Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is one of two Republicans who will attend a transgender activist group's largest annual fundraiser. | Equality Illinois
Gov. Bruce Rauner and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel recently headlined a Chicago fundraiser for an Illinois-based LGBTQ activist group.
Equality Illinois' 2018 gala was expected to attract almost 1,500 people to the Hilton Chicago hotel, according to a press release from the group. The event is "annually the Midwest's largest LGBTQ formal celebration," the group said.
LGBTQ is an acronym that stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning and/or queer.
Equality Illinois had sought for state law to allow individuals to choose for themselves whether they are male or female.
Rauner is a longtime supporter of the group.
He signed the group's crowning achievement into law last year, a measure that allows Illinoisans to change the sex on their birth certificates.
Equality Illinois also won Rauner's support of a measure that would "build LGBTQ representation on state boards and commissions," according to the group's release, and led opposition to a bill that would prevent transgender boys from using girls bathrooms in Illinois public schools.
The group was also an active supporter of HB 40, which expands Illinois taxpayer funding for abortion in certain instances. Rauner signed the bill into law last year.
Planned Parenthood of Illinois, an abortion provider in the state, was honored by Equality Illinois at the event, as was Rauner, Emanuel and Jaron Bloshinsky, a teenage transgender activist and reality TV star from Florida who goes by the name Jazz Jennings, according to the release.
Along with Lake County Board Chairman Aaron Lawlor, who is openly gay, Rauner was one of two Republicans attending the celebration.
Rauner and Lawlor joined dozens of Democrats, including Emanuel; Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle; Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios; State Senate President John Cullerton of Chicago; and former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn, who is now running for Illinois attorney general.
Rauner and his wife, Diana, were listed as platinum sponsors -- the highest sponsorship level -- of the gala.
Other platinum sponsors included GCM Grosvenor, the public pension asset manager run by Chicago powerbroker Michael Sacks; Breakthru Beverage Illinois, formerly known as Wirtz Beverage, the state's oldest liquor distributor; and Sidetrack, a tavern at 3349 N. Halsted St. in Chicago.