Kevin Romero, left, and his husband, Philip Maziarz, hold their dogs Parker and Wickett outside the home they're renovating in Uptown on April 15, 2023, in Chicago. (Shanna Madison / Chicago Tribune)

LGBTQ Residents Moving to Illinois from States with Conservative Agendas: ‘I don’t want to be ashamed of where I live’

Mark Niehaus-Rincon, 67, has lived in Omaha, Nebraska, for 12 years but says “life is too short” to stay there.

He and his husband, Alex, a native of Omaha, have faced the silent treatment from others at their gym for 10 years. They’ve also dealt with uncomfortable and hostile workplace environments and homophobic slurs.

That treatment, combined with Nebraska’s current legislative agenda — which includes restricting women’s access to reproductive health care and limiting the rights of the LGBTQ community — helped push Niehaus-Rincon and his husband to relocate to Chicago. He said they are done compromising and hiding their true identities.