Join us for our Private Event
Tuesday, April 14th
Dry City Brew Works
120 N Main Street, Wheaton, IL
Doors Open at 6 pm
Speakers – For April 14th
Anna Voinovich is a commissioned Elder in the Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church and currently serves as the Associate Pastor with Downers Grove First United Methodist Church. They are passionate about the intersections of faith and justice, journeying with people as they navigate ordinary and extraordinary moments of life and glitter. This year Anna has had the opportunity to share a story with OutSpoken and to write for enfleshed, (a spiritual and theological resource centering the experiences of marginalized communities). They are also a proud trustee of Garrett-Evangelical Seminary and most importantly, the parent of two cats: Emi and Ari. When Anna’s not working, they enjoy reading, exploring local parks, and finding the best ice cream shops around.
Being queer and Christian (and clergy!) has its interesting moments. In seminary, no one teaches you how to come out to a congregation. In this story, you’ll hear a sweet and silly story of Anna’s experience with one faith community.
John has worked for nearly 40 years in corporate America as a CPA in public accounting and nonprofits. After a life long struggle with his sexual orientation, denying for decades who he knew he was in his heart, he finally found himself on a journey of acceptance, building a new life as a gay man, while coping with guilt and pain caused to those he loved.
As with so many, the first half of the story can be summed up with words like denial, inner struggle, and painful soul searching. After a decade of learning to accept himself for who he is, there is now great joy found in a new family dynamic filled with love, support, and respect.
Dan Keil is a proud gay genderqueer Christian who spent far too much of his life in the closet. He is one of the Moderators at Hope United Church of Christ in Naperville. His favorite hobbies are bowling and competitive walking.
His story describes his faith journey. A happy childhood, followed by a troubled adolescence moving into a mixed bag of attempting to be an adult. Finally, in desperation, he stepped out of a self-imposed closet and found happiness in the most unexpected places.
Originally an Arizona native Jacob moved to Chicago 5 years ago because “you do stupid things for love.” Jacob moved to Chicago for not only the love of his life at the time but also for what he thought was his dream job. Everything was going great, sure there were the ups and downs, but for the most part, everything was going according to plan. That was until a year after Jacob had moved here and everything started falling apart at the seams. He lost his love, lost his job, lost his best friend, and found himself homeless. Jacob lived in his car and on friends couches for two years as he struggled to find the best situation for himself. Being a gay man in his mid-twenties, Jacob had always been told: “it gets better; it gets better.”Naturally, Jacob repeated this mantra every single day as he entered his dead-end job, slept in his car, and just skirted by life. That was until one day when Jacob had an epiphany, he noticed the asterisk; It gets better* *terms and conditions apply. Find out what these terms and conditions are and how Jacob used these three natural conditions in his life. Now almost three years later, Jacob has his own place, is working a job he loves and is giving back to the LGBTQ+ community with OUTspoken Leaders. He started a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving and empowering all LGBTQ+ youth, young adults, and future leaders. Join Jacob and Outwords as we discover together that It Gets Better*
OUTspoken Illinois is a not for profit organization dedicated to serving Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning, and All other (LGBTQ+) future leaders. From weekly discussion and support groups to fun, social networking events, we create a safe space for young adults of all socio-economic and cultural backgrounds.
Linda has worked for 14 years as a teaching assistant for special needs students at a local elementary school. After experiencing an unexpected and personally devastating life change, she found herself on a journey she could never have foreseen thanks to a chance visit to a local PFLAG chapter meeting.
Her story can best be described as a journey of understanding, healing, forgiveness, love, and giving back.
Jameson (Jamie) Pagano is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and is the owner of Transmogrify Counseling Services LLC in Bolingbrook, IL. He currently resides in Bolingbrook with his 8-year-old son and 5-year-old twins (also known as the twinados). Jameson holds a Bachelors Degree in Biblical Literature and Psychology. He earned his Master of Arts in Forensic Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. He has been working in the field of mental health services for 23 years and has been a therapist for the last 14 years. Jameson specializes in working with LGBTQIA+ adolescents, young adults, and adults. His primary focus is working those who identify as trans (or are questioning their gender identity) and their families. He has worked diligently to provide a safe space for the community by facilitating free or low-cost groups, as well as volunteering with multiple organizations within his community. As someone who openly identifies as transgender, Jameson values the importance of transparency. He makes an effort to be visible whenever possible, for those who are unable to be. Susan has lived in Wheaton for 25 years.