LGBTQ group feels ‘whirlwind’ of love after village website change

Support took off sharply last week for Lighthouse, the south suburban area’s first support program for LGBTQ young people and their parents, following a momentous post on the organization’s Facebook page.

Stephanie Wright, one of the organizers of the Flossmoor-based organization, said Friday that “the last 24 hours have been a complete ‘love’ whirlwind for us at Lighthouse.”

Lighthouse is planning a June 21 Pride celebration and Wright originally believed it would be a relatively modest event. The celebration will take place from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Community House, 847 Hutchison Road, Flossmoor.

That all changed on Wednesday, when Flossmoor added “LGBTQ” to its list of community services on the village website.

Wright called that website addition “phenomenal” and said it shows Flossmoor not only recognizes Lighthouse as an organization, but also the importance of its mission.

She shared the news about Flossmoor’s action on Lighthouse’s Facebook page. Within four hours, there were 3,941 responses to the post, nearly all of them overwhelmingly positive. And Lighthouse also heard from people who wanted to help out at the June 21 event. 

“The next 24 hours we were pleasantly surprised by the growing list of community members who immediately reached out and wanted to pitch in,” Wright said.

John Flynn, a real estate associate with Baird and Warner, offered to sponsor the hot dog station at the Pride celebration. Jim Groves from Tito’s Handmade Vodka reached out to offer vodka for a Pride punch. Alan Cromwell of Blue Island Beer Company posted a Facebook offer of craft beer for the event. Meg Shaklee of Panda Baby Cookies in Homewood emailed to offer some of her sugar cookies. The Diversity and Inclusion Council at Advocate South Suburban Hospital emailed Lighthouse and indicated its members would be promoting the event and want to collaborate in the future.

“What started out as a tiny event to celebrate Pride month has turned into the event in Flossmoor that can’t be missed,” Wright said.

Wright thanked Flossmoor Mayor Paul Braun and village staff for their role in the week’s events. She also expressed gratitude to Flossmoor Community Church, which provides a meeting space to Lighthouse, and financial support.

 “We are beyond touched by everyone’s response and the community members who jumped in with both feet to help,” Wright said. “It makes us feel hopeful that we are on the right path for truly embracing the rich diversity Flossmoor has to offer.”

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