violence against and legislation designed to harm these communities and we need to focus our attention toward these causes,” Austin said. “We need to educate ourselves about the injustices happening against members of our community as we cannot find true justice unless we center those held at the margins.”

In 2016, the Obama administration implemented a rule that prohibited sex discrimination in covered heath programs or activities, defining “sex” so as to include gender identity, or “one’s internal sense of gender.” On June 12, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services finalized a rule that redefines sex to mean male or female and determined by biology. Critics say this change will allow healthcare systems to legally discriminate against the transgender community. 

“I was extremely disappointed to hear about this change in healthcare protections for the transgender community during the middle of a global pandemic,” Austin said. “This should be obvious to all, but discrimination of any kind is wrong, and transgender people deserve the equal protection under the law.”

Lighthouse started in in the H-F area in 2016 as the first organization in the South Suburbs that provides services for LGBTQ teens. 

The organization’s first two Pride Parties, in 2017 and 2018, drew large crowds to the Flossmoor Community House. Last year’s event moved to Martin Avenue in downtown Homewood and included bands and a number of food and drink vendors.

Lighthouse supporters can follow the organization on social media and visit its website to find more information about LGBTQ resources.

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