Illinois Governor Signs Executive Order to Protect Trans Kids

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker celebrated Chicago Pride by vowing to affirm and include trans and gender nonconforming youth in public schools statewide.

As USA Today reports, Pritzker, backed by newly elected out Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, signed a new executive order on Sunday, June 30, the same day as Chicago’s annual Pride parade.

The order calls for the creation of a statewide task force of 25 appointees to study how Illinois schools are creating “welcoming” environments for students of all gender identities and expressions. It also includes a call to action for the Illinois Board of Education, which now must lead the charge for LGBTQ equality in public schools and make informational resources widely available to all students, educators, and school community members.

“We’re taking one more step toward securing Illinois’ place as a leader in equality and hope,” Pritzker tweeted on June 30. “Under this executive order, ignorance is no longer an excuse for bigotry.”

Lightfoot, too, sang the praises of education as a tool to defeat prejudice and prevent discrimination.

“Ending the intolerable levels of discrimination and violence against our transgender community starts here—in our schools—by making the values of tolerance and respect just as much a part of our educational cultural as academics, athletics, and the arts,” the Mayor told CNN News.

Jose M. Osorio/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images

Lightfoot (R) kissed by wife Amy Eshleman (L) after being sworn in as the Mayor of Chicago.

Representatives from Equality Illinois—who were joined by Pritzker and his team at a pre-Pride brunch that same day—confirmed that the executive order was a positive step forward. However, the group added in a statement to USA Today that stronger statewide protections for LGBTQ youth were still necessary.

On a federal level, the Trump administration’s Department of Education has routinely invalidated the rights of trans and gender nonconforming young Americans to a safe and welcoming classroom environment. Last February, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos famously revealed that the DOE would no longer investigate any complaints of bathroom-related discrimination from transgender students in American public schools.

Brooklyn-based writer and editor. Probably drinking iced coffee or getting tattooed.

@slmjournalist


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