February 23, 2017
Illinois organizations fighting for the civil rights of LGBTQ Illinoisans respond at a news conference to President Donald Trump’s decision to rescind Department of Education and Department of Justice guidance clarifying the civil rights of transgender students. Groups speaking include Equality Illinois, Lambda Legal – Midwest Regional Office, Illinois Safe Schools Alliance and ACLU of Illinois. (Speakers begin at about 5:45 mark.)
“To our transgender youth throughout the state of Illinois, we want you to know on behalf of all of our stakeholders at Equality Illinois, our champions, and our allies, you are beautiful, you are brave, and you are strong. We honor you and we see you. We will fight for you and support you wherever we can,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois.
February 22, 2017
With the Trump administration reportedly poised to act against transgender students, Equality Illinois is calling on Senator Dick Durbin and Senator Tammy Duckworth and Illinois House members to stand against discrimination in our schools.
In a letter sent to the state’s congressional delegation, Equality Illinois CEO Brian C. Johnson says that the proposed rescinding of the federal guidance that transgender students should be treated the same as fellow students “sends a terrible message and invites personal bias to flourish” in our schools.
Members of Congress should demand that the 2016 policy of fairness and equality remain in force, Johnson says.
READ THE LETTER
December 8, 2015
The legal situation in Township High School District 211 regarding a transgender student’s equal right to access the school locker room that corresponds to her gender identity offers an opportunity for awareness and education about transgender people and the significant challenges and discrimination they encounter in life.
The school district said it would allow the transgender student access to the girls locker room because she has represented that she will change in curtained changing stations. The district had initially proposed requiring the transgender student to use curtained privacy areas while allowing the other female students the option to use such spaces. We know from American history that separate is not equal.
The only fair and equal option is to ensure transgender students have access, without conditions, to the locker room that corresponds to their gender identity. To do otherwise would send the message to transgender students that they are not respected and valued by the very administrators who are responsible for fostering a safe and welcoming space for learning and development.
October 16, 2014
Equality Illinois is turning purple today to join GLAAD on #SPIRITDAY against bullying.
State law in Illinois and federal policies strive to make our schools safe for all students, regardless of actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender-related identity or expression. Still, parents, the school community and government create the tone and share the responsibility for actively protecting all students and creating a safe learning environment.
Find helpful Spirit Day resources here and more anti-bullying information at the link below.
June 26, 2014
Gov. Pat Quinn signs the anti-bullying law at the Skinner West Elementary School in Chicago. Looking on (upper left) is Equality Illinois CEO Bernard Cherkasov.
Gov. Pat Quinn on June 26, 2014 signed an important strengthening of anti-bullying law in Illinois, setting in place policies and procedures to protect all Illinois school children, including LGBT youth.
This significant enhancement was made possible by the hard work of parents, sponsors Rep. Kelly Cassidy and Sen. Heather Steans, and advocacy groups such as Equality Illinois and the ACLU of Illinois.
As described by Sen. Steans, “Based on recommendations from the School Bullying Prevention Task Force, this legislation requires school districts, charter schools and non-sectarian private schools to strengthen their anti-bullying policies in order to provide a safe learning environment for all students. Schools must designate staff members to receive anonymous reports of bullying, make efforts to investigate reports within ten days, protect student privacy, prohibit retaliation and false accusations, establish the types of interventions used to address bullying and inform students and parents of bullying-related procedures.”
January 13, 2014
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi meets with the EQIL delegation, including CEO Bernard Cherkasov
An Equality Illinois delegation spent Thursday, January 9 in Washington, DC meeting with leaders to discuss a wide range of issues and emphasizing that despite great gains in 2013, the agenda remains full and there should be no complacency.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley and the Obama administration officials in attendance were very receptive and welcomed the input.