Man behind LGBT recognition effort reflects on push

DECATUR, Ill. (WAND)-- One central Illinois man is making historic changes in Decatur.

Anthony Bond pushed forward a proclamation making June LGBT month in the Soy City. 

"In Decatur's nearly 200 year history, we don't have any LGBT files," Bond said. "As an LGBT person it kind of means a lot to me. I just know that it's not just about me. I'm aware I'm the one who pushed it through, but it's not about me, it's about our community."

Bond says the LGBT community has been in Decatur for some time, but are just now being accepted. 

"I've always known that Decatur's LGBT presence was here, but hasn't (been) very active. So that's what we're struggling with now," he added. "Trying to get things back going like they used to be."

Bond says he hopes these moves will provide more acceptance for the next generation.

"These moves that we're making now will give future LGBT kids the right to know that they can be here and feel comfortable with themselves and be accepted and loved (and) cherished, basically," he said. 

Bond says when he was young, being a LGBT boy was not the easiest.

"When I was young it was almost something you could get in trouble for," he said. "It was very discrete. Nobody's parents really liked it. Everything was really hush hush under the carpet, but I feel like now we're starting to emerge into ourselves. Our true selves." Bond says this is just the start to the changes he wants to see implemented.

"We're working with acceptance right now, so next we're going to work on sexual health, mental health and financial health," he said. 

That's why Anthony Bond is this week's Spirit of Central Illinois Award recipient.