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How Welcoming Is Downers Grove?

Community Assessment 2023

Read the Full Report (PDF)

In 2023, EQDG developed a questionnaire to explore both positive and negative experiences encountered daily by Downers Grove’s LGBTQ+ residents in response to the current hostility and marginalization experienced nationally and locally by this community. The questionnaire was completed by both allies and LGBTQ+ community members, and responses between the two groups identified comparable observations and challenges. Visible displays of symbols and merchandise celebrating diversity in local businesses and organizations were recognized and appreciated as a demonstration of inclusivity and support.

However, almost all respondents reported significant concerns about the threatening and divisive atmosphere created by hate groups and extremists, as well as the lack of decisive action steps by local government to clearly condemn hate speech, misinformation, and harassment. Respondents also reported a lack of awareness and education around diverse and marginalized populations as an impediment to acceptance.

Results indicate that by increasing visibility of the LGBTQ+ community via symbols of support, planned social/educational events, and exposure to factual information dispelling misinformation and bias, the perception of Downers Grove as a welcoming village would increase. Furthermore, a clear condemnation by local government, schools, businesses, and community organizations of hate speech and harassment would significantly increase the perception of Downers Grove as a safe, inclusive, and welcoming village for all its residents.

EQDG is proud to be a member of the Downers Grove community. It is our hope that the information and recommendations shared in this report will provide valuable guidelines for implementing changes within the village in order to ensure that our community remains a welcoming, safe, and inclusive place for all its residents.

Youth Outlook logo - Safe, Supported, Celebrated since 1998

Youth Outlook Drop-in Centers offer safe, supportive, and affirming services for LGBTQ+ youth ages 12-20 at no cost. The Downers Grove Center meets weekly and is a social setting for youth to meet other LGBTQ+ young people and talk about a variety of topics that really matter to them. EQDG fundraises to support activities at the Downers Grove Center.

EQDG is proud to have been instrumental in establishing the Downers Grove Youth Outlook Drop-in Center. We continue to support Youth Outlook as a keystone initiative. Donate to help support the Center.

The Name Change Fund

EQuality Downers Grove supports transgender and non-binary individuals. We are pleased to partner with the Transformative Justice Law Project on an initiative to help transgender individuals in Downers Grove and neighboring communities cover the costs of changing their names. This funding is to support individuals who make over the income requirements for a fee waiver through the courts but not enough to cover the costs on their own.

EQDG will help to fund court fees on a first come, first served basis. If you need help covering court fee costs, please complete this intake form through TJLP. The TJLP will help individuals complete their paperwork and determine eligibility for fee waiver or if they will need assistance through our financial fund.

LGBTQ Panel on Acceptance & Inclusion in Downers Grove

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