Equality Illinois Applauds Chicago Schools Policies for Transgender
and Gender-Nonconforming Students and Adults
HB 4474–Which Would Stigmatize Transgender Youth–Is Not Needed
SPRINGFIELD (May 3, 2016)–Equality Illinois applauds the updated policies announced today by the Chicago Public Schools that provide transgender students equal access to all school facilities and programs based on their gender identity.
The new policies also address gender non-conforming students and, for the first time, include school employees and other adults who come into the school environment.
“By embracing transgender and gender non-conforming students and adults, the comprehensive updating of policies by the state’s largest school system makes it clear that discriminatory legislation such as HB 4474 is not based in reality and completely contrary to creating a safe and fair environment that respects everyone,” said Mike Ziri, Director of Public Policy at Equality Illinois.
HB 4474, introduced this year in the Illinois General Assembly, would force transgender students to use separate school facilities from their peers and would be contrary to the new CPS policies and the recommendations of many medical and mental health experts. It sits in the House Rules Committee after failing to get a hearing this spring in the House Human Services Committee.
“Schools should be places where students can learn and grow without fear of bullying or isolation. HB 4474 is contrary to that vision, while the new CPS policies affirm that goal,” Ziri said. “We applaud CPS and Illinois Caucus for Adolescent Health, Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, Mikva Challenge, Lambda Legal and Lurie Children’s Gender and Sex Development Program for developing them.”
Now that these policies are in place, Equality Illinois calls on CPS to develop a program to educate the school community about them. “It is important that the policies are understood and fully implemented by principals, teachers, administrators and staff in each of the 660 schools,” Ziri said.