Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

 

An LGBTQ youth’s identity is never disruptive

December 20, 2018

 

 

 

December 20, 2018

Daniel Mair
Superintendent

Steve Nauman
President of the Board of Education

Kate Williams
Principal

Germantown Hills School District #69
103 Warriors Way, Germantown Hills, IL 61548

Dear Superintendent Mair, President Nauman, and Principal Williams:

On behalf of Equality Illinois, the statewide LGBTQ civil rights organization, I write to express my dismay in Principal William’s letter to parents last week. By claiming that an LGBTQ youth’s expression of their sexual orientation or gender identity is disruptive, without any mention that she believes a straight or cisgender youth’s expression of their sexual orientation or gender identity might do the same, sets a harmful double standard.  This double standard is inconsistent with best practices for supporting youth, with Illinois laws such as the Illinois Human Rights Act, and our values as Illinoisans. An LGBTQ youth’s identity is never disruptive.

Educators have a sacred duty to protect and affirm children and young people. To that end, the laws of the State of Illinois strive to create an affirming and respectful environment for all students, including those from historically marginalized communities. Laws like the LGBTQ-inclusive Human Rights Act and anti-bullying protections, which have all been adopted with bipartisan support, reflect the values of the Land of Lincoln that all students should be treated with dignity, should be affirmed, and should have the freedom to learn and grow without burden or hostility.

Yet, even in a pro-equality state like Illinois, school life for LGBTQ youth is challenging. According to Illinois data from the U.S. Trans Survey (2015), 80% of individuals who were out or perceived as transgender at some point in their K–12 education experienced some form of mistreatment, such as being verbally harassed, prohibited from dressing according to their gender identity, disciplined more harshly, or physically or sexually assaulted because people thought they were transgender. Furthermore, based on GLSEN’s 2015 School Climate Survey, we know only 27% of LGBTQ youth in Illinois report hearing anything positive about LGBTQ people – people just like them – in the classroom. We must all do better to support LGBTQ youth.

The school district’s proposition – that expression of only LGBTQ youth’s sexual orientation or identity is disruptive – is harmful. LGBTQ youth who experience rejection and social stigmatization are more likely to have high levels of depression, more likely to engage in substance abuse, and more likely to attempt suicide.

And the presence of a rule doesn’t inherently make it fair or even reasonable. The lack of inclusivity and compassion by school administrators is telling and alarming in its implications for what other biases may come into play while educating students. School boards should create environments that affirm each and every student and facilitate the educational process with excellence and dignity.

We urge the Germantown Hills District #69 Board of Education and school administrators to re-evaluate your position and affirm the dignity of each young person in a way that does not further marginalize LGBTQ young people. If we can be of any further assistance, including in setting up trainings regarding LGBTQ cultural competency or as a sounding board for your questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at (773) 477-7173 or bjohnson@eqil.org.

Sincerely,

Brian C. Johnson
Chief Executive Officer

 

On to the fall

June 1, 2018

A message from Equality Illinois CEO Brian C. Johnson:

Yesterday marked the end of the spring session for the General Assembly in Springfield. While there is much to celebrate, we leave the spring session disappointed that the Inclusive Curriculum Bill to include the teaching of LGBTQ people in U.S. history is not yet headed to the Governor’s desk. State Rep. Anna Moeller, the bill’s fearless sponsor in the House, decided to move the floor vote to the fall to allow her more time to secure the necessary votes to guarantee passage.

Equality Illinois remains committed to working with her and our dozens of supporters in the House to secure the 60 votes needed to send this bill to the Governor’s desk in the fall.

We are grateful for the hard work of Rep. Moeller, the Senate sponsor Sen. Heather Steans, and our coalition members to advance this measure, an initiative of Equality Illinois, The Legacy Project, and the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance.

 

In last week of session: Pass the LGBTQ Inclusive History Bill

May 17, 2018

CALL TO ACTION: The LGBTQ Inclusive Curriculum Bill is now in the House floor as the final push for action on major legislation is underway in the General Assembly before the scheduled May 31 adjournment.

There is vocal opposition to the bill. We need you to raise your voice in support of the bill and get it to the governor’s desk.

Do not delay! Contact your House member TODAY to ask for a YES vote on SB 3249.

 

Counter opponents’ name calling against Curriculum Bill

April 17, 2018

Our opponents are resorting to vicious name calling when they talk to Illinois legislators about the #LGBTQ Curriculum Bill. We believe our history should be part of school curriculum so that all students will have a more thorough understanding of history.

Click to email your legislators and tell them: Pass the Inclusive Curriculum Bill.

 

 


Why we need the LGBTQ Curriculum Bill

April 17, 2018

The Inclusive Curriculum Bill will ensure that all students in Illinois would learn about the significant historical events and contributions by LGBTQ people and that they impacted all of us.

 

LGBTQ Advocacy Day Promotes Curriculum Bill; Now Do Your Part

April 12, 2018

Citizen advocates from around the state were in Springfield Wednesday for LGBTQ Advocacy Day.

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Illinoisans and our families and allies spread out around the Capitol complex to discuss issues such as the Inclusive Curriculum Bill, the Equal Rights Amendment, and expanding the reach of the Illinois Human Rights protections against workplace discrimination.

There is more work to do. If you haven’t reached out urging your legislators to support the Inclusive Curriculum Bill, which will require school districts to include the teaching of LGBTQ history and historical figures in their curriculum, please do it today! Our opponents are at work spreading misinformation about the bill, and we can’t let them have the last word.

CONTACT YOUR LEGISLATOR HERE

 

Sign Up Today! LGBTQ Advocacy Day is a month away

March 12, 2018

LGBTQ Advocacy Day in Springfield is a month away, and we’re happy to announce that Affinity Community Services is a community partner and second bus pickup location for the April 11 day trip to Springfield.

One of our priority issues will be the Inclusive Curriculum Bill, an initiative of Equality Illinois and the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance, to teach students the historical events and contributions by LGBTQ people. An LGBTQ-inclusive curriculum can also have a positive affect on students’ self-image and make their peers more accepting.

LGBTQ Advocacy Day includes lobbying training, meetings with legislators, and a visit to the Capitol, plus a box lunch and concluding reception. Registration includes transportation selection: bus from two locations in Chicago or driving on your own, including car pooling and ride sharing. The bus departs at 6am from Equality Illinois in the Loop at 16 N. Wabash Ave., and from Affinity Community Services, 2850 S. Wabash Ave., at 6:35am.