Skip to content

How to support trans rights in Chicago

By Sidney Madden | @sidney_madden_


Two recent deaths of transgender Black women in Chicago and anti-trans legislation across the country have brought trans rights into the spotlight. 

The body of Tatiana “Tee Tee” Whetstone was found in a garbage bin in East Chatham last week days after the body of Elise Malary was found on the Evanston lakefront. National data from the Human Rights Campaign shows: 

Fliers of a missing Black woman
Fliers for Elise Malary in Rogers Park March 17. (Erin Hooley/Chicago Tribune/Getty Images)

Advocates held a rally downtown Monday to commemorate the lives of the two women when a separate group of activists interrupted the event to draw attention to violence facing the larger Black community in the city, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. 

“We’re all here for the same fight,” said trans advocate Zahara Bassett before deciding to reschedule the rally.

Trans rights have been under attack nationally ahead of the midterms. 

This week: Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill prohibiting gender identity or sexual orientation instruction for kindergarten through third grade, which Gov. JB Pritzker condemned, Politico Illinois reported.

Last week: The Utah Legislature passed a bill banning young trans women from playing on sports teams that align with their gender, City Cast Salt Lake reported.

Last month: Texas Gov. Greg Abbott directed the state’s child welfare agency to investigate sex change procedures and treatments as child abuse, according to City Cast Houston.

Local advocates and allies are coming together to bring attention to the Chicago trans community for International Trans Day of Visibility Thursday. Here’s how you can join them.

💵 Donate to trans orgs in the city. 
✊ Attend a rally downtown Thursday from 3–4:30 p.m.
✨ Head to a trans visibility pageant in Austin Thursday from 7–10:30 p.m.


Chicago, are you worried about our democracy in America? If you read the City Cast newsletter, then you’re most likely a very engaged citizen. Democracy is in danger and needs your help now more than ever. 

That’s why The Democracy Group has created a community and network of 16 podcasts united around the goal of helping listeners understand what’s broken in our democracy, and how people are working together to fix it.

Subscribe to their newsletter for podcast recommendations, deep dives, and information about how to become an engaged citizen in saving our democracy.


▪️ Self-made millionaire and gas benefactor Willie Wilson said he’ll decide if he’s running for mayor next month. [Chicago Tribune]

▪️ Brown Sugar Bakery faces $20,000 in damages after a car crashed into the Chatham store over the weekend. Owner Stephanie Hart said no one was hurt and that insurance would cover the repairs. Support the bakery, and treat yourself to a caramel cupcake! [Block Club Chicago]

▪️ Summertime Chi is almost here, and we want to know your fav music fest in the city. Vote in the semifinals of our bracket 🗳️

▪️ See a TV pilot made by Chicago Academy for the Arts students at the Music Box Theatre in Lakeview! [Chicago Reader]

▪️ More TikTok–famous Korean corn dogs are in the city: Kong Dog opened a location in Chinatown this month. [NBC Chicago]

A multi-colored banner reading, "The future is a community project: How do you envision justice?" with the url to the Illinois Humanities' new virtual exhibit.

Envisioning Justice RE:ACTION, a virtual Illinois Humanities exhibit and activation kit that uses the arts and humanities to imagine a future without mass incarceration, is now open. The virtual exhibit features work by artists, humanists, journalists, filmmakers, poets, musicians, educators, and activists — many of whom are formerly or currently incarcerated.

The free opening reception is April 6.

Pic 1: A white man in a green suit. Pic 2: A white man in a read shirt and black vest onstage.
Chris Perfetti at the “Abbott Elementary” premiere in Burbank, California, Dec. 4, and later onstage in Chicago. (Images by Michael Tran/Getty and Michael Brosilow/Steppenwolf)

Actor Chris Perfetti wasn’t a big basketball fan growing up. But he was a big Steppenwolf Theatre fan.

So when he got the chance to star in the world premiere of “King James” at the famous Lincoln Park theater, he took it. The play is about LeBron James and basketball, but also about friendship and the way sports help forge bonds. 

Perfetti is also the lovable Jacob in the hit ABC sitcom “Abbott Elementary.” 

🎧 Listen to Perfetti tell us about working on the play and the show.

👉 Get tickets to “King James” through April 10. Watch “Abbott Elementary” on ABC Tuesdays at 8 p.m.


Another Chicagoan to know this Women’s History Month? Margaret Hie Ding Lin. 

As one of the first Chinese physicians in the city, Lin returned to Chicago where she attended medical school and worked at the University of Illinois Medical Center, the Illinois Department of Public Health Welfare, and the Cook County Tuberculosis Hospital. 

She was integral to bringing medical services to Chinatown residents, treating them on the weekends. 

Residents nominated her to the Chicago Senior Hall of Fame in 1964. And today, there is a park near Chinatown named after her!

You could win a $100 Visa gift card if you fill out our survey!