Illinois governor signs order to protect transgender students

Illinois governor signs order to protect transgender students

Many kids have a rough time in school at one point or another. Before they've definitively learned what is right and wrong, many children bully others simply because they aren't like themselves. And if going through the awkward phase of puberty wasn't hard enough, many transgender kids, or those in the process of transitioning, often have it much worse than the rest of us.

However, in a groundbreaking change, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed an executive order to help protect these children. The order, signed on Sunday morning, came at an appropriate time, as Chicago's Pride Parade occurred on Sunday, and the weekend marked the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots (the 1969 demonstrations after a police raid on an LGBT+ bar in New York).

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Pritzker's Executive Order 19-11 will create a new task force to help protect transgender kids at school in Illinois. It will also enforce the Illinois Board of Education to take action through the promotion of LGBTQ+ rights. The order directs the Board of Education to create procedures dealing with dress codes, student records, and names and pronouns.

Watch J.B. Pritzker sign the executive order below:

With this action, Pritzker aims to affirm and include transgender individuals, as well as those who are nonbinary or gender nonconforming. The Governor said in a statement: "This executive order is one more step toward securing Illinois' place as a leader in equality and hope." He continued: "Under this executive order, ignorance is no longer an excuse for bigotry."

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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement that the executive order was a step toward protecting young members of the community:

"Ending the intolerable levels of discrimination and violence against our transgender community starts here -- in our schools -- by making the values of tolerance and respect just as much a part of our educational cultural as academics, athletics, and the arts."

Lightfoot is Chicago's first openly gay mayor. She was also the first mayor to ride on a Pride Parade float during the city's festivities on Sunday.