LGBTQ+ Support Organizations
Affinity was born out of the desire of out Black lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals to bring visibility to the south side of Chicago.
For 35 years, AIDS Foundation Chicago (AFC) has led the fight to create health equity and justice for people living with and disproportionately impacted by HIV and AIDS. Providing case management, advocacy and housing services.
On June 5, 1988, a small group of gay and lesbian Catholics celebrated their first mass as a newly organized ministry of the Archdiocese of Chicago, especially created to reach out to Chicago’s LGBT community. The new ministry was named the Archdiocesan Gay and Lesbian Outreach of Chicago, and its acronym – AGLO – was no coincidence. For over 25 years, AGLOChicago has labored to reflect the light of Christ’s love, offering its dazzling promise to people long forced to live in shadows, not wholly unlike the first Christians.
Center on Halsted is the Midwest’s most comprehensive community center dedicated to advancing community and securing the health and well-being of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) people of Chicagoland. More than 1,000 community members visit the Center every day, located in the heart of Chicago’s Lakeview Neighborhood.
Howard Brown exists to eliminate the disparities in healthcare experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people through research, education and the provision of services that promote health and wellness. It is now one of the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) organizations serving more than 40,000 adults and youth in its diverse health and social service delivery system focused around seven major programmatic divisions: primary medical care, behavioral health, research, HIV/STI prevention, youth services, elder services, and community initiatives.
Howard Brown serves men, women, trans and gender non-conforming folks, infants, youth, and children through a multi-site operation based in Chicago. This includes a main health and research center in the Uptown neighborhood, Howard Brown Health Sheridan, Howard Brown Health Halsted in Lakeview, Howard Brown Health Clark in Rogers Park, Howard Brown Health 63rd Street in Englewood, Howard Brown Health 55th Street in Hyde Park, Howard Brown Health at Thresholds South in Back of the Yards, Howard Brown Health at La Casa Norte in Humboldt Park, the Broadway Youth Center, and three Brown Elephant resale shops in Chicago (Lakeview and Andersonville neighborhoods) and Oak Park.
Broadway Youth Center is a program of Howard Brown Health Center and [its] community partners, offering comprehensive services to youth, ages 12-24 including a safe space for young people experiencing homelessness. The mission of BYC is to make life healthier and happier for young people (12-24) who are transgender, queer, lesbian, bisexual, gay, and especially young people who do not have stable housing. BYC sees anyone, regardless of ability to pay. BYC provides basic needs assistance, resource advocacy, mental wellness supports, and education/vocational services. We consider ourselves a one-stop shop and try to meet as many needs as possible for the people that we serve.
Through its basic needs program, the BYC offers homeless youth a safe place to access basic needs, such as food, hygiene supplies, clothing, laundry, and showers. In addition to drop-in services, youth are also able to access a full range of free services and programs ranging from HIV/STI testing and treatment, acute health care services, GED classes, case management, counseling services and social and support groups. We are serving people from three locations. Please call 773.299.7600 for more information.
Brave Space Alliance is the first Black-led, trans-led LGBTQ+ Center located on the South Side of Chicago, dedicated to creating and providing affirming, culturally competent, for-us by-us resources, programming, and services for LGBTQ+ individuals on the South and West sides of the city. We strive to empower, embolden, and educate each other through mutual aid, knowledge-sharing, and the creation of community-sourced resources as we build toward the liberation of all oppressed peoples.
Chicago House empowers persons living with or vulnerable to HIV/AIDS to lead healthy and dignified lives through housing and compassionate, client-centered support services. Annually, we serve more than 2,000 individuals in Chicago across four mission-critical pillars of housing, health, employment support, and the TransLife Care program. In January 2020. Chicago House provides permanent, community-based housing, supportive services, and prevention outreach to individuals and families struggling with HIV and AIDS. Many come to [Chicago House] with the added burdens of poverty, homelessness, substance abuse, and mental illness, as well as the need for job skills and training. Chicago House’s innovative programs are designed to meet the unique needs of these individuals and families including many in the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community as well as minority communities who struggle with health and income disparities.
Founded in 1973, Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest national legal organization whose mission is to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and everyone living with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work. As a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, we do not charge our clients for legal representation or advocacy, and we receive no government funding.
We select cases that will have the greatest impact in protecting and advancing the rights of LGBT people and those with HIV. Education: We lead high-impact public education campaigns to help people exercise the rights they have and to build public support for equality. Public Policy: We advocate for public policy at the local, state and federal levels to improve the lives of LGBT people, people affected by HIV, and their families and allies.
To promote economic opportunities for the LGBT community by being an advocate and resource for all member businesses that encourage equality. Champion LGBT Business Interests to State and City Government. The Chamber functions as a support system that empowers the LGBT community, both socially and economically.
The Night Ministry’s overnight youth shelter, The Crib, first opened in January 2011 as a 4-month pilot program funded by the City of Chicago…The Crib has grown substantially in its first two seasons, but continues to be an emergency overnight space for young people ages 18-24 to get a hot meal, sleep, do yoga, dance, rest, and be safe. The space is welcoming to people of all genders and sexual orientations and is recognized for its LGBTQ-competent services. The Crib is open seven nights a week from 9 p.m. until 9 a.m. and can accommodate 20 youth. The Crib is an important addition to Chicago’s efforts to care for youth who are on the streets, because there are only about 230 other shelter beds for youth in Chicago, while an estimated 2,000 young people experience homelessness every night. There are at least two staff members awake and on duty at all times. Staff also provide the youth with links to daytime supportive services. The Night Ministry compassionately provides housing, health care, outreach, spiritual care, and social services to adults and youth who struggle with homelessness, poverty, and loneliness. We accept individuals as they are and offer support as they seek to improve their lives.
Project Fierce Chicago seeks to create affirming transitional housing for LGTBQIA+ youth in Chicago that is responsive to the needs of young people. By mobilizing our communities, we provide pathways to independence. We envision a future where all youth have access to safe and affirming housing and the support and opportunities to achieve their goals. We believe in the power of collective action and community accountability. When youth thrive, communities thrive.
As a client-centered organization, we focus on meeting the needs of our clients as a priority over broad policy or reform work. We build long-term relationships and investments in our clients and meet them where they are at with flexibility in our structure and priorities. Throughout our work, we center our values on care-based principles that work to dismantle the oppressive structures of the state. These values can be summed up into three different commitments that guide every aspect of our work: prison abolition, gender self-determination, and transformative justice.
Prison abolition is a movement to create lasting alternatives to punishment-based institutions such as prisons, jails, juvenile, immigrant, and military detention centers to actualize community safety. Instead of consenting to this false and fear-based need for prisons, we as abolitionists invest our energy in community empowerment, community-led education, radical activism, transformative justice, and liberation as necessary alternatives to the prison system and as methods to make prisons obsolete.
We prioritize the needs of transgender people because we believe that transphobia is inherent in almost all legal and social services available in the Chicago area and throughout Illinois, especially the criminal legal system itself. Gender self-determination necessarily includes access to and control over healthcare, holistic mental and emotional support, fashion and self-expression, gender-affirming housing, education, bathrooms, and social services, freedom from violence, harassment, and incarceration, and all the tools we need to be fabulous, empowered and safe in how we live in our genders.
Through community-based movements, transformative justice seeks to resist state- run responses to violence (such as the police state and systems of punishment, detention, and incarceration) and instead promotes support, compassion, dialogue and community building. In this way, reliance on violent and oppressive State level systems is transformed and replaced with community empowerment.
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