Governor's EO to Create Inclusive Schools for Trans Youth

Equality Illinois Press Release

Equality Illinois welcomes the Governor to the work of creating inclusive schools for transgender youth, but says it’s too early to celebrate
The Governor’s executive order forming a task force on inclusive schools lends his critical voice to work already underway, but the real celebration should come when transgender youth are fully affirmed and protected  

Chicago – With the signing of his Executive Order today, the Governor committed to joining the work currently led by LGBTQ advocacy groups to protect trans youth in Illinois schools.  A dozen states have already adopted statewide policies that provide schools with concrete guidance about how to apply well-established legal protections and education best practices to the treatment and protection of trans youth.  We are excited Illinois is one step closer to joining those states.

For over a year, groups including Equality Illinois, the National Center for Transgender Equality, Lambda Legal, and the Transgender Youth Project at the National Center for Lesbian Rights have been working with the Office of the State Superintendent and the Illinois State Board of Education to translate and enhance Obama era guidance for the treatment of trans youth into Illinois specific guidance.  We welcome the Governor and his Task Force to the table and are certain their involvement can strengthen the work done to date.

But today is not yet a day for celebration.   In Illinois, 80% of those who were out or perceived as transgender at some point between Kindergarten and Grade 12 experienced some form of mistreatment.  36% of youth in Illinois schools have heard a staff member at their school make negative remarks about a student’s gender expression in the past year.  We appreciate the Governor is making public his deep commitment to move toward comprehensive guidance in the future, but the need for state-wide guidance is urgent. 

We look forward to joining the Governor to celebrate when stronger protections are finally in place for trans youth.

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