Politics & Policy

LGBTQ Center That Hosts Rubber Fetish Convention Gets Millions In Taxpayer Cash

Participants at a “Rubber Meet and Greet” at Mr. International Rubber 2014
Center also hosts sex workshops, parties.

A Chicago LGBTQ group that hosts an annual rubber fetish contest and convention has received millions in federal, state and city tax dollars.

Center on Halsted, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer community center, bills “Mr. International Rubber” as the “preeminent annual men’s rubber fetish event,” according to the event description of the 2009 contest. The winner that year received a $10,000 prize.

The center will host this year’s “Mr. International Rubber” from Oct. 31-Nov. 2.

Raunchy events such as this are common at the center.

Last August, the group hosted an “interactive” pleasure workshop titled “Awakening Your Sexual Self: Unlearning Shame + Embracing Pleasure.”

“Pleasure is your birthright,” the event description states. “It’s time to wake up and enjoy your body.”

The center’s regular events include various parties, concerts, and class offerings ranging from “Facebook for 45+” to “queer tango” lessons.

Illinois Senate Minority Whip Tim Bivins said in an interview with The Blaze that he would like to see a state audit of the group.

“An audit would let us know what they’re doing with the money,” he said. “If you’re paying to keep the lights on, even if they are just renting the building out, there are objections to be made as to how the money is spent.”

Bivins also said that many lawmakers are aware of the use of the funds, but won’t speak out “because they’re afraid of being labeled.”

“I put it into context,” Bivins said. “If this were any other not-for-profit such as United Way, Red Cross, Big Brothers, Big Sisters, etc. . . . and they rented out a building owned by them for heterosexual sex events, I am quite confident that every government body and citizen would be outraged and funding would cease immediately.”

During his time in the U.S. House and as Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel secured more than $2 million in funding for the group.

– Katherine Timpf is a reporter at National Review Online.

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