In case you needed any more reason to visit the #amazingforall state 🇺🇸
BY DANIELLE MUSTARDE/ILLINOIS. PHOTO: NETFLIX
There’s lots to think about when planning a trip away. What time of the year should you go, how long for, and just how many famous queer folk come from there… (Just me?)
We’ve been working with the folks over in Illinois for a little while now, so you’re probably no stranger to the fact that it has a reputation for being one of the most LGBTQI-friendly states in that there United States Of America.
But did you know Illinois is also home to some of our most favourite lez/bi and queer legends? *Adds celeb spotting to Illinois holiday checklist*
Without further ado, (to quote Queer Eye-come-Illinois legend Mrs Dooley) here’s your introduction to Illinois’ crème-de-lez-crème…
Yes, Jennifer Beals, aka the power suit kween Bette Porter, hails from Chicago. Fun fact! Apparently, her first job was at one of Illinois’ famous ice cream stores at the age of 13. In other news, how excited are we all to see more of JB in the new series of The L Word: Generation Q? (Very. We’re very excited). Perhaps Illinois should create an ice cream flavour dedicated to Bette Porter in celebration? Ideas on the back of a postcard please.
Best known for her role as Glee’s straight-talking Sue Sylvester, the wonderful comic and actor Jane Lynch, also came to be in Illinois. A Dolton native, Lynch also spent 15 years living in improv comedy capital Chicago where she was one of only a couple of female members of the The Second City comedy troupe, and went onto the world famous Annoyance Theatre. #popquizgold
Ah, lovely Lea. Not only has she graced the cover of DIVA magazine, she’ll forever live on in our hearts as OITNB’s Big Boo. Born in Belleville, Illinois, her stand up career took off after a move to San Francisco in the 1980s and she’s also credited with being the first openly gay comedian to appear on a late-night talk show. Bravo you butch queen, you.
Another Chicago native, Waithe knew from a young age that she wanted to be a television writer, though she’s probably best known for her part as Denise in Netflix series Master Of None. In 2017, she became the first Black American woman to win an Emmy for Outstanding Writing for a comedy series and dedicated part of her acceptance speech to the LGBTQI community: “The things that make us different – those are our superpowers.” Give this woman a statue, already.
Jonathan Van Ness
Oh, Jonathan Van Ness, you beautiful, silk-haired soul. If you haven’t seen the most recent series of Queer Eye where JVN, who recently came out as non-binary, goes back to their hometown of Quincy, Illinois to give the sweet, sweet angel that is Mrs Dooley (aka Jonathan’s old teacher) a makeover, then what have you been doing? That high school has the hottest teacher’s lounge in Illinois thanks to the Fab Five, no doubt about it.
Denise, you get a bonus mention solely for being Phoebe’s one-time crush in The One With Ross And Monica’s Cousin. (It’s a cult moment, okay?)
Want more on LGBTQI Illinois? Visit enjoyillinois.co.uk/amazingforall