I have to start by saying that it was an honor to attend an event like this at this point in my life. The Justice for All: Equality Illinois 2012 Gala was an evening of libations, donations, and motivation for the LGBT and allied communities. Bringing out the most influence social and political figures in Chicago and from around the country to raise awareness and share in support of the most pertinent LBGT issues today. Some notable attendees included President Obama's senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, Secretary of State Jesse White, Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Comptroller Judy Baar Topinka, Senate President John Cullerton, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and well of course, myself.
First entering the Hilton Chicago's ballroom, the space was filled with glitz and glamour, as the entire community came out dressed to the nines. It was very exciting to see some of the best dressed of the evening werking the room. Artists, businesses, and organizations all donated to the auction making for an eclectic mix of options for attendees to bid on. While mingling with so many influential people, within the community, I was slowly gaining an understanding of what this event meant to so many of the gala-goers. More than raising money, or rallying for gay rights, this event was about celebrating the great strides in equality that had been made this past year, including the implementation of the Illinois civil union law.
It's hard for me to comprehend what this community has had to go through to get to where we are now with equality. This event made it clear to me that I am very privileged to have grown up in a much more safe and accepting world for those that identify as LBGT. It's because of the hard work of so many before my generation that I have been able to experience an equal and respecting reality for gays, and I am sincerely moved and proud of their efforts and the efforts of Equality Illinois.
The Justice for All: Equality Illinois 2012 Gala was a beautifully successful evening.
Photos by Jay Shaff for ChicagoPride.com.
View more photos from Equality Illinois' gala: Gallery One | Gallery Two