Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker (D) signed an executive order on Sunday (30 June), the last day of Pride month, protecting transgender and nonbinary students in the state.
In a thread on Twitter, Pritzker explained the aim of the order is to ‘disrupt the patterns of discrimination in our classrooms and ensure our school across the state are affirming and inclusive for transgender, nonbinary and gender nonconforming students’.
I just signed an executive order to disrupt the patterns of discrimination in our classrooms and ensure our school across the state are affirming and inclusive for transgender, nonbinary and gender nonconforming students. pic.twitter.com/NucR3pH4AA
— Governor JB Pritzker (@GovPritzker) June 30, 2019
The order will create a 25-person task force. The task force will create and implement policies that better support trans and nonbinary students, as well as generally make Illinois schools safer and more comfortable for LGBTI students.
‘While the LGBTQ community has so much to celebrate, we also must recognize that the trans community that ignited this movement has been left out of many of its victories,’ Pritzker continued in his thread.
‘Visibility and acceptance for non-cisgender people are on the rise, but so are attacks of hate, particularly against black trans women.’
So far in 2019, 11 transgender women have been killed in the US, all of them black. The life expectancy of transgender people in the US is just 35-years-old and it’s worse for trans women of color worldwide.
Pritzker’s thread concluded: ‘This executive order establishes the Affirming and Inclusive Schools Task Force and directs @ISBEnews take comprehensive action to ensure every LGBTQ student is supported and welcomed in their schools.
‘We’re taking one more step toward securing Illinois’ place as a leader in equality and hope. Under this executive order, ignorance is no longer an excuse for bigotry.’
Other Illinois politicians, like openly gay Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, praised Pritzker for this move.
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) June 30, 2019
Proud to stand with @GovPritzker as he signed an Executive Order creating The Affirming and Inclusive Schools Task Force. Illinois’ transgender, gender non-conforming + nonbinary students deserve welcoming, safe, supportive, and inclusive school environment! #LGBT #Pride pic.twitter.com/6OUu3gYmLa
— Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton (@LtGovStratton) June 30, 2019
Illinois leading the way
In many LGBTI matters, Illinois has become a leader.
It has not been all good between Pritzker and the LGBTI community, however.
In January, a transgender woman who worked on his campaign sued him for unlawful discrimination and termination. Pritzker and his campaign team denied the allegation. They rebutted they let her go instead for her poor performance and other transgressions.
The lawsuit is ongoing.
This order, however, is a victory — especially on the day when Chicago’s Pride parade was canceled.