We celebrate LGBTQ+ Pride Month each year in June because that is the month when the 1969 Stonewall Uprising occurred in Manhattan. We are pleased to celebrate this annual promotion of LGBTQ+ pride—which was advanced to counter the concepts of shame and social stigma—because it logically aligns with our discussion of CJE’s increased emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Throughout this article, we’ll use the acronym LBGTQ+ that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, and “plus,” which represents other sexual identities.
“At CJE, we intentionally welcome all who are confronting issues pertaining to aging as well as the intersectional identities that impact them. We are committing to the continual removal of all barriers to service and understanding.”
—Lisa Andrews, LCSW
CJE Counseling Services, and CJE representative
on the Chicago Network on LGBT Aging
and the Keshet Leadership Project.
CJE has always served people from all faiths and diverse backgrounds, and we pride ourselves on being welcoming and inclusive to everybody who calls, emails, or “comes to our door.” We have long been an advocate for LGBTQ+ individuals in the community and have worked to promote equity and inclusion across the care spectrum. LGBTQ+ individuals deal with the same issues anyone does when choosing aging services, such as where to live as they age; how to meet rising housing, health care and medication costs; and how to stay connected to community, family, and friends. A recent review of research concluded that finding adequate healthcare can be particularly challenging for LGBTQ+ older adults and that many “received inferior, neglectful health care or have been denied health care altogether” (LGBT Aging: A Review of Research Findings, Needs, and Policy Implications, 2016) lgbtagingcenter.org.
CJE is very proactive about diversity and inclusion and educates staff to make sure they are welcoming to LGBTQ+ persons. CJE was a founding member of the Chicago Task Force on the LGBT Aging (now the Chicago Network on LGBT Aging) and has held many trainings and presentations on LGBTQ+ issues. Also, multiple members of the CJE Counseling Services department, along with other CJE staff, are part of the Keshet Leadership Project, a national Jewish LGBTQ+ organization that partners with leaders of national and local Jewish organizations to promote sustainable LGBTQ+ inclusion efforts across the agency. CJE also spearheaded an initiative within our independent housing buildings to heighten awareness and provide education to residents on LGBTQ+ and aging issues. This commitment is reflected in our employment practices as well; we were early to take the lead in offering equal benefits, such as health insurance and other benefits, to all couples.
If you are an LGBTQ+ individual and thinking about accessing any of our array of services, our professionals are highly sensitive to and experienced with LGBTQ+ older adults’ issues. Contact CJE SeniorLife at 773.508.1000 or visit www.cje.net for more information.
Pride Month FAQs
What’s important to observe? We take the time to recognize and celebrate those who paved the way for the LGBTQ+ movement and who continue to do work for it. We also reflect on the history of the LGBTQ+ movement, looking at what’s been done and what still needs to be done.
How do I get involved? Some may prefer to attend events virtually. If attending in-person, be sure to respect social distancing and other safety guidelines. There are many, many opportunities, and here are a just few:
- Use the hashtag #PrideMonth to share relevant posts on social media.
- Take part in a Pride parade or attend seminars, advocacy events, workshops, celebrations, and concerts.
Local Pride Events. These were scheduled as of printing but be sure to confirm.
- Chicago PrideFest—June 19 & 20, 11 am–10 pm, at Halsted St. and Waveland Ave. in Chicago.
- Pride in the Park—June 26, 3–10 pm, at Grant Park, 337 E. Randolph, Chicago.Pride Parade—Traditionally last Sunday of June with Noon kickoff at Montrose Ave and Broadway (may be rescheduled to later date)
- Equality Illinois Virtual LGBTQ+ Advocacy Day—May 12, 8 am–2 pm.
LGBTQ+ Resources. Tap into the many libraries, museums, and displays devoted to LGBT+ individuals, issues, and history.
- Library of Congress Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Pride.
- Gerber/Hart Library and Archives, Chicago.
- Legacy Walk, Chicago.