Smile Politely

The Rainbow Connection: February 18–24

WHAT: Illinois House hearing and possible vote on marriage equality

WHERE: Springfield, IL

WHEN: Sometime this week (more info. to come)

Want to help? There are two very important ways to do so. You can donate to Equality Illinois and help them in their lobbying efforts. (Please don’t let the misspelling in the first sentence turn you off; it happens to the best of us.)

Our representative, Naomi Jakobsson, supports marriage equality, but a letter to her can only help as she fights for us this week. Let her know you’re on her side.

And watch minutes 2:00–2:10, to see one of the reasons why civil rights for everyone is so damn important.

MONDAY, February 18

WHAT: Quench: QLA: Queer Library Alliance

WHERE: Women’s Resources Center

WHEN: Monday, Feb. 18, 12:00–1:00 p.m.

Libraries and queer populations have been allies since before homosexuality was taken out of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). In addition to housing the first LGBT professional organization within the United States, the American Library Association has adamantly stood up to challenges of queer literature on behalf of the rights of their LGBT patrons.

On a local level, we can see a partnership between the University of Illinois’ Graduate School of Library and Information Science, the Urbana Free Library, and the Uniting Pride (UP) Center of Champaign County, where all parties involved are working to preserve our community’s queer history, while also fostering the continued growth of a healthy and vibrant future.

This talk will be presented by Lucas McKeever, Member, Task Force on Inclusion Scholar, Mix IT Up! Youth Advocacy Librarianship IMLS Grant.

WHAT: Gay & Bisexual Men’s Group

WHERE: UIUC Counseling Center

WHEN: Monday, Feb. 18, 5:10–6:40 p.m.

Co-leaders: Rene Monteagudo, Ph.D. & Mark Patishnock, MA

This process-oriented therapy group focuses on issues relevant to gay and bi men, such as coming out, developing friendships, STDs/HIV, being gay or bisexual at UIUC, deciding whether or not to be politically active, dating, online/smartphone relationships, romantic relationships, and exploration of one’s identity as a gay or bisexual man. Finally, this group is open to other topics (e.g. depression, anxiety, etc.) not related to one’s sexual orientation.


WHERE: The UP Center of Champaign County

WHEN: Monday, Feb. 18, 7:00–8:30 p.m.

Bi Mix UP is an ongoing adult support/social group for members of the community who identify as bisexual or bi-questioning. Topics include dating, navigating relationships as bisexuals, coming out, and bi-phobia.

For more information, please contact Matt.

WHAT: Pride Meeting

WHERE: Illini Union (Room 314A)

WHEN: Monday, Feb. 18, 8:00–9:00 p.m.

Pride is a student organization for GLBT and Ally students at the University of Illinois. Activities include discussions of GLBT issues, social events, speaker panels, and involvement with national events.

For more information, please contact Kyle and/or Josh.

WHAT: Nekromancy

WHERE: Chester Street Bar

WHEN: Monday, Feb. 18, 9:00 p.m.–2:00 a.m.

Every Monday, DJs SorceryKid and Hivemind, craft a continuous audio-visual mixshow of the latest and the greatest in dark alternative and underground dance music.

Doors: 9:00 p.m.
Cover: $2.00
Age: 19+


TUESDAY, February 19

The Rainbow Coffeehouse offers a welcoming, open environment for all LGBTQ and Ally communities to socialize. Whether you are here for a meeting, hanging out with friends, or to study, we invite you to join us each Tuesday at Rainbow Coffeehouse at ETC Cafe.

This week’s Rainbow Coffeehouse is hosted by Building Bridges. For more information go here.

WHAT: Mpowerment Meeting

WHERE: Green Street Center
             24 E. Green St., Suite 14

WHEN: Tuesday, Feb. 19, 6:00–9:00 p.m.

Mpowerment is a local social and HIV prevention group for young gay/bisexual men. Meetings are open to all young gay and bisexual men interested in becoming involved.

For more information, please contact Carrie Keenan.

WHAT: Man UP: Men’s Support Group

WHERE: The UP Center of Champaign County

WHEN: Tuesday, Feb. 19, 7:00–9:00 p.m.

Man UP is geared towards adult men, ages 26 and up. We meet in a peer support setting with focused discussions on topics such as the coming out process, developing friendships within the community, dating, and more.

For more information go here, or contact Kevin Bowersox-Johnson.

WHAT: Infusions

WHERE: LGBT Resource Center, Illini Union (Room 323)

WHEN: Tuesday, Feb. 19, 8:00 p.m.

Infusions: A Multicultural Gender and Sexuality Alliance is a cultural/LGBTQ organization dedicated to inclusion and diversity. Infusion focuses on the intersections of gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and race. We are open to any and all who seek to learn more about and to support these intersections of identities.

Infusions seeks to provide an inclusive space for LGBTQ people of color who may not feel welcomed within their ethnic communities due to their gender identity or sexuality.

For more information, please email.


WEDNESDAY, February 20

WHAT: Brother II Brother Meeting

WHERE: Green Street Center
             24 E. Green St., Suite 14

WHEN: Wednesday, Feb. 20, 6:00–8:00 p.m.

B II B is a social group for young men of color who have sexual or loving relationships with other men. The goal is to create a strong positive and healthy community for men of color in Champaign-Urbana.

For more information, please email Rage.

WHAT: Coming Out Support Group

WHERE: Please email for location

WHEN: Wednesday, Feb. 20, 7:00–8:00 p.m.

Coming Out Support Group is a safe, informal space for U of I students to listen, discuss, and learn about aspects of identity and coming out. It is open to all lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning students, and those who do not choose to label themselves.

This is a confidential space; we always respect your privacy.

For more information, please email.

WHAT: Trans UP

WHERE: The UP Center of Champaign County

WHEN: Wednesday, Feb. 20, 7:00–8:30 p.m.

Trans UP is a group for members of the transgender community to come together in a safe space to discuss our lives and socialize.

Topics for discussion can relate to the coming out process, transitioning, becoming comfortable with ourselves, and living as a trans person in general society, dating, and more — all while developing friendships and networking within the community.

A private changing room is available adjacent to meeting space. Privacy and confidentiality are respected and appreciated.

For more information, please email.

WHAT: Boys Night Out

WHERE: Boltini Lounge

WHEN: Wednesday, Feb. 20, 9:00 p.m.

Every Wednesday is Boys Night Out at Boltini Lounge. DJ Randall Ellison is at the decks spinning Hi-NRG, dance pop, disco house, and oldskool, gay club anthems.

WHAT: Karaoke Party!

WHERE: Emerald City Lounge

WHEN: Wednesday, Feb. 20, 9:00–11:00 p.m.

Emerald City hosts Karaoke every Wednesday. Doors open at 5:00. Order some great food, enjoy the drink specials, and at 9 p.m. join in on the fun and show everyone what you’ve got!


THURSDAY, February 21

WHAT: Parkland Pride Meeting

WHERE: Parkland Community College (Room X-150)

WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 21, Noon–12:50 p.m.

Parkland Pride is Parkland Community College’s LGBTA Student Organization that promotes social connections and campus awareness. Campus visibility and fun are our goals. Join us if you support LGBT Rights and LGBT Issues!

For more information, please contact Tanino.

WHAT: Among Women: Lesbian, Bisexual, Queer, and Questioning Support Group

WHERE: Asian American Cultural Center

WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 21, 5:00–6:00 p.m.

We are an informal support group made up of lesbian, bisexual and queer women students; a place to meet other women who share your concerns and to form or broaden your social support network; an opportunity to decrease the alienation and isolation of being a lesbian or bisexual woman in a majority heterosexual environment; and a great chance to exchange ideas, experiences, and opinions. We are open to all University of Illinois students, both graduate and undergraduate.

For more information, please contact Alexandra.

WHAT: Scary Normal Screening

WHERE: Art Theater Co-op

WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 21, 6:30 p.m. and/or 8:30 p.m.

Filmmaker Jennifer Bechtel (Leading Ladies), has hit another ball out of the park. Tickets are $7 in advance and $8 at the door. A Q & A with some cast and crew members will follow.

Profits from this screening will go to support the Urbana High School GSA, The UP Center of Champaign County, and the Champaign Centennial GSA, because Jennifer is awesome. Check out our SPlog for more information.

WHAT: Building Bridges

WHERE: LGBT Resource Center, Illini Union (Room 323)

WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 21, 7:00–8:00 p.m.

Building Bridges exists to provide an open, accepting, safe space space for people who identify as LGBTQ and Allies and are interested in discussions about Christianity.

For more information, please email.

WHAT: Open Mic Night

WHERE: Emerald City Lounge

WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 21, 8:00–11:00 p.m.

Join us for Mike Solomon‘s One Night Stand at Emerald City! Michael hosts Open Mic Night every Thursday. Stop in early for half price appetizers and drink specials until 7:00 p.m.

If you’re interested in performing on open mic night, call Emerald City at (217) 398-8661.

WHAT: Out in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (oSTEM)

WHERE: LGBT Resource Center, Illini Union (Room 323)

WHEN: Thursday, Feb. 21, 8:00 p.m.

oSTEM@Illinois is an LGBT and Ally RSO that facilitates the growth of LGBT representation in STEM fields. We provide members with the tools to advance themselves both academically and professionally in an environment that is welcoming and friendly.

For more information, please contact John.


FRIDAY, February 22

WHAT: Play It UP

WHERE: The UP Center of Champaign County

WHEN: Friday, Feb. 22, 6:00–7:00 p.m.

Play It UP is a social group for LGBTQA middle and high school youth. Play it UP is peer-led, adult-supported, and an official program of The UP Center. The facilitators of the group include two board members and the youth seat on the Board of Directors.

Youth involved in Play it UP organize monthly social events for LGBTQA youth to engage in, including movie nights, putt-putt, bowling, etc.

Information shared at Play it UP is strictly confidential, including youths’ presence at the group.

For more information, please contact Peggy.

WHAT: Blend UP

WHERE: The UP Center of Champaign County

WHEN: Friday, Feb. 22, 7:00–9:00 p.m.

Blend UP is a discussion group for same-gender loving people of color in the Urbana-Champaign community. This group is geared toward meeting the social and support needs of LGBTQ people of color in Champaign-Urbana. We welcome men, women, and transgender folks of all identities to join us.

Discussion topics include:

  • Family
  • Relationships
  • School
  • Work
  • Defining yourself

Blend UP is for young adults and adults (ages 18 and up). They are currently searching for a co-facilitator. If you are interested in this leadership opportunity, please email Tencia.

WHAT: UC:Beyond EDM Presents: technicolor

WHERE: Emerald City Lounge

WHEN: Friday, Feb. 22, 9:00 p.m.–2:00 a.m.

Local DJs present a night of deep house, tech house, and techno.

Live sets by:

  • khaldoun atassi
  • dif-eq
  • j.doya
  • aaron frye

Visuals by Kirkwood West and Supernova. Warm-up session with Supernova from 9:00-10:00 p.m.

Age: 19+
Cover: $3
Doors: 9:00 p.m.


SATURDAY, February 23

WHAT: Talent Night

WHERE: Emerald City Lounge

WHEN: Saturday, Feb. 23, 11:00 p.m.–2:00 a.m.

At the time of this publishing, I have very little information about this event. But, hey, if it’s at Emerald City, we all know by now that it’s going to be a blast, right?

  • First place: $100, plus a $100 gift certificate for a tattoo from 217 Tattoo Co.
  • Second place: $50.


SUNDAY, February 24

WHAT: Women of Pride

WHERE: LGBT Resource Center, Illini Union (Room 323)

WHEN: Sunday, Feb. 24, 6:30 p.m.

Women of Pride is a student group made for women, by women, as a safe place to gather. We informally educate the campus community of cultural, political, and other social issues related to lesbians, bisexual women, and transgender people. One of our goals is to foster a sense of community among queer women and our allies. We do this by gathering weekly for discussions, workshops, and events on or off campus.

For more information, please contact Sarah.

WHAT: Sunday Night Drag Shows

WHERE: Chester Street Bar

WHEN: Sunday, Feb. 24, 11:30 p.m.–2:00 a.m.

C-Street hosts drag shows every Sunday, with different performers every week. The first Sunday of every month is Open Talent Night, hosted by Ceduxion Carrington, so anyone who wants to sing, dance, or give drag a try can compete for a cash prize.


The UP Center is preparing for its Fourth Annual Turn It UP! Fundraiser and variety show! The event will be held on Friday, April 12, at 88 Broadway.

They are currently looking for a diverse group of performers. Performances in the past have included a wide variety of musicians, spoken word artists, comedians, and more. If you are interested in performing please email the UP Center.

Do you know an Awesome Ally? Nominate him or her for the fourth annual Awesome Ally Award! The UP Center wants your help in their search for local individuals who go above and beyond with their support for the LGBTQ community. Email nominations to this address. Winners will be announced at the Turn It UP! event.


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Disclaimer: This is not a comprehensive list of all LGBTQ events in our community. Please always feel free to email me or post other events/updates/corrections in the comments.

Except on rare occasions, all language is taken directly from event pages and websites, and only minimally edited.

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